Help us grow a more diverse and engaged audience

Whether you are considering a new venture or whether you’ve been at it for years, we want to accelerate everyone’s effectiveness by doing what Journalism That Matters has always done: connecting people with each other and linking them to what’s happening around the country with journalism innovations that support diverse communities and democracy to thrive.

To help this process, I’m asking you to complete a three-minute, three-question survey by the end of August. Journalism That Matters and its partner, the American Society of News Editors, will use it to improve the “Engagement Hub” – a platform for peer-to-peer exchange about engaging community.

This survey is now closed.

Why I’m thankful for Journalism That Matters

Today marks the sixth anniversary of my first Journalism That Matters “unconference,” a four-day mashup of journalists, technologists and venture capitalists held at Yahoo! headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif.

At the time, I had recently walked away from a job as an established newspaper reporter to nurture a public media startup, American Public Media’s Public Insight Network (PIN). The NewsTools 2008 gathering introduced me to a spirited community of entrepreneurs, many in their own states of transition, all working to fuel a “do more with more” ecology for news.

Since that time, this community — our community — has enriched me professionally and personally. Every JTM event I’ve attended (and there have been many) taught me something new, expanded my network and helped me grow in my role. I’ve served on advisory boards, forged meaningful collaborations, expanded PIN’s sphere of influence, and made wonderful friends — all through my association with JTM. A few months ago, I was thrilled to be invited to join the JTM board of directors.

It’s about time I said thank you.

That’s why today, I made a $250 donation to JTM. It’s long overdue support for an organization that has long supported me and, more importantly, the future of journalism.

If you, too, have benefited from JTM, I hope you will consider making a similar investment. It’s super easy to do from the JTM website.

I still have the purple Yahoo! notebook from the Sunnyvale confab. It’s filled with names, and notes on topics like disintermediated journalism, diversifying your sources, bridging the digital divide, and the Creator Economy.

It’s an artifact, but it’s also evidence our work is unfinished.

The Weekly Illumination — Issue 25

Welcome to the Weekly Illumination, a JTM newsletter offering a quick look at the week in journalism with a focus on what’s working in today’s news ecology. In this week’s Illumination we’ll look at the state of net neutrality, examine a social journalism degree focused on engagement at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism and a look at the best journalism tips posted over the past week.

Tips and tricks

Net neutrality is being redefined

With Netflix having secured deals for preferential access though two of the nation’s largest internet providers, the two-tiered internet feared for more than a decade is fast approaching. Under revised FCC rules internet service providers will not be permitted from blocking Web sites who refuse to pay an additional fee, but establishing an internet fast line, like the one Netflix has negotiated under protest, will likely be permitted under the new rules.

Tim Wu, who coined the term net neutrality in 2002, described the proposed new rules as a “clear violation of Obama’s promise” to protect open equal access to the internet:

This is what one might call a net-discrimination rule, and, if enacted, it will profoundly change the Internet as a platform for free speech and small-scale innovation. It threatens to make the Internet just like everything else in American society: unequal in a way that deeply threatens our long-term prosperity.

In the words of Ryan Singel, who published a great explainer piece on Medium, “The FCC plans to save the Internet by destroying it.”

In January, The Illuminations Blog covered Tom Wheeler’s public appearance at an Oakland Town Hall and came away with the question: Will FCC Tom Wheeler fight for net neutrality?

At the time, he seemed to be saying all the right things, but his background as a telecom lobbyist — a self-described “typical Washington player,” left many concerned his words were hollow. Concerns that now appear to have been legitimate, although the formal rules are not expected to be issued until later this year.

Odds and ends and odd ends

New masters degree in social journalism

With social media providing the framework for a two-way conversation unlike anything feasible before now, the CUNY graduate school of journalism has announced a new masters program in social journalism.

Jeff Jarvis who is an associate professor at the school and the director of the university’s Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism outlined the new program in his announcement:

I see this as the discipline of outcomes-based journalism: We take responsibility not only for making a product called news, hoping people consume it and then hoping that they and their communities are better for it. That’s all we could do before, in print and broadcast. Now, online, we have new tools and new means to hear the public, to serve the public, and to measure our impact and value. There lies the essence of social journalism.

So, yes, it’s social but it’s not just about social media. Yes, it’s about engagement but not engagement with us but instead about a community’s engagement with its own work. It’s about results, outcomes, impact.

Jobs of the week