Hearken's roots began with WBEZ's Curious City, which Hearken Co-founder and CEO Jennifer Brandel founded as part of AIR's innovative Localore initiative in 2012. Curious City was made possible by AIR, WBEZ Chicago and with seed funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional funding for Curious City came from The Knight Foundation, The McCormick Foundation, and the Doris and Howard Conant Fund for Journalism. (Huge thanks go out to Torey Malatia for believing that the public had the right to play a role in journalism beyond consuming it, or having it happen to them. And for giving Brandel the opportunity to test her thesis at WBEZ.)
Our business model is simple: media companies pay us for our consulting and technology. We help our partners better design and execute successful strategies to better connect with the public. Unlike other many other engagement companies, we do not sell or profit off of the data our customers collect or advertising.
Serving the public’s curiosity
Sound, fact-based reporting principles
Information created and delivered according to what your community is asking for
Accountability and responsiveness to the public
Transparency with one’s audience about financial support
Transparency with one’s audience about one’s mission and ethical guidelines
HEARKEN PARTNERS WITH
Organizations who see their role (or are transforming toward seeing their role) as one of serving a community’s self-identified needs.
Organizations committed to building trusting and loyal relationships with their audience, through the creation of content in response to audience members’ identified information needs.
HEARKEN WILL NOT PARTNER WITH
Any organization that advocates or enables the advocation of (including by providing a platform to those who do) bigotry, violence, or hatred. This includes prejudice based on race, religion, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual preference, reproductive choices, age, military status, citizenship, ability or impairment.
Any organization that is in conflict with facilitating an informed and empowered citizenry; increasing divisions in society, decreasing civic and community involvement; and contributing to a lack of trust in relationships.