It’s not uncommon for the public to not understand how or why newspapers make political endorsements. The editorial board at the Tennessean tried to explain this by sharing a bit about its fact-gathering and decision-making process in an endorsement supporting a city-wide transportation plan. “After weighing multiple arguments, sponsoring a debate, reading the 55-page plan, holding eight meetings with diverse stakeholders and attending multiple forums, The Tennessean Editorial Board recommends that Metro Nashville voters approve the plan,” the article read.
Does your community know your organization is invested in its future and well-being? The Tennessean showed their newsroom’s commitment to its community by hosting an event where local residents gathered to think about inequities facing Nashville’s public schools and brainstorm possible solutions. After the event, opinion editor David Plazas wrote a story highlighting key findings from the event and thanked readers for their time and participation. “On behalf of The Tennessean, I am so grateful for the community’s interest and participation,” Plazas wrote.
Video: How to Submit a Letter to the Editor
The Tennessean produced a 41-second video  for users explaining how to submit a “letter to the editor.” They included information about where to send the letter and how many words it should be (250 or less). The video is concise and to the point. More importantly, it can be embedded on the website or easily shared on social and by including text on the screen, it is easily consumable.
Video: How to Submit a Letter to the Editor
The Tennessean produced a 41-second video  for users explaining how to submit a “letter to the editor.” They included information about where to send the letter and how many words it should be (250 or less). The video is concise and to the point. More importantly, it can be embedded on the website or easily shared on social and by including text on the screen, it is easily consumable.
When communities are faced with a big decision at the ballot box, we try our best to provide the facts. The Tennessean did that in an editorial but also included a section that shared who the journalists met with and talked to while putting the story together. The ballot measure ended up failing, but the newsroom received positive feedback about their in-depth coverage on the issue.
When communities are faced with a big decision at the ballot box, we try our best to provide the facts. The Tennessean did that in an editorial but also included a section that shared who the journalists met with and talked to while putting the story together. The ballot measure ended up failing, but the newsroom received positive feedback about their in-depth coverage on the issue.
The Tennessean created a video to explain why their editorial board asked for a mayor's resignation. The newsroom said it felt the video format added a lot of value to the message and they enjoyed being able to explain how and why the decision was made instead of just writing a column. The newsroom also went live on Facebook to explain their decision.
The Tennessean created a video to explain why their editorial board asked for a mayor’s resignation. The newsroom said it felt the video format added a lot of value to the message and they enjoyed being able to explain how and why the decision was made instead of just writing a column. The newsroom also went live on Facebook to explain their decision.
The Tennessean went live on Facebook to explain why their editorial board asked for a mayor's resignation. By going live on Facebook the journalists provided users a place to be heard and receive feedback.The newsroom also created a video to explain how and why the decision was made.
The Tennessean went live on Facebook to explain why their editorial board asked for a mayor’s resignation. By going live on Facebook the journalists provided users a place to be heard and receive feedback. The newsroom also created a video to explain how and why the decision was made. 
Screenshot from the Civility Tennessee group page on Facebook.
Hot button issues like racism and gun control can be difficult to have on social media. The Tennessean wanted to create a “safe place” for their community to engage with one another on the platform, so, they created a Facebook group called “Civility Tennessee.” The group has resulted in healthy discussions and over 150 active members posting daily or weekly. The group is “closed” and users have to answer a few questions in order to gain access. This allows the newsroom to have more control over who is in the group and makes moderation a bit easier.
Screenshot from the Civility Tennessee group page on Facebook.
Hot button issues like racism and gun control can be difficult to have on social media. The Tennessean wanted to create a “safe place” for their community to engage with one another on the platform, so, they created a Facebook group called “Civility Tennessee.” The group has resulted in healthy discussions and over 150 active members posting daily or weekly. The group is “closed” and users have to answer a few questions in order to gain access. This allows the newsroom to have more control over who is in the group and makes moderation a bit easier.
Screenshot from tennessean.com, showing an invitation for more veterans to share their perspectives with the newspaper.
The staff at the Tennessean set up a “Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.” The group worked on identifying people in the community they wanted to hear more from and then invited them into their newsroom. Those groups included veterans, Muslims and gun owners. A common theme came out of these visits: people wanted to be included in responsible and accurate coverage. For the Tennessean these visits resulted in more sources for stories and more people submitting letters to the editor.

Screenshot of a headline that reads: Plazas: Why can't we be more civil on the Nashville transit debate?

Screenshot from tennessean.com
The columnist’s transparency is admirable, as he owns up about how he was “duped” and how he tried to move forward with civility, rather than “starting a pointless and heated Twitter feud.” Readers responded positively and kept the conversation going with a steady stream of op-eds on the topic.