Activities at JTM, JTM News

JTM announces new executive director

Journalism that Matters is excited to announce that Peggy Holman, a JTM co-founder and long-time board member is now serving as the organization’s Executive Director.

In 2001, Holman joined three career journalists in founding Journalism that Matters to support the pioneers who are shaping the emerging news and information ecology.

In her new role, Holman will oversee JTM’s growth as the organization matures beyond event production and expands into a hub for supporting journalism innovation and community engagement. Said Holman:

“I see an opportunity for us to fill a vital niche by connecting people who are reinventing ways in which the public’s voice enters into news and information. News organizations that are forging new ground around engagement often find themselves alone in the wilderness. We want to provide a place for them to benefit from each other’s work.”

Holman will continue to oversee the Illuminations Project, an initiative shining a light on what’s working in the changing news landscape, that JTM has produced since last year. She is also leading development of the Engagement Hub initiative, a collaborative endeavor to create a peer-based community of practice for sharing resources, connecting people, and growing understanding and skills for journalism that engages communities. Both projects were made possible by a generous grant from the Mott Foundation.

An author and consultant based out of the Seattle area, Holman brings to her new role her experience with engaging organizations and communities in discovering creative solutions to complex issues.

In the second edition of The Change Handbook, she joined with her co-authors to profile sixty-one engagement processes.  Her award-winning bookEngaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity, dives beneath these methods to make visible deeper patterns, principles, and practices for engagement that can guide us through turbulent times.

Journalism That Matters is a nonprofit that convenes conversations to foster collaboration, innovation, and action so that a diverse news and information ecosystem helps communities to thrive. A core belief: journalism matters most when it is of, by, and for the people. Best known for convening unconferences, JTM has a proven track record catalyzing disruptive innovation and fostering new collaborations within the news industry.


Activities at JTM, JTM News

Happy Holidays from JTM

5496986637_a9912a27ba_n.jpgIt’s hard to believe that 2013 is almost over. This year has been an exciting one for Journalism that Matters, and I just wanted to take a moment to share with you all of the work we’ve been doing.

In April, JTM hosted its 19th gathering at the University of Denver’s Estlow Center. Reporters, students, educators and others attended Journalism is Dead, Long Live Journalism, which was held in conjunction with the semi-annual National Conference For Media Reform.

Shortly after that gathering, JTM hired Josh Wolf to lead the Illumination’s Project and serve as Editor-at-large. Since taking the position, Wolf has published a weekly column about what’s working in journalism and also now curates our e-mail newsletter highlighting news from the world of journalism innovation.

Each edition of the newsletter is packed with great links to interesting stories and opportunities for jobs and grants. Please consider subscribing to the newsletter or joining our Google Group where you can also participate in JTM discussions as well.

In 2014 JTM plans to expand on the work we’ve already started, but we’ll need your help.

Journalism that Matters has partnered with the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) to launch a new initiative to help its member organizations engage diverse communities that they have struggled to reach in the past. At the same time we will be developing a similar project to benefit those outside of ASNE.

Thanks to our ongoing support from the Mott Foundation, we plan to pioneer a learning experience that supports participating sites with hands-on engagement among community and a mix of media partners. This collaborative venture will do some capacity building for engaging diverse community and provide ongoing support among a network of news organizations who are connecting with their community. The goal: to increase the know-how and effectiveness of communities in meeting their news and information needs.

In the next few months Journalism that Matters will also be developing new web forums, hiring additional correspondents to report on what’s working in journalism. And we are now developing our first online unconference.

This the first year that we’ve operated as a 501(c)3 organization and not only has our new-found status allowed us to secure the Mott grant that is underwriting the Illuminations Project, but it also allows you to make a tax-deductible donation to us.

For every 35 people who are able to make a $50 contribution to Journalism that Matters we will be able to hire one additional correspondent to share a story each month about what’s working in their community.

Can you help us with a one-time tax-deductible gift before the end of the 2013 calendar year?

We understand if you can’t afford to make a donation at this time, but please help our mission by sharing our links on your social networks.

Happy Holidays!

Activities at JTM, JTM News

Exciting new partnership to engage diverse communities

Journalism that Matters has partnered with the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) to launch a new initiative to help its member organizations engage diverse communities that they have struggled to reach in the past. header_logo.png

The project grew out of the ASNE Diversity Committee and the organization’s 2012 report, “The Future of Diversity in the News.”

“Diversity must go beyond being a goal. It must become an act,” said the report. “It will require a more strategic approach to identifying and then serving diverse audiences. New technological communication tools must be employed. More sophisticated distribution channels will be essential.”

The key components of this innovative effort:

1. ASNE and JTM will conduct a series of “proof of concept” community-based conversations about the news and information needs of diverse communities. These conversations will involve collaboration with community partners, as well as journalism schools and other journalism organizations.

2. Insights and practical takeaways from the community-based conversations, including templates or models for conducting future conversations in other communities, will be available in the online learning hub. The hub will also support an ongoing exchange among participants for shared learning across sites, answering such questions as why do it? And how do we get started?

3. Progress to date will be shared through an interactive program that mirrors some of the community engagement strategies at the joint ASNE/APME 2014 convention. The programs will also be offered for conventions of other journalism organizations. The purpose of the interactive programs is to inspire attendees to launch their own community-based conversations and participate in the learning hub to report their progress and learn from others.

We’ll have more information about this project in the coming year, but if you have a community you’d like to suggest for the “proof of concepts” or would like to get involved in any way, please contact JTM Board Member and ASNE Diversity Committee Co-Chair Mike Fancher.

Activities at JTM, Denver, Events, JTM News

Video from our Denver Conference

Our new friend Corey Schneider offered to produce a video documenting our Denver conference. He just put the finishing touches on it, and we’re excited to share it with you. We have included a couple more JTM videos from previous conferences after the jump so be sure to check those out too.

