Sunday: Nut graphs from our notes

During our last day, the conference focus shifted from How can we elevate engagement so that communities thrive?


How can we as a community of practice elevate engagement so that each of us and all of us thrive?

We began the day by splitting into groups to review the many artifacts generated during the conference:

  • The graphic records made of our discussions by Nitya Wakhlu
  • Twitter conversations using our event hashtag, #PDXEngage17
  • Notes from our breakout sessions and plenary sessions (uploaded here)
  • Notes from conversations had among participants before the event
  • Postcards participants wrote to themselves at the end of the event
  • Notes taken by University of Oregon students throughout the sessions and developed into Themes by Yve Susskind

The groups created the “nut graphs” – nutshell paragraphs that capture the essence of the story from these sources – noted below.

Graphic record

Journalism is a byproduct of the community. This community needs to put on its own oxygen mask first. To do this, we need a shared narrative, along with access to best practices and resources. We need support for creation and sustainability, and to recognize the influence of money in our work. We need to invite and embrace the full range of our experiences.

Twitter Feed

On Twitter, the people at the event were influential in their own communities and spiked use of the hashtag around the world. We interacted with each other differently than we do at most conferences — we were active mostly in the morning and at dinner. During the event, we were focused on in-person engagement. We wanted to share a focus on communities that are unheard, the value of leaving our comfort zones and the challenge and importance of the work we do. We also shared visuals/images that spoke to our values.


Our community of practice is seeking guidance and mutual support to elevate engagement in our work. We’re seeking business models that allow us to pursue our mission sustainably. We recognize the limitations of our own skill sets and are seeking to enlist the public to serve the public’s needs. Journalists are seeking strategies and practices to help develop new skills, build new teams and move from debate to dialogue. We face institutional constraints, and many are wondering if they should work within existing institutions or find/build new institutions to accomplish our goals. We’re facing our fears, recognizing that fear, conflict and vulnerability can be constructive. Some of that fear comes from financial necessity. We recognize that financial sustainability is tied to the trust we believe engagement can help us build with the public and that providing something useful and valuable that sustains community, rather than trying to sell people content they don’t want. Our community of practice needs to maintain a sense of urgency that we we as journalists do needs to change because journalism is doing harm and our civic institutions are in jeopardy.

Session Notes

We actually have the tools necessary — listening, collaborating, dialogue, reconciliation — to engage our community and ourselves.

Session Notes

Our community members want to feel like part of a tribe without wondering if we’re welcome in the clubhouse. That involves having enthusiastic conveners.  We also want remote colleagues and collaboration partners to share resources, strategies, solutions and values.

Postcards from after the event and quotes from paired conversations before the event

We have a need to remember this feeling of belonging and know that we are not alone.  Because we feel a burning passion and ethical obligation to bring this work into the world, we need to stay connected in a way that allows all of our voices to matter and offers a clear, practical way to ask for support.

Student harvest

In their role as public servants and working in collaboration with their communities and with each other, journalists must employ listening and storytelling to engage with the world. It will take dedication and passion to give our work the meaning, purpose and expression required to create a stronger democracy. Success will mean creating unity, rather than division and projecting a positive image of our future.


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