This week, at the Engaging Emergence gathering in Philadelphia, Journalism That Matters president Ashley Alvarado announced the current board and leadership of the organization would be stepping down, effective September 15. Former JTM president Michelle Ferrier will assume the role of Journalism That Matters president with a newly formed board.
This transition in leadership reflects a broader reimagining of the organization. As Ferrier shares:
“Over the past 20 plus years, Journalism That Matters has convened an amazing diversity of individuals in dialogues to explore a quest at the center of my media deserts work and research — to create space for community dialogue and deliberation, collective learning and action, news and information, and communication and connection. Our shared work has been about putting practices into action and creating catalysts for community learning, healing and change. I’m honored to be carrying on this work of reimagining news and information and civic communications to help seed, nurture and develop community connection and public spheres for sharing, learning and growing together.”
Founded in 2001, Journalism That Matters became a 501(c)(3) in 2012. Its vision has been to transform relationships between communities and journalism. More than 1,800 people have participated in JTM-sponsored events that have inspired new ideas, projects, partnerships, and a variety of journalistic ventures.
Andrew DeVigal, the director of the Agora Journalism Center at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism & Communication, spoke to the impact of Journalism That Matters and, in particular, cofounder Peggy Holman. “[Her] profound generosity in sharing her knowledge and expertise epitomizes the essence of what journalism needs today: inclusive, engaged, collaborative and constructive.”
Holman and DeVigal led the inaugural Experience Engagement and Elevate Engagement gatherings, in 2015 and 2017, respectively. It was after the second event that the Gather community of practice was launched.
As DeVigal noted of Holman: “Her mentorship to me and countless others transcends boundaries, shaping the practice and igniting a transformative spirit within the community. Through her work, we witness the true power of engaged journalism to inspire collective growth and meaningful change.”
Engaging Emergence was initially conceived, in part, as an opportunity to honor Journalism That Matters’ legacy and say goodbye to the organization. Instead, the gathering created an opportunity to honor the legacy and welcome a new chapter under Ferrier’s leadership, growing local news and information ecosystems.
As outgoing Journalism That Matters president Ashley Alvarado noted, “I first came to JTM looking for community, people who cared about engagement just as much as I did. I could never have imagined the growth of engaged journalism and the terraforming role JTM would play in that growth. I’m excited for this next chapter at JTM … and to continue watching its legacy play out in newsrooms and communities across the country.”
To learn more about Journalism That Matters, visit www.journalismthatmatters.org/about.