How Can Our Apparent Differences Be Fuel for Right Action: Learning Exchanges and Learning Journeys:

Four of us talked. Christine Whitney Sanchez, Mitsue Cook and Todd Milburn. We talked, loosely, about NewStories plan to organize a learning exchange in Kentucky and West Virginia later this year, bringing 15 local activists together with 15 from other parts of the country. Likely threads of participation are health, energy and journalists. The initiative grows out of last year’s National Listening Tour on Creating a Culture of Health that NewStories did last year with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

We talked about how one of the challenges is to attract both so-called progressives and so-called conservatives to participate. What’s needed is a potluck of ideas, people said. We should bring in a wide rages of perspectives about what drives and disrupts trust. Obama Foundation might be interested. Work that Christine and Juanita Brown and David Isaacs did called Promise USA might fit in somehow.

We noticed that the topic — perhaps because of the way it was expressed — held no attraction for journalists in the room. Todd, who can wear the journalist hat, wandered in, new to the conference and uncertain about what was going on.

At a meta-level, the lack of participation started to open up questions for Bob about just how and what journalists at Elevate Engagement really wanted to engage with — audience or community. Also questions about how to invite across the divides: how can journalists really invite community in and how can community invite journalists in?