I love the idea of the St. Louis Beacon. It’s a creative concept funded in creative ways. It provides a more in-depth look at the St. Louis region that can’t be found at larger news outlets, like the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Beacon does a good amount of community outreach. Their barroom conversations encourage community members to discuss issues facing their neighborhoods and families. The Beacon can use these discussions to find story ideas and to gauge some regional public opinion on different issues. “Beacon and Eggs” is another event that allows people to talk about what’s going on in their areas.
These are all great ideas, but I can’t help wondering about the people who attend these events. Is it often the same people who come back to the events? I can’t imagine that each barroom conversation includes a fresh roster of random individuals. The people who attend these events are probably mostly donors and fans of the Beacon.
I would like to know if the Beacon actively tries to reach out to people of all different classes and ages and, if so, how they do this. What do the participant demographics look like at the Beacon’s barroom conversations? What kind of people and areas does the Beacon get most of its story ideas from?
It would be interesting if the Beacon kept track of this kind of information and presented it on the website. It could serve as a way to inform readers and to encourage readers from less-represented areas to attend events and speak up.