Author Archives: Michelle Ferrier

About Michelle Ferrier

Chief instigator of Journalism That Matters Create or Die gatherings.

Developing Indicators for Healthy News Ecologies

Convener: Dr. Michelle Ferrier
Participants: Susan Abbott, Emily Guerin, Tess Doezema, Cally Carswell, Sandra Fish, Lynn Schofield Clark, Tom Glaisyer.

*Michelle: worked with meteorologists and plotting LANDSAT points, so coming at this from high and low level views.

Began to look at news as food. Looked at food cycle and compared it to news and information. (Also run a food news site.) USDA came out with a food desert map recently. Attempt to define what a food desert was. Took census data, then created definitions of how far people lived from fresh food sources. But what was important was what happened: was an epiphany, changed conversation at regional and local level about a problem that hadn’t really discussed. How does transportation exacerbate the problem? How can people get to farmer’s markets? Etc.

What are the things that constitute a healthy news ecology? And how will we know we’ve done our job well? Created healthy communities with useful / important news and information.

What is a media desert? Geographic area lacking fresh news and information. Daily, even weekly. This condition may be as a result of a lack of content, access, language barriers and other issues.

Framework of analysis:
*Code: language, spoken or written or computer languages
*Content: News, information, images
*Conduit: Newspapers, radio, mobile

When N.C. paper contracted, subscriptions dropped in core coverage area too b/c newspaper got flimsier, its perceived value dropped

Right now, really trying to define what a media desert is. And find indicators — how do we measure the value of what we produce?

What does a healthy, engaged community look like? Voting patterns, etc.
*How do you get metrics that are generalizable, and can dig into what is a healthy ecosystem? Then, how useful is that going to be to the world? Is it really that we need to understand that South High School is the most important thing? To understand that community, you really need to understand that high school.

*Do our ideas of what journalism is need to change? Information networking with people who care about certain things.

Media Corps: Deploying journalism resources to underserved communities

Convener: Dr. Michelle Ferrier
Participants: Rob Williams, Sandra Fish, Josh Wolf, Jenifer Lehman

Media Corps:

The corps could be done through a collaboration of media outlets, some small amount of money. Similar to ProPublica model.

Wealthy individuals to bankroll the corps.

Government model

Partner with Higher Education for dorm space, meeting space, pull together media corps for training. Student journalist labor.

Doing a collaboration between the Colorado schools that would send our students out like Peyonya and to places that you can rotating students to provide coverage.

Traveling journalist and traveling stenographer, but is also willing to work with a trained student in getting to the bottom if it.

Veteran journalist: college-educated, mentor them full time

Model for training local educated people:
4 weeks: Winter term model
In the classroom/In the street for half a day.

Virtual apprenticeship for 6 months after that where you get editing, coaching, advise, structure for the business, etc.

Maybe some people aren’t good at the writing, photo, video, call center, processing community feedback.

Code: Deploying translators where there may be news and information an dnot being serviced by existing media.

Content: Injecting public information service function into area.

Conduit/Code/Content: Media desert idea.

Funding for “three” separate projects.

Full media desert: A better use of the funding and the ability to look at measure change.

Hyperlocals focused on media deserts: Richmond, CA: Josh Wolf: Economically repressed. I had to fight to Richmond Confidential. No one cares what happens in city council anyway.

Open Media Group with young people and the legislature. Film center to get young people to create documentaries. Part of it is journalism and feeling comfortable telling their own story.

Media Environment

Digital Storytelling Project
Digital Stenography: Liveblogging
Journalism Layer

Teaching digital literacy:
Lower SES communities
Providing the technologies: Phones and use in editing stories for publication.

Lack of local news sources:
Voice and Photography, What they can bring based on their own media experience. To create local stories.

I think it is important at how you convince a city council member to contribute money toward public journalism.

What is the case for them?

Economic development; publicity for the council;
Sustainability wrapper: How do we engage the population in these larger issues. Informed people: to communicate regional issues.


Informed citizenry and sustainable community.

Generating material they can use in their campaigns.
Public news and information function.
Public cliffnotes of city council.

Help to make large issues and documents digestible.
Translation function
Bridge: Journalists are bridge for public to what is happening in city council meeting.
Ego driven hooks for city council members. Amplifying their personal messages and initiatives.

2.2 percent ownership of commercial broadcast in the U.S.
Research: Race-conscious approach, incubators and enforcing EEO for racial minorities.
I think it’s a tragedy. Media justice delayed. New media is not on a pathway to the golden age of journalism.95 percent comes from tv newsroom and newspaper news room. Dumbing down of our diet. Those of you that believe in the new media, we have a lot of heavy lifting to do.

It’s the things that aren’t there that are important in this crisis.