Activities at JTM, Events, Home Page, JTM News, Portland, Spotlight

Elevate Engagement from Afar

Can’t make it out to Portland for Elevate Engagement but still want to plug in from a distance? We’ve lined up a few ways to participate both asynchronously or synchronously.

And there will be two distinct sessions that we’ll broadcast live:

Thursday, May 18 at 6 p.m.

Lessons from the Field: Examples of Engaged Journalism – we’ll see some examples of what’s working. Lightning presenters include:

We’ll be broadcasting this session on Facebook Live and Periscope. Watch this page and #pdxEngage17 Thursday afternoon for more details.

Friday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m.

Rebuilding Trust: Truth to Empower – a conversation among practitioner/scholars from different disciplines. Introduction and moderation by Regina Lawrence, UO-SOJC’s Agora Journalism Center. Conversation catalysts include:

We’ll be using an exciting new engagement tool from the creators of Civil Comments: Civil Live. With this new technology, we’ll be able to solicit questions or thoughts from you in advance and in real time. You can join those in the room to upvote the questions and ideas to bring to the conversation. Keep an eye on this page Friday evening.

JTM News, Miscellaneous, Spotlight

The case for government investment in journalism, a manifesto


Dr. Michelle Ferrier is an associate professor in the School of Communications at Elon University in North Carolina. She is also vice president of Journalism That Matters.

At the end of this discourse, someone will accuse me of fouling my own nest. That’s if you ever even see this commentary, printed or online in what used to be called the local newspaper.

Regardless, it will circulate. As do the words of the late Edward R. Murrow, the legendary CBS journalist, more than 50 years later that start this letter. Because if the structures of networks and media ownership and cultural representation remain the same — if they continue unaltered – then the main of us may look up one day dazed at what has transpired and realize we have done it to ourselves.

The North Carolina General Assembly this spring is considering the rollback of a longtime requirement for some local governments that legal notices be printed in newspapers, a revenue stream for publishers totaling millions of dollars a year. States across the country, including neighboring Virginia, have been gnawing on the issue as well.

Should HB 504 become law, nine North Carolina counties and municipalities would no longer be dependent on their local publications as a vehicle for bidding out state contracts, announcing property foreclosures, or conducting in public any of several other government or legal business. The counties represented in this bill could instead post notices on their own electronic servers.

But what would be lost in the transaction? The legacy local newspaper, most likely, already facing technological disruption, the “great collapse” of revenue from classified, display and subscriptions, a product struggling to reinvent itself in our brave, new digital world.

For more on this post, visit:

Home Page, JTM News, Spotlight

Journalism is Dead; Long Live Journalism

April 3 and 4
Denver, CO

What’s great in the emerging news and information ecosystem?

Journalism That Matters comes to Denver for a two-day gathering of  journalists, technologists, educators, students, librarians, and engaged citizens. Come prepared to document what’s working in the new news ecosystem . . . and collaborate to amplify journalism’s values, principles and purposes regardless of form.

For more information,

visit The New Journalism.

JTM News, Spotlight

6 Actionable Ideas for Solving Political Fact-Checking and Rewarding Truth

"Rewarding the Truth" -- Sept. 25

Summary of JTM National Teleconference Sept. 25 on “Facts, Fibs, and Accountability in Political Reporting”
One key to solving the politics/political reporting dilemma of facts and fact-checking may be to engage people as more than voters.

“When politics and political leaders treat the public like consumers more than voters and politics as a product, then the public is disengaged,” said Marla Crockett, chair of the National Coalition for Dialog and Deliberation, “We need to engage them more in the process.”

On Tuesday, September 25th, about 40 intrepid people came together for an experiment in conversing on a topic of civic importance:

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

Here’s the audio.
(1 hour, 8 minutes 63 MB)

The participant mix was about 25% educators, with the other 75% divided relatively evenly among traditional media people, new media people, civic activists and media reformers, community members, students and others.

Using Maestro Conference, a technology for social conferencing, Journalism That Matters brought together voices of politicians, the public, and the press to consider a better way. Journalism That Matters has convened face-to-face conversations on the new news ecology for more than 10 years and hosted two start-up weekend events for media entrepreneurs of color.

