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Community service award entry Missouri Press Association 2013

Community outreach on a public safety issue

The Missourian has done investigative reporting on the topic of sexual assault. One story in particular looked at how drastically underreported sexual assaults are at MU, and at college campuses nationwide. But is a traditional story enough on its own? In conjunction with the publishing of that investigation, we spent time in the newsroom talking about our role as journalists. We had watched and listened as public conversations on this topic unfolded that were destructive and uninformed, and we wanted to inject information and intelligent questions into those conversations. We also realized that the readers who most would benefit from being educated by our story college students might not find it in traditional ways. As a response to those concerns, we created a discussion guide called, LETS TALK: The underreporting of rape and sexual assault at MU (top right). The guide had a goal of going beyond facts and context into encouraging intelligent conversation. We wanted to challenge readers to expand their thinking. In addition to publishing it on our website, we turned it into a threepage handout that delievered key facts in a visual format (see attachment). We handed out hundreds of copies around campus and also emailed it to campus programs and departments that have a goal of

educating students on this topic, inviting them to use it as part of their efforts. With social audiences in mind, we created a version of the information in the form of a infographic optimized for social sharing. We invited readers to share it with their Facebook and Twitter audiences. We also colleced social media feedback to the outreach effort (see right). Nate Anton, Evan Townsend and Joy Mayer, Columbia Missourian community outreach team

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