Engagement Innovation Summit.

October 23 & 24 2019, Brooklyn, New York

Join audience engagement enthusiasts and innovators across community-focused industries to explore how a culture of listening, service and trust-building can make us better at what we do. This inaugural summit will include a special focus on what it takes to create more engaged elections coverage.



If you care about journalism’s mission of informing and serving the public, then you care about audience engagement and treating communities we cover as partners rather than consumers. It’s that simple.

At Hearken’s inaugural Engagement Innovation Summit, we will gather people driven by the charge of cultivating community and improving democracy through information sharing.

We’ll bring together engagement pros, senior leaders, students, innovators and entrepreneurs across industries to develop a shared vision for audience engagement and community-building best practices, how to track and measure success and how this work will contribute to your organization’s bottom line ($) and future sustainability.

With profoundly important elections coming up in the United States and across the world, this gathering will have a special track on how innovators are creating engaged elections coverage.

You will leave with:

  • New connections with people at the forefront of engagement innovation

  • A collaborative vision forward for the future path of public-powered journalism as a sustainable business practice

  • A tool kit for bringing your learnings back to your everyday work

  • Practical guides for creating more engaged elections coverage and a citizen’s agenda

Hearken’s Engagement Innovation Summit will not have long keynotes, boring Powerpoints, or vendors. It will have collaborative, hands-on sessions, interdisciplinary facilitators, and ample time for discussion, collective problem-solving and networking.

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October 23 & 24th, 2019. Details on the schedule to be announced soon. A few sessions we’ve already lined up within our three tracks:

  • Engaged elections:

    • The Citizens Agenda: A listening-based approach to election coverage

    • Local politics and accountability: Engaging in Español and English

    • Solution Set Live: What you can learn from these newsrooms’ engaged election coverage

    • EdNC’s: The People's Session

    • How to throw a ballot party

  • The art of listening:

    • Listening with Love: What journalists can learn from community health workers

    • Assessing Your Community's Information Needs: A simple roadmap to get out of your bubble, listen to your audience and make changes

    • You've got a smart engagement strategy idea, here’s how to get your boss to sign off

  • What journalism can learn from adjacent industries:

    • What journalists can learn from community organizing

    • What journalism can learn about entrepreneurship and listening from business

    • Diagnosing the Truth: What journalists can learn from the art of medicine

    • Real Money, Real Power: Learning about engagement from participatory budgeting

    • Strangers No More: What journalism can learn from restorative justice

    • Tailgate Parties and Growing Your Fanbase: What journalism can learn from professional sports teams


501 Union Street, Brooklyn, New York

Would you like to support a more engaged ecosystem in journalism?
Sponsorships are available. Contact Summit Organizer Sholeh Munion for more information: summit@wearehearken.com

Featured Speakers

More speakers to be announced soon.


Shailly Agnihotri

Founder and Executive Director, The Restorative Center


Nation Hahn

Chief Growth Officer, EducationNC


Stefanie Murray

Director, Center for Cooperative Media


James L. Thompson

Organizer, Free Press


Ashley Alvarado

Director of Community Engagement, Southern California Public Radio


Joseph Lichterman

Manager of Editorial and Digital Strategy,
The Lenfest Institute


Anna Nirmala

Director of Portfolio Development, American Journalism Project


Jennifer Brandel

Founder & CEO, Hearken


Ellen Mayer

Community Journalist, Chicago, Ill.


Terry Parris Jr.

Engagement Director, THE CITY


Gabrielle Burton-Hill

Program Director, The Restorative Center


Ellie Mejía

Program Support Coordinator,
City Bureau


Mike Rispoli

News Voices Director, Free Press

Tamala Carter

Tamala Carter

Community Based Research Coordinator, Penn Center for Community Health Workers


Alexa Miller

Arts Practica


Jay Rosen

New York University

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Jennifer Godzeno

Senior Director of Partnerships and Strategy, Participatory Budgeting Project

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Caitlin Moyer

Director of New Media, Milwaukee Brewers


Sarah Stonbely

Research Director,
Center for Cooperative Media



More sponsors to be announced soon. Contact summit@wearehearken.com for sponsorship opportunities.


Hotel & Travel

Hearken has negotiated reduced rates at nearby hotels for your convenience. Hotels will fill up fast, so make your reservations ASAP. Please cancel your rooms if you are not able to attend so that others may take advantage of these discounted rates!

LaGuardia Airport is the closest airport to the venue.

Holiday Inn Express New York-Brooklyn

Click here to book

Hearken Rate: $229/night +tax. Cutoff date: Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Use code “EIS” if calling in to hotel directly. Includes complimentary breakfast and wifi.

6 minute walk to venue

NU Hotel Brooklyn

Click here to book

Hearken Rate: $289/night +tax. Cutoff date: Monday, September 23, 2019

If you need to book outside of Tuesday-Friday, please call the hotel directly and they can assist you.

17 minute walk to venue

Fairfield Inn & Suites Brooklyn

Click here to book

Hearken Rate: $239/night +tax king, $259/night + tax double. Cutoff date: Sunday, September 22, 2019

Includes complimentary breakfast and wifi.

8 minute walk to venue


Gowanus Inn & Yard

We do not have a room block here, but mention “Hearken” to the hotel when calling in to get $169/night +tax rate as long as they have availability. 6 minute walk to venue.

Contact Sholeh Munion - summit@wearehearken.com with questions or issues with booking.