Here’s one that Jacob Caggiano produced from our 2011 Beyond Books conference in Boston where we partnered with librarians to examine the intersections between libraries and journalism.

Finally, here’s a video from 2010 that Bill Weaver produced at our Seattle convening, Re-imagining News and Community in the Pacific Northwest.

Activities at JTM, Events, Home Page, JTM News, Projects

Sept. 25: Rewarding the Truth: Facts, Fibs and Accountability in Political Reporting

"Rewarding the Truth" -- Sept. 25

What will it take to increase the rewards for telling the truth in politics?

In a test of a unique collaboration technology, Journalism That Matters (JTM) will create the platform for a 90-minute, solutions-based discussion of that question with a public teleconference, “Rewarding the Truth: Facts, Fibs and Accountability in Political Reporting.” Among participants will be political press analyst Justin Peters of the Columbia Journalism Review.

Anyone can participate for free by registering in advance for the phone-in event, which will run from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (EDT) on Tues., Sept. 25.  Journalism students from Elon University, the University of Nevada-Reno and the Missouri School of Journalism  will be among participants.


Amy Lenzo -- Maestro facilitator

Amy Lenzo, Maestro facilitator

Particularly since the U.S. political-party conventions, politicians, political fact checkers, reporters, commentators and campaign strategists have been discussing online and elsewhere specific allegations that campaign or independent advertisements or platform statements are either lies or conflations of the truth so simplistic that they appear to become lies.

“Mass media mechanics in the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign drive strategists to reduce messages to a few words, and sometimes the truth about a complex issue doesn’t fit perfectly,” says Bill Densmore, JTM board member and a consulting fellow to the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism.  “Journalists aren’t sure how to respond. We’ll explore some ideas.”

What makes this teleconference unique is that in addition to hearing from people who are steeped in the topic, the Maestro Conference technology enables participants to move in and out of small group conversations — on the phone.  It extends JTM’s signature unconferencing capabilities to engage geographically dispersed participants. The session will be recorded and excerpted in transcript form.

“Rewarding the Truth”  will open with “conversation catalysts” who will set the stage for conversation, explains Peggy Holman, executive director of Journalism That Matters and principal facilitator of JTM’s in-person gatherings. She adds: “Following their remarks, we’ll break into groups to discuss ideas for innovations in covering politics. When reconvened as a whole group, the conversation continues with participants sharing ideas that none of us could have thought of on our own.”

As always, JTM extends this invitation to diverse collaborators who will bring their experience and insights to the call including traditional and emerging journalists, people and their communities, politicians and others who contribute to civic discourse, such as educators, information technologists and librarians.  “Rewarding the Truth” is planned as the first in a series of topical audio gatherings leading up to JTM’s 2013 gathering in Denver on April 3-5, entitled: “Journalism is Dead; Long Live Journalism.”


JTM is inviting those with ideas for solutions to be part of the Tues., Sept. 25 virtual roundtable, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.  The call-in number will be provided with registration at: Each person gets a unique identity code for the discussion, so registration is required to participate in the free discussion.

“Typically a topic this important might be the subject of an invitation-only, thought-leaders gathering, or a speaking event scheduled well in advance,” says Densmore. “Not everyone is invited or can afford travel. We want to test the possibility for a moderated, diverse public meeting by phone and web, produced while the topic is germane and solutions can have impact.”

Among confirmed participants:

  • Justin Peters, managing editor/web, Columbia Journalism Review, who writes and edits daily criticism and analysis of the political press. He has worked at Washington Monthly and has written for Slate, the Boston Globe, and the New York Times.As managing Web editor for the Columbia Journalism Review, Peters writesand edits daily criticism and analysis of the political press. He hasworked at Washington Monthly and has written for Slate, the Boston Globe,and the New York Times.
  • Marla Crockett, chair of the National Coalition for Dialog and Deliberation, works largely with the  Kettering Foundation of Dayton, Ohio on projects designed to enhance the public’s credibility with government officials.  She was a news anchor, producer and news manager from 1985-2006 at public radio KERA in Dallas.
  • Les Ihara Jr. is a Hawaii State Senator, who has served as Senate Majority Policy Leader since 2006. A 26-year veteran of the Hawaii Legislature, Les has held leadership positions of Senate Majority Leader, Majority Floor Leader in the House and Senate, and chair of the House Committee on International and Intergovernmental Affairs. Les is co-chair of the Legislative Effectiveness Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures and a member of the Kettering Foundation board of directors. His main focus is on government transparency, citizen engagement, public integrity, environmental and consumer protection, civil rights, and aging issues.
  • Amy Lenzo,  an experienced manager of Maestro audio conferences and director of communications for the Seattle-based World Cafe Community Foundation.
  • Dan Conover, a longtime South Carolina newspaper political reporter who has an idea for using web-based technology that would allow smart crowds to reward truth tellers.
  • Michelle Ferrier, an Elon University communications professor and former newspaper columnist, JTM board member and a researcher on online communities and digital media technologies.


The types of questions that we’ll discuss:

  • What defines quality political reporting? What examples have you seen of it?
  • How can we best help the electorate discern truth in politics?
  • What would it take to increase the rewards for telling the truth in politics, or penalize those who are seen as lying?
  • How is the truthfulness (or lack of it) in campaign statements best handled? What is the role of fact-checking websites?
  • How integral is fact checking to accountable political reporting?
  • How might we use online tools to check on “sound bite” campaign assertions? For example, encyclopedias of facts about contested policy issues with links to background information. Who might operate these tools?
  • As voters juggle limited time for learning about policy issues, what possibilities exist for improving the veracity of political communication?