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Sept. 25: Rewarding the Truth: Facts, Fibs and Accountability in Political Reporting

"Rewarding the Truth" -- Sept. 25

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

In a test of a unique collaboration technology, Journalism That Matters (JTM) will create the platform for a 90-minute, solutions-based discussion of that question with a public teleconference, “Rewarding the Truth: Facts, Fibs and Accountability in Political Reporting.” Among participants will be political press analyst Justin Peters of the Columbia Journalism Review.

Anyone can participate for free by registering in advance for the phone-in event, which will run from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (EDT) on Tues., Sept. 25.  Journalism students from Elon University, the University of Nevada-Reno and the Missouri School of Journalism  will be among participants.


Amy Lenzo -- Maestro facilitator

Amy Lenzo, Maestro facilitator

Particularly since the U.S. political-party conventions, politicians, political fact checkers, reporters, commentators and campaign strategists have been discussing online and elsewhere specific allegations that campaign or independent advertisements or platform statements are either lies or conflations of the truth so simplistic that they appear to become lies.

“Mass media mechanics in the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign drive strategists to reduce messages to a few words, and sometimes the truth about a complex issue doesn’t fit perfectly,” says Bill Densmore, JTM board member and a consulting fellow to the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism.  “Journalists aren’t sure how to respond. We’ll explore some ideas.”

What makes this teleconference unique is that in addition to hearing from people who are steeped in the topic, the Maestro Conference technology enables participants to move in and out of small group conversations — on the phone.  It extends JTM’s signature unconferencing capabilities to engage geographically dispersed participants. The session will be recorded and excerpted in transcript form.

“Rewarding the Truth”  will open with “conversation catalysts” who will set the stage for conversation, explains Peggy Holman, executive director of Journalism That Matters and principal facilitator of JTM’s in-person gatherings. She adds: “Following their remarks, we’ll break into groups to discuss ideas for innovations in covering politics. When reconvened as a whole group, the conversation continues with participants sharing ideas that none of us could have thought of on our own.”

As always, JTM extends this invitation to diverse collaborators who will bring their experience and insights to the call including traditional and emerging journalists, people and their communities, politicians and others who contribute to civic discourse, such as educators, information technologists and librarians.  “Rewarding the Truth” is planned as the first in a series of topical audio gatherings leading up to JTM’s 2013 gathering in Denver on April 3-5, entitled: “Journalism is Dead; Long Live Journalism.”


JTM is inviting those with ideas for solutions to be part of the Tues., Sept. 25 virtual roundtable, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.  The call-in number will be provided with registration at: Each person gets a unique identity code for the discussion, so registration is required to participate in the free discussion.

“Typically a topic this important might be the subject of an invitation-only, thought-leaders gathering, or a speaking event scheduled well in advance,” says Densmore. “Not everyone is invited or can afford travel. We want to test the possibility for a moderated, diverse public meeting by phone and web, produced while the topic is germane and solutions can have impact.”

Among confirmed participants:

  • Justin Peters, managing editor/web, Columbia Journalism Review, who writes and edits daily criticism and analysis of the political press. He has worked at Washington Monthly and has written for Slate, the Boston Globe, and the New York Times.As managing Web editor for the Columbia Journalism Review, Peters writesand edits daily criticism and analysis of the political press. He hasworked at Washington Monthly and has written for Slate, the Boston Globe,and the New York Times.
  • Marla Crockett, chair of the National Coalition for Dialog and Deliberation, works largely with the  Kettering Foundation of Dayton, Ohio on projects designed to enhance the public’s credibility with government officials.  She was a news anchor, producer and news manager from 1985-2006 at public radio KERA in Dallas.
  • Les Ihara Jr. is a Hawaii State Senator, who has served as Senate Majority Policy Leader since 2006. A 26-year veteran of the Hawaii Legislature, Les has held leadership positions of Senate Majority Leader, Majority Floor Leader in the House and Senate, and chair of the House Committee on International and Intergovernmental Affairs. Les is co-chair of the Legislative Effectiveness Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures and a member of the Kettering Foundation board of directors. His main focus is on government transparency, citizen engagement, public integrity, environmental and consumer protection, civil rights, and aging issues.
  • Amy Lenzo,  an experienced manager of Maestro audio conferences and director of communications for the Seattle-based World Cafe Community Foundation.
  • Dan Conover, a longtime South Carolina newspaper political reporter who has an idea for using web-based technology that would allow smart crowds to reward truth tellers.
  • Michelle Ferrier, an Elon University communications professor and former newspaper columnist, JTM board member and a researcher on online communities and digital media technologies.


