Listening to the Citizens of New Orleans

September 18, 2013

The citizens of New Orleans have a new way to get their voices heard about important issues in their neighborhoods through a project called the Listening Post.

The project, which is a collaboration between New Orleans radio station WWNO and Internews, seeks to establish a two-way conversation with residents through which people can both contribute thoughts and commentary about issues in their neighborhoods, and also receive news and information in convenient and accessible ways.

Watch a video about the Listening Post

How does it work?

Residents can participate by sharing their opinions using microphones and digital recorders at three listening posts in the city. The artistically designed structures (by New Orleans artist Jacques Duffourc) – a lamppost, a totem pole and a bonsai – are located in businesses or community centers in the Gentilly, Central City and Broad Street neighborhoods. Each week a question is posted at the listening post to which residents can respond. WWNO produces radio stories based on the responses. Hear examples:

Voices on Health Care:

Voices from a Central City Porch

Gentilly District: Back to School

“The posts provide a way for more voices to be heard. A reporter can only interview so many people,” says Jesse Hardman, who oversaw the creation of the posts. “But the posts, located where people live, work, and gather, create an outlet for everyone.”

Other ways to participate

The Listening Post also has a text messaging service using Groundsource, a platform for connecting people in a community via mobile phone. People are invited to share their cell phone numbers to receive weekly questions related to community issues and messages that contain short news stories. Participants can respond by texting, calling, leaving a message or visiting a physical listening post.


View The New Orleans Listening Post Project in a larger map


In addition to creating new opportunities for people to speak about current issues, the project is also researching how people receive information with the goal of helping local media better serve the community.

Project developer Jesse Hardman is conducting the surveys using a variety of techniques to engage people, including cell phones, and the more traditional paper-based method fuelled by doughnuts. The data will be analyzed and fed into future iterations of the project.

More information