On Feb. 25, the Decibel team hosted its second community listening event in Pflugerville. Aided by Austin PBS staff, interns and members of the station’s Community Advisory Board, we were able to get feedback on our work in Pflugerville and gather story ideas for our next round of reporting.
We opted for several different outreach approaches to spread the word about this listening event. We posted about it in several Pflugerville social media groups, as well as promoted the event on Austin PBS social media pages. We ran promotional spots on our broadcast channel. We also contacted the Pflugerville residents we’ve come to know through our reporting, inviting them to join us and provide some firsthand viewpoints on our work. We also went with the tried-and-true method of posting flyers around town.
Despite our best efforts, our attendance was down slightly from our first listening session in Pflugerville. At our first event, we had 10 RSVPs and six attendees. This event had 11 RSVPs and three attendees. Still, small numbers did not prevent us from having big discussions.
We kicked things off by screening two of our early stories on Pflugerville. We screened “Unearthing History,” which community members picked at our first listening event; and “'What Is The Future … For Our Growing Pflugerville?': Residents Pose Questions To Candidates,” which was part of our election coverage. Attendees then ranked the videos from excellent, good, fair, poor and very poor.
Both stories received high marks but showed room for improvement. “Unearthing History” was ranked “good” by attendees, while our election coverage received one vote of “excellent” and one vote of “good”. Participants said they thought the content looked good, but they wanted more context. One attendee said she wanted to know more about the history of Pflugerville’s historic Black cemetery.
“I don’t know when this was founded,” they said. “Was this the 1800s, the 1900s? I’d be interested to know.”
Similarly for the election coverage, attendees wanted more depth. They pointed out while healthcare was discussed, the video did not feature anyone talking about issues with the ambulance service in Pflugerville (while the topic didn’t feature in this video, it was a topic we discussed with Pflugerville’s mayor just before the election). Other participants wanted to see more topics discussed.
“It looks fantastic, but I’d like to see a broader range of issues,” said one attendee.
We then moved on to discussing what stories Decibel should cover next. In general, the feedback was more history, and more depth. Attendees suggested stories on the history of the historic Bohls House, transportation and education for our next projects. They also suggested a profile on our host site, the Pflugerville Library, which was founded by volunteers and continues to maintain an in-depth historical archive of the city.
Participants also lighted upon a topic that came up in our first listening session: identity. One attendee talked about the small-town charm they found in Pflugerville’s recent Christmas parade, and how growth may change that.
“I’d like to know how Pflugerville, but also these surrounding communities like Hutto, how they’re trying to maintain that identity,” they said.
We’ll take this feedback with us as we continue our reporting in Pflugerville. But we understand not everyone can take time out of their weekend to meet us in person. In an effort to get as much community feedback as possible, our team will continue to test outreach efforts that meet people where they are, like at community events and public spaces. We also encourage people to reach out to us at email@example.com or send in story ideas through our online submission form. In the meantime our team has several exciting projects coming in the spring that highlight the resiliency and compassion of Pflugerville. To stay up to date on the latest Decibel content, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.
Got story ideas, advice on how we can improve our reporting or just want to know more about what we do? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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