Events, Home Page, JTM News, Member News, Seattle

mind stretched open – eyes wide

Submitted by jamesian on Fri, 01/08/2010 – 3:56pm

I was the host of a session that I did not want to host.

(cue music from Twilight Zone) because someone came up to me and asked, “Will you host a session>”

First surprise.

His name is Lion, and he has a scientist’s education but a philosopher’s questions. Why do people fracture into pro and anti-science?

Because of his leadership, we had about seven people who could not stop talking. My role as facilitator was easy.. they talked and talked and talked.

Thanks to the JTM group for bringing this new process in and helping us accept that the right people are there at the right time.

I learned something new.

Second surprise.

Events, Home Page, JTM News, Member News, Seattle

Look Who’s Coming to Journalism That Matters/Pacific Northwest

Submitted by Mike Fancher on Thu, 01/07/2010 – 8:41am

More than 200 people are registered to attend Journalism That Matters/Pacific Northwest, which opens today at the University of Washington.

For fun, I arbitrarily categorized how the participants described themselves in biographies they posted on the JTM site. Nobody fits neatly in any one category, so I picked the description that seemed most central to the person’s work.

Here is a breakdown:

  1. Civic activists / Community representatives 42
  2. Educators 23
  3. Online journalists 21
  4. Students 14
  5. Newspaper 12
  6. Radio 11
  7. Television 10
  8. Technologists 9
  9. Organization representatives 8
  10. Filmmakers 7
  11. Targeted publications 7
  12. Entrepreneurs 6
  13. Freelancers 6
  14. Public and Media Relations 6
  15. Business representatives 5
  16. Photographers/visual 5
  17. Media Reformers 4

I’m delighted that the largest category is made up of people who don’t produce journalism themselves but who care about it enough to attend this gathering. After all, the convening questions for JTM/PNW include:

How can the press and the public help each other? What’s possible now? How do we activate new forms of civic and public engagement?



arbitrary categorization

jamesian's picture
Submitted by jamesian on Thu, 01/07/2010 – 9:17am.

Dear Mr. Editor:

The filter you applied to this group is interesting… it is that sort of filtering that you, as a newspaper journalist, did every day. But how would someone else have labeled this crowd?

The key sentence is “I picked the description that seemed most central.”

I’m not complaining, just pointing out that style of thinking. What’s wrong with people not fitting neatly into categories? What other ways are there to filter the data?

Sally James
James Writing

Events, Home Page, JTM News, Member News, Seattle

The Right Conversation

Submitted by Mike Fancher on Mon, 01/04/2010 – 7:14amin

Journalism That Matters/Pacific Northwest is the right conversation, in the right place, at the right time, with the right people.

I say that because of work I’ve done in the past year with the Aspen Institute and the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy. The Commission identified three key objectives:

  1. Maximize the availability of relevant credible information to all Americans and their communities.
  2. Strengthen the capacity of individuals to engage with information.
  3. Promote individual engagement with information and the public life of the community.

It identified these central points that resonate with JTM/PNW:

  • The information health of a community is as important as good schools, safe streets, environmental quality and economic vitality. Healthy information flows help enable all of those other desirable qualities.
  • The financial challenge facing the news media in America could become a crisis for democracy. The loss of traditional media at the local level hampers citizens’ ability to have the information they need for their personal lives and for civic engagement. It lessens their ability to hold government accountable.
  • America needs “informed communities,” in which “journalism is abundant in many forms and accessible through many convenient platforms.”
  • This will require experimentation and will include for-profit, non-profit and public models. Universities, other community institutions and the public should participate in these experiments.

I would add a point that was emphasized this summer at an Aspen Institute forum on models for preserving American journalism: Thinking of news and information as an ecosystem creates a dynamic sense of what the public needs and how those needs might be met. This is precisely the framework of Journalism That Matters/Pacific Northwest.

JTM/PNW is the right pace and time because the Pacific Northwest has seen a heart-stopping loss of traditional journalistic resources in recent years, but it also has seen an exciting rise in new journalistic enterprises and inventive collaborations among traditional and emerging news media. This region is fertile ground for even more innovation and collaboration, as well as more public engagement.

JTM/PNW will convene citizens, editors, writers, broadcasters, bloggers, digital entrepreneurs, media activists, community journalists, public advocates and public-policy experts. These are the right people to make things happen.

We will gather to understand and map the emerging Northwest news ecology, with the hope of surfacing new partnerships and innovations to make it better. Instead of focusing on what has been lost, we can explore what is needed and how to create and sustain it. We can find insights about emerging relationships among journalism, communities and democracy. This is the right conversation.

I want to personally thank Microsoft, the Knight Foundation and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. Their support has made possible what I believe will be a groundbreaking gathering, as well as a model for other regions of the country.

Business Models, Home Page, JTM News, Member News

Demystifying Advertising in Hyperlocal News Communities

Submitted by Michelle Ferrier on Thu, 10/01/2009 – 11:21am

Two hyperlocal efforts described their advertising strategies in a recent conversation sponsored by the Journalism That Matters collaborative. Tracy Record of and Barry Parr of discussed the advantages of ad servers, pricing, and some do’s and don’ts of ad sales in the hyperlocal space.

•    Publish awhile before selling ads. ran for two years before it took ads. didn’t start selling ads for four years. Having another revenue stream (like a job) helps during the startup phase.

•    Develop a page design/platform that accommodates ads…even if you don’t have any yet. That means building in multiple positions – leaderboards, banners, buttons, text ads. The challenge is a design that has enough ad positions…more

JTM News, Member News

Online Community/News Franchise Blog Up

Submitted by Michelle Ferrier on Fri, 08/07/2009 – 12:24pm

The Women’s Online News Franchise blog is up and running at …but it is so much more. More broadly the blog is called “Digital Content Architects” and examines all kinds of interesting things I find along this journey toward the news franchise concept.

My most recent posts: “The Wonderful CMS of Oz: Off to find some wizards” points to the qualities of a good online community CMS (not news CMS, but one with real community functions). And in “What you ‘do’ comes before what you call it,” I look at the quandary of searching for a domain name before you know what you want to do on a site.

I’ll specifically be chronicling the franchise journey under the category “Franchise” with WCNF as the tag. So look for those specifically if you’re interested in the project.

Of course, like many of you, if I wait around for that wizard I may never get started on my journey down this yellow brick road. So you can virtually watch me tear my hair out as I come to terms with flying monkeys, poppies and COMPROMISES!


Michelle Ferrier