About Journalism That Matters Unconferences

Journalism That Matters hosts and supports transformative, participatory convenings that explore complex gnarly questions. Across more than 20 events, we have fostered exciting and unusual collaborations that encourage out-of-the-box thinking and interactions using Open Space Technology and other unconference approaches.


Engaging Emergence: Advancing the Future of Journalism for All– August 21-23, 2023, Philadelphia, Penn.

Agora Journalism Center and Journalism That Matters hosted an Online News Association pre-conference connecting journalists and allies to pool what we have learned, uncover  philosophies and principles that inform our work, and act on synergies that strengthen and accelerate the adoption of practices that support people, their communities, and democracy.


Journalism Education That Matters – June 19, 20 and July 20, 2020, Virtual
During the pandemic, journalism students, educators and their allies gathered in virtual conversations inspired to explore the question: In the midst of upheaval, what’s possible to prepare the next generation of journalists?

Elevate Engagement – May 18-21, 2017, Portland Oregon

Once again, in partnership with the Agora Journalism Center at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication, journalists, community connectors, educations, and others gathered to explore how do we elevate engagement for communities to thrive?

Experience Engagement – October 1-4, 2015, Portland, Oregon

In partnership with the Agora Journalism Center at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication, journalists, community connectors, educators, and others gathered to consider journalism, community engagement, and impact.

Supporting Independent Journalism to Thrive – May 14-16, 2015, Tarrytown, NY

Hosted by the Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, 30 independent journalists, funders, media association representatives, academics, media outlets, entrepreneurs and media activists gathered to consider how we grow a vibrant, powerful and resilient independent media sector.

Journalism is Dead, Long live Journalism – April 3-4, 2013, Denver, Colorado 

Moving from mourning to building –- Rallying for the future of news and communities at the University of Denver’s Estlow Center.

Create or Die 2 – June 2-5, 2011, Greensboro, North Carolina

52 journalists, entrepreneurs, community activists, educators, students, videographers, game developers, hip-hop artists, and others explored the intersection of journalism, innovation, and entrepreneurship that benefits underserved communities.

Beyond Books – April 6-7, 2011, MIT, Cambridge, Mass.

130 journalists, librarians, educators, students, and others considered what’s possible when journalists and librarians come together?

Seattle Journalism Commons – Begun in March 2011

An experiment in cultivating a regional network of people in the news and information community by sharing resources, learning from one another, and documenting area activities – doing journalism on journalism.


Create or Die – Detroit – June 3-6, 2010

94 journalists, community members, activists, educators, students, and others initiated projects to serve communities.


Re-imagining News and Community in the Pacific Northwest – Seattle – January 7-10, 2010

250+ journalists and the public came together to envision new directions for news and information in the region


Journalism in the New News Ecology – St. Petersburg – March 1-4, 2009

88 journalists – new media and legacy media, educators, students, techologists, and citizens gathered at the Poynter Institute


Rebooting the News – Philadelphia – October 23-25, 2008

67 teachers, researchers, journalists, students, and media activists joined together to find common ground on news literacy.


New Pamphleteers/New Reporters – Minneapolis – June 4-5, 2008

107 place-bloggers joined with mainstream journalists and others to consider their “passion for place”.


NewsTools 2008 – Silicon Valley – April 30-May 3, 2008

156 journalists, bloggers, technologists, media activists, journalism educators, journalism students, and others came together on the Yahoo! Sunnyvale campus to consider What is possible at the intersection of journalism and technology that serves democracy?


The DC Sessions – August 7-8, 2007

150 media educators, activists and industry veterans convened at George Washington University to examine What happens when only the journalism remains?


From Mainstream to New Media: Finding Common Ground to Grow Participatory Democracy – Memphis – January 11-12, 2007

30 media activists, industry veterans, innovators and researchers convened side by side the Third National Conference for Media Reform


The New News Ecology – Amherst – June 30-July 1, 2006

30 people (editors, academics, students, bloggers, reporters, foundation executives) participated as part of the Media Giraffe Conference at the University of Massachusetts.


Next Newsroom – St. Louis – April 19-22, 2006

22 people passionate about journalism – professionals from print, broadcast, new media, both mainstream and independent, citizens, educators, a funder and a student – convened.


2010: Journalism That Matters For the 21st Century – Kalamazoo – October 6-9, 2005

29 people in journalism (print, broadcast, new media, citizen activists, educators, a student, a funder and a Wall Street analyst) convened in Kalamazoo, Michigan at the Fetzer Institute’s Seasons Retreat Center. Session notes for Thursday,Friday-Part 1, Friday-Part 2, Saturday-Part 1Saturday-Part 2, and Sunday-What’s Next.


Inspiring Conversations among Emerging Media Leaders: Advisory Group Planning Meeting – April 28-30, 2005

Hosted by the Fetzer Institute, 