Combined- Taking the Community Temperature and Community Bridging

Submitted by Beth Mastin on Sun, 06/06/2010 – 4:30am

Session Convenor:

Beth Mastin and Michelle Ferrier

Session Reporter:

Beth Mastin

Discussion Participants:

So Sorry- I seem to have lost track of sign-in sheet- I’ll try to relocate my notes and update this field

Notes from Journalism That Matters

Saturday, June 6, 1:30 Open Space

Submitted by Beth Mastin

Combined topics:

What would True Community Bridging look like? ( Beth) and

Can a tool be developed to take the community’s temperature? ( Michelle)

Disclaimer- This was a pretty large group, and many ideas were floated. I left 10 pages of session notes in the room- so this is from recall. Please feel free to add thoughts.

Two strands of thought braided into one discussion about how to authentically know and report on what is happening in a community. A problem for reporters is that especially in a large metro region you have many contiguous smaller neighborhoods or communities making up one large metro area. How do you aggregate the many hyper-local pictures in to one bigger overview?

Strand re: taking the community’s temperature: Mood rings are the inspiration of this idea. Our civic and personal temperature changes from moment to moment, day to day- and there could be technology to capture that in a epidemiological way. What if there were an on-line interactive widget that allowed people to report how they are feeling about their community, life, issues of the day- organized in such a way that readers could post how they felt about an issue as a temperature or mood- rather than as a comment. This would allow stakeholders and change makers see a temperature and perhaps aim to change the temperature of whole neighborhood or community as a measure of whether an idea or action is taking hold. Apparently some version of this idea was tried out during the 2008 presidential election on election night- ( on CNN? ) as returns came in.

The discussion re: bridging pivoted around the Time Inc. Detroit project, and how it might have been done in such a way as to reflect an authentic picture of Detroit with stories of hope along side same old dreary national story of despair. One powerful idea for what might have been done was that the imbedded house might have been an actual salon where people could come to discuss issues with reporters and community stakeholders, and that the reporting could have emerged from what happened in that actual space for the exchange of ideas and discussion.

Questions: Does anyone read good news? When local news follows the old “if it bleeds it leads” approach to daily reporting, how can national media blamed for building their stories on that foundation? Are new voices being trained in the skills of storytelling, journalism, representing all of the communities in the big city corpus? In Detroit – are young Arab Americans learning to tell their stories? Comments: Anyone reporting on the community should have lived in the community for at least one year. Know that when outsiders interview you, if you physically represent one group, (IE: young black man) your comments may be generalized by an outside reporter to represent that entire group of people. Big idea to emerge from discussion: We should not let Time have the final word and leave- take on a re-imaging of Detroit with a wide range of community voices over a longer period of time. Maybe get Time to donate the house back to some collaborative of Detroit media makers for this purpose.

This entry was posted in Session Notes. Bookmark the permalink.