The types of questions that we’ll discuss:

  • What defines quality political reporting? What examples have you seen of it?
  • How can we best help the electorate discern truth in politics?
  • What would it take to increase the rewards for telling the truth in politics, or penalize those who are seen as lying?
  • How is the truthfulness (or lack of it) in campaign statements best handled? What is the role of fact-checking websites?
  • How integral is fact checking to accountable political reporting?
  • How might we use online tools to check on “sound bite” campaign assertions? For example, encyclopedias of facts about contested policy issues with links to background information. Who might operate these tools?
  • As voters juggle limited time for learning about policy issues, what possibilities exist for improving the veracity of political communication?
Events, Home Page, JTM News, Seattle

Come examine the petri dish of journalism experimentation — Jan. 7-10

Submitted by Bill Densmore on Fri, 11/13/2009 – 5:24am


WHEN: Jan. 7-10, 2010
WHERE: Univ. of Washington, Seattle

For general information follow this link:
Register now at:
See who else is coming at:

Twitter hashtag:  #jtmpnw —

  • Program
  • Transportation and parking
  • Hotel Information
  • Across the United States, the media ecosystem is quickly evolving. Some main-stream news organizations are shrinking, as advertising decouples from journalism. Remarkable new technologies and the work of committed citizens are making it easier for us to build unique communities that share civic passion and purpose.

    In the Pacific Northwest, this evolution is proceeding rapidly. What’s starting to work? How are the information needs of communities being met? What ongoing role should legacy media be playing? How can the public and journalists collaborate?

    To find out, the Journalism That Matters collaborative is convening our first event focused on a region. And we’d like to invite you to look in on this experimental petri dish — and learn how you can replicate the experiments in your home region’s laboratories.

    So please book your travel for some or all of Jan. 7-10. Join some 150 editors, writers, broacasters, bloggers, producers, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, educators, students, digital entrepreneurs, media activists, community journalists, public advocates and public-policy experts for, “Reimagining News and Community in the Pacific Northwest.”

    “Reimaging News,” is sponsored by Microsoft Corp. and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, with additional help from the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism and the University of Washington.
    WHY NOW?

    The impetus for JTM-Pacific Northwest is this call to action:

    Journalism is at a crossroads.  What will support its basic values,
    while adapting its practice to new economic, social and technological
    realities?  The northwest is alive with media innovations that can
    help us understand what is happening in the nation’s traditional and
    emerging news organizations to ensure the vitality of “journalism that
    matters” that serves the public.


    In partnership with the UW Department of Communication and its Masters
    of Communication in Digital Media program, we shall convene some of
    the best minds in the region to:

    *  Understand the promise – and pitfalls – of the emerging news
    ecology – the information exchange among the public, government, and
    institutions that informs, inspires, engages, and activates

    *  Foster lasting connections among regional journalists and the
    communities they serve

    *  Surface new partnerships and innovations for a healthy northwest
    and national ecosystem


    *  Greater clarity and commitment to the many projects and ideas
    participants bring with them

    *  New and unexpected partnerships between participants

    *  Journalism innovations seeded throughout the northwest

    *  Deeper understanding of emerging relationships among journalism,
    communities, and democracy

    *  Beginnings of a community of practice among people in the northwest
    who care about journalism and civic engagement


    The opening day includes a “News and Information Commons”, with tables
    hosted by people from the wide range of Northwest media
    organizations.  Following dinner, we’ll have 3 “conversation
    catalysts” talk briefly:

    For the people: Norman Rice, former Seattle mayor and current president and CEO of the Seattle Foundation

    For the press: Tracy Record, co-publisher and editor,

    And a “shape-shifter”, putting a twist on what’s possible: Chris
    Jordan, artist, currently showing at the Pacific Science Center –

    We’ll follow the talks with a “World Café” conversation among

    The rest of the confab uses JTM’s signature process mode – Open Space
    Technology. They key goal of this process — blur the lines between participants and presenters. We acknowledge that every participant brings know that will can make them a presenter.

    Whether you plan to attend or not, follow the work of Journalism that Matters at our website, or via our Twitter feed — @jtmstream . . . . .

    — Bill Densmore, Peggy Holman, Stephen Silha, Mike Fancher, Chris Peck and the entire JTM community

    Bill Densmore, director/editor
    The Media Giraffe Project
    Univ. of Massachusetts
    OFF: 413-577-4370 / CELL: 413-458-8001
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