Support Crosscut, support innovation

Crowd-sourcing solutions works best if the crowd is large and diverse. Seattle Academy's Innovations Lab advised Crosscut on luring younger members.
Seattle Academy students helped Crosscut diversify its audience.

Seattle Academy students helped Crosscut diversify its audience. Credit: Hampton Roads Partnership

Crosscut’s goal of becoming a changemaker in the Seattle area is one that’s essential for continued innovation. That’s why Crosscut's recent partnership with the Seattle Academy Innovations Lab class was such a natural fit. 

The class is a continuation of the school’s current Innovations offerings, which are designed to get seniors working on how they can best imagine, present and implement ideas that will improve their communities. The Lab, which I teach, was offered for the first time this spring. It invites local businesses and non-profits to present a problem to the students, who then spend an intense three weeks developing a solution, which they bring back to the business in a final panel presentation. 

Crosscut's problem was crucial to its mission: In order for the site to explore relevant solutions, it needed to hear from a wide array of voices. That meant diversifying its readership to include all demographic groups, especially younger readers. How to attract more younger readers is the problem Crosscut asked the students in the Innovations Lab to tackle.

Students suggested a surprising array of solutions, everything from a new under-21 weekend activity list to hosted community discussions with local politicians and leaders of note. Students took questions from the audience and closed out the class with a written report of their recommendations.

The value of this type of relationship cuts both ways. Crosscut had the opportunity to hear directly from a group of media-savvy young people about how they envision online news. The students got the chance to put their creativity and energy to work on an authentic problem, for an audience who clearly values innovative thinking. Rest assured, they will be checking Crosscut to see if their suggestions are put to use!

We support Crosscut's willingness to instigate innovation.

Lisa Feiertag is a teacher at Seattle Academy where she runs the school's Innovation Lab.


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