About Pre-conference Conversations

About the pre-conference conversation process:

As part of conference preparation, we’ve paired participants to start the conversation. The idea is to be in touch with one other person, learn about their expertise, mission and intentions, and then write about it. This gives everyone a head start on the idea-generating process — and a reason to meet someone new.

Documenting & Posting Notes of your call

Summarize your conversation using these questions, or whatever questions seem appropriate to you:

1. What meaning did you take from the conversation?

2. Share a standout story or quote for each of you.

3. What surprised, challenged, inspired, and/or delighted you about the conversation?

What’s the point?

The purpose of the conversation is threefold:

  1. To arrive having established a new relationship;
  2. To begin to grasp both diverse and common perspectives; and
  3. To orient yourself to the meeting’s themes using an activity fundamental to journalism: storytelling.

How conversation partner assignments were made

There’s always a certain amount of randomness taking a group this size and pairing people. Here are some of the overall considerations we used:

  • We pair people from different disciplines and perspectives to stimulate an interesting exchange
  • We look for synergies based on responses to the registration questions
  • We avoid pairing individuals who might already be in the same professional orbit

Suggested Questions

Our main suggestion: to talk about who they are, what they’re doing, and what they hope to get out of the conference. The questions below are stimulus for the conversation.

1.    Tell me about your work and how it led to saying “yes” to this confab.  What outcomes would you like for yourself and your organization/work from these sessions?

2.    The idea of synergy between journalists and librarians is relatively new and provocative.  Tell me about an experience you’ve had which points to the potential at the intersection of journalism and libraries.

3. Some shared values between librarians and journalists have surfaced as we prepared for the conference:

  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of information
  • Civic engagement
  • Government accountability

Some shared challenges have also been noted:

  • Technology is transforming both institutions, especially in the form of information delivery.
  • Both face uncertain financial times

As you think about this common ground, what do you see as essential to the relationship between journalists and librarians for serving the public good?

4. Without being humble, what do you value most about yourself? What do you see yourself bringing to this confab?  What questions do you hope to answer?

5.    The year is 2016.  Librarians and journalists have a vibrant relationship that is catalyzing civic engagement in many communities. What’s happening?  How does the new environment function: who does what? What is now possible as a result?  What steps did we take at this confab and immediately thereafter to bring this about?