After getting tips from readers about issues with a New York City plan to assist undocumented immigrants, news nonprofit Documented published two versions of the investigation that followed.
An English-language version was sent to newsletter subscribers (primarily lawyers, community organizers and researchers) and a Spanish-language version was distributed via WhatsApp.
In a post for the Reynolds Journalism Institute, Documented audience editor Nicolás Ríos wrote, “Our users understood that we were reporting on the subjects that really mattered for them, and shared the articles with their friends and family. We know this because community organizers told us that they first heard of our investigation from their members, instead of us.”
The Spanish-language version now ranks as the site’s second-best performing investigative piece this year, and it has led Documented to seek more help from its readers and community.
Ríos wrote, “These experiences highlight what should be obvious, but something we regularly forget as journalists: our readers often know more than we do.”