The ideas ranged from the simple to the systemic:

  1. Collaborate among news outlets to check the facts. If different organizations take on different elements, the bandwidth for covering a broader range of issues increases.
  2. Focus on trends in accuracy.  In addition to following the economics of campaigns, follow the veracity of their discourse.  Move from episodic reporting of the facts in a speech to the tenor of the campaign.
  3. Use crowd-sourcing for fact-checking through platforms like Twitter. It engages the public directly in making sense of political discourse.
  4. Cite sources in stories. It demonstrates integrity and helps with verification.
  5. Increase training in news/media/civic literacy, particularly in schools.  Are we asking the wrong question? In a world where we’ve got a stark divide, looking for the facts is too small.  We need to provide the public with the skills for discerning the quality of their sources.
  6. Engage in dialogue.  In an environment of entrenched cultural narratives, use skilled civic engagement practices to bring together people with differing views in conversations that move deeper than the usual rhetoric.

In the spirit of Journalism That Matter’s face-to-face convenings, the focus on the call was to look towards possibilities.  JTM chooses this strategy – focusing on what is working – because a wealth of research demonstrates that human systems thrive when people have an image of a desirable future.  Such images inspire people to move towards what they wish to create[1].

Michelle Ferrier, associate professor of communications at Elon University and a Journalism That Matters board member, moderated the call. She framed the solution as one that gives responsibility to politicians, journalists and the public.

“Accurate reporting isn’t just what we do during the election cycle, but what journalists must do everyday,” she said. “While we’ve heard more conversation lately, we have to look at the infrastructure to build something that works consistently.”

She introduced the four conversation catalysts who talked about the issue from their different perspectives:

  • Justin Peters, managing editor/web and and a political writer at the Columbia Journalism Review
  • Les Ihara Jr. Hawaii State Senator, who has served as Senate Majority Policy Leader since 2006
  • Marla Crockett, chair of the National Coalition for Dialog and Deliberation and former news anchor, producer and news manager at public radio KERA in Dallas.
  • Dan Conover, newspaper political reporter.

Justin Peters opened, saying that legacy print and broadcast media don’t see fact-checking as part of basic news reporting. He said it’s kept off to the side, as a second thought after the main story.  That means fact-checking doesn’t happen “on cycle”, which diminishes its impact. The solution: Rethink newsroom priorities, because fact-checking is becoming instantaneous by citizens on social-media platforms.

Senator Ihara spoke of his choice to pursue a politics of integrity, recognizing that it means being willing to lose.  He said, “I don’t believe the ends justify the means.  This is the core value of the prevailing political culture.  When the public values integrity, the political climate will shift.”

Dan Conover built on that theme from the perspective of political reporting, saying that the ultimate answer must go well beyond fact-checking to declaring a perspective, a claim to authority.  When a journalist speaks to what s/he wishes to accomplish, it moves the focus from catching people in lies to setting a context for a productive system of exchange among politicians, the public, and the press.

Marla Crockett closed by offering a view of the public’s role in our political system.  Beyond voting, Crockett said, “The public is the greatest underdeveloped resource that we have in our political system.”  Rather than treating voters as consumers of a political product, it’s time to focus on engaging the public in the political process.

Following these remarks, our technical host, Amy Lenzo, split the group in to discussion groups of four people to discuss the question:

Imagine political reporting at its best. As rare as they’ve been, what are some examples you’ve seen? What could it look like?

When people returned to the plenary call, 20 minutes later, they named the ideas notes above for changing the situation. With some new ideas in hand, the call wrapped up in 1 and a half hours.

[1] Cooperrider, D. L. (2000). Positive Image, Positive Action: The Affirmative Basis of Organizing.  Appreciative Inquiry: Rethinking Human Organization Toward a Positive Theory of Change, 29–53.

Home Page, Journalism News, JTM News, Member News, Spotlight

Interactive Guide to the IRS Decision-Making Process

The Berkman Center for Internet and Society’s Digital Media Law Project recently released its Guide to the IRS Decision-Making Process under Section 501(c)(3) for Journalism and Publishing Non-Profits.

With increasing interest in nonprofit journalism and with confusion over how the IRS is applying Section 501(c)(3) to journalism, the Guide provides detailed information regarding the standards that the IRS uses when reviewing a journalism venture’s application for a tax exemption.

Thanks to Journalism That Matters alum Jeff Hermes, Director, Digital Media Law Project (formerly the Citizen Media Law Project) for sending the announcement.