To our readers: Apply to join the Monitor’s reader advisory board

Published: 10-16-2023 12:53 PM

The Concord Monitor reader advisory board, an initiative to bring readers and community-minded individuals together to talk about local news, is ready to welcome a new group into the newsroom.

If you’re active in your community, have a passion for local news, and want to learn more about the work that goes into the Concord Monitor, apply to join our reader advisory board’s 2024 cohort at bit.ly/3xlTouf.

You do not need to re-apply if you have already applied for the reader advisory board. All previous applications have been saved.

How can I apply?

We’re looking for people who live, work or go to school in a town or city in the Monitor’s coverage area who are involved in their local community and are invested in local news.

Anyone interested in being a reader advisory board member can submit an application through our online form at bit.ly/3xlTouf. Applications will be accepted through the month of October.

Here’s what to expect as areader advisory board member

Your bio will appear at concordmonitor.com, which means people may reach out to you with questions or ideas. Past board members said they became a liaison between the newsroom and their community.

Discussion and an exchange of ideas are at the heart of this program. We want it to grow and change and we rely on our board members to give their input on changes and improvements for the board initiative.

One of the biggest commitments we ask of reader advisory board members is to read the Monitor regularly and tell us what they think. We rely on our board members to share what’s going on in their neighborhood or community, to offer guidance on who we should talk to, and to let us know what themes they’re seeing, and what questions we could answer. We’re committed to including voices from our community in everything we do at the Monitor, and the reader advisory board is a great opportunity for us to to connect and learn.

A commitment to active participation

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If chosen as a reader advisory board member, you are committing to a one-year term on the board beginning January 2024. You’re expected to attend monthly board meetings, typically held in the Monitor building on weekday evenings. We know life happens, but given the active participation role the board requires, we ask that if you sign on you will do your best to attend regularly.

As a board member, you must be able to respect diverse opinions. Each board member will have their own perspective. This is great. We want board members who are passionate and locally focused, ready to share their opinions and expertise while also being open and able to listen — to consider other viewpoints and talk about them. The reader advisory board is a space for conversation and exchange, not conflict. We ask that you come ready to consider the bigger picture on a topic and incorporate a wider worldview when needed.

What will the meetings anddiscussions look like?

Each meeting’s discussion topic will look a little different, depending on what’s happening in our communities and what the board members and editors feel is most pressing to talk about. However, meetings will always include announcements and updates from the Monitor team and a conversation about any thoughts or questions that came up for board members when reading the Monitor.

You can expect to hear from and ask questions to reporters, as well as staff from different departments who will share how things work at the Monitor for advertising, digital and editorial. We’ll also take a tour of our printing facility in Penacook.

A lot of what we talk about will be guided by what the cohort is interested in learning and what the Monitor team would like to learn from the board members.

“Learning how stories are decided upon, especially the controversial ones, has been very informative,” said reader advisory board member Sue Farrelly. “The most enjoyable were the discussions on different topics, sharing of thoughts and debating of opinions with other board members.”

“I have looked forward to our monthly meetings and would encourage all Monitor readers to join this board to learn about, and offer their point of view, on the various topics surrounding putting together a community newspaper.”

How will the board beselected?

A selection committee will evaluate and choose 10 to 15 board members with the goal of including a wide range of perspectives and experiences. For example, we want to avoid the board being made up of people from the same town or age group. The selection committee will include current board members and Monitor editors.

To ensure fairness, those who currently hold elected positions at any level or are otherwise considered public figures or those with a role in locally connected public relations or communications will not be chosen for the reader advisory board to avoid conflicts of interest.

Follow along for updates on the reader advisory board at concordmonitor.com/Opinion/To-Our-Readers and reach out to aginwala@cmonitor.com with any questions.