Local Wonder is an experiment in a different method of storytelling, where KUOW staff and our community collaborate. Using social media and on air promos, Local Wonder solicits questions from our community and then listeners vote on the question that they want KUOW to cover. Reporters will investigate the story and present it on air and online. Local Wonder is guided by listeners and their curiosity about Seattle, our region and the people who live here.
How do you collect questions?
We collect questions through this website (top of the page), or when we’re out and about talking with people around the state.
How do you pick the questions for voting rounds?
Our producers and editors identify questions that have potential to be answered by staff, freelancers, or volunteers. We’ll try to look for a theme (e.g., “history”) and fill the voting round with questions related to that theme. We’ll also consider story location, tone, or timeliness. Sometimes we’ll create voting rounds with a variety of novel subjects. These voting rounds might not fit into an obvious, overall theme.
What makes a good question
We think the most successful questions have at least one of these qualities:
What happens if my question is in a voting round?
Well, first off, congrats! We notify question submitters when their question is selected so they can ask friends, family and social networks for their support.
If your question wins a voting round - double congrats! KUOW staff will discuss options for how you might participate in the investigation, depending on your interest and schedule, as well as the schedule of reporters or producers.
What happens if my question is in a voting round and doesn’t win? Will it still get answered?
There is hope for your question! Our editors and producers scan the question archive. They could decide to investigate questions that never make into a voting round, or they’ll find that a question has already been answered in some way — either through a previous story by Michigan Radio or another media outlet. And there’s another way your question might be answered: The public weighs in! Anyone can comment on questions. If you know the answer to someone else’s question or even have leads or points others should consider, don’t be shy! Let them know the information you have and whenever possible, cite your sources.
Why do you change the wording of some questions when they enter a voting round?
We edit some questions for clarity and brevity. Editors and producers attempt to recast otherwise relevant or provocative questions that mischaracterize small details or remain too broad. The goal is to indicate what lines of investigation KUOW is likely to pursue, so the public can clearly understand the choices and vote deliberately.
To Jennifer Brandel and the folks at Hearken, of course! This unique news experiment is a great way for us to work together with you on the stories we’re all curious about.