The Invitation

How can we reshape journalism so that it engages and serves all people & communities?

Participate in “Journalism That Matters Detroit — Create or Die: Forging communities that initiate, incubate and innovate.”

This focused, three-day gathering of results-driven, action-oriented participants will discover, assess, shape and create forward-looking enterprises focused on key elements of community — diversity, shared values, respect, participation and developing youth.

Grants from Time Inc., the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Google Inc., and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute will permit Journalism That Matters to award a total of up to $4,000 in research stipends to up to four entrepreneurs to develop their projects.

JTM especially invites persons of color — journalists, entrepreneurs, programmers, technologists, bloggers, videographers, venture capitalists, artists, funders, educators and all who have an interest — to explore how voices often unheard or misrepresented can reshape the future of journalism.

For nearly 50 years, American journalism was financed by an historically unprecedented consumer-driven economy. This put pressure on editors, producers and reporters to focus on mainstream audiences attractive to advertisers. Cable television, and now the Internet, have made it economically feasible to profitably market to niche communities. For the first time, poor, ethnic and disadvantaged communities and under-represent constituencies of all economic strata are no longer too marginal to serve. Diverse constituencies must seize the opportunity to innovate with technology and services, legacy media must learn to include these new, niche audiences. Both creators and consumers die — figuratively, they lose influence or visibility — unless they understand the need to diversify.

We’re meeting in St. Andrew’s Hall, a National Register-listed former church, with state-of-the-art TV production facilities next door, and dormitory suite or hotel accommodations. Learn about Detroit’s changing economy as a metaphor for the journalism change and opportunity. Arrive Thurs., June 3, at mid-day, begin with an afternoon orientation, buffet dinner and an agenda-setting evening program. Share/work Friday and Saturday using circle-round and break-out “unconference” collaboration; wrap up and commit to next steps on Sunday morning.

The evolving relationship between news and technology provide a great opportunity for innovation. We’ll open by connecting journalists and technologists through identifying essential elements of journalism. Then journalists and technologists together conceive projects and form design/development teams to conceive or deploy the best tools to put those values and elements into practice.

You need to be part of the conversation. Don’t let this moment pass without taking action. Whether you are a part of a legacy media organization or an individual ready to create something on your own, this conference will create a space for energy and action.


  • New and unexpected cross-sector collaborations
  • Broadening a community of practice among people who care about journalism innovation
  • Nurture and develop journalism entrepreneurship especially for underserved communities and people of color
  • Learn from stories of successful projects
  • Discover and engage financial/funding sources to seed new projects

Why Detroit?

Nowhere are economic and media changes in America more stark than in Michigan and Detroit. Time Inc. has placed a year-long emphasis on studying how Michigan will reinvent the American dream. Newspapers in Detroit and Ann Arbor are no longer home-delivered daily. With change comes opportunity, and the changes in America’s industrial heartland are an object lesson for change now reaching media and journalism. Create or die, community and diversity are the messages of Detroit.

Pricing Information — Stipends available

REGISTRATION: A sliding scale for early birds; or request a waiver

Because of foundation, donor and participant support, Journalism That Matters convenings have a history of providing registration stipends for people who might, for budget or personal reasons, not be able to pay the full cost of a JTM event. When you start the registration process by clicking below, you will have several “early-bird” choices until registration rates rise on April 1. If you cannot afford full registration, pay a refundable $25 and add your name to our first-come-first served roster for a registration payment waiver and stipend. If by May 1 we are unable to grant a waiver, and you cannot attend at the regular price, we’ll refund your $25 upon request.

  • Regular-participant: $295
  • Non-profit or academic: $175
  • Unemployed or underemployed: $95
  • Enrolled student: $75
  • Fee to confirm stipend request: $25
  • For special registration requests, email jtm [at] journalismthatmatters [dot] org.

    For general information, contact jtm [at] journalismthatmatters [dot] orgjtm [at] journalismthatmatters [dot] org (.)

    Plans are already underway to continue cultivating what happens in Detroit with Create or Die – II in the Piedmont/Triad region of North Carolina in 2011.

    Why North Carolina for Part II?

    The Piedmont/Triad area of North Carolina is reinventing itself after an economic crash following the downfall of the textile industry. The area is using the “creative economy” as its catalyst, focusing on digital media, arts, performance and other creative endeavors. As a result, the area fosters strong collaboration between remaining industries and is home to a cluster of higher education institutions committed to build the creative economy. Because of the concentration of technology- and research-oriented institutions and companies, we feel the Piedmont/Triad region offers fertile ground for the development of new journalistic initiatives.

    Thank you to our sponsors:

    Wayne State University, its Institute for Media Diversity, the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, NABJ’s Digital Journalism Task Force, Detroit Chapter-NABJ, the Asian American Journalists Association, Elon University, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the G.W. Williams Center for Independent Journalism, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Center for Future Civic Media at MIT, Google Inc., the U.S. Census Bureau, the Media Giraffe Project at UMass Amherst, and other organizations are among sponsors.


    Wayne State University

    5105 Anthony Wayne Dr. St. Andrew’s Hall

    Detroit, MI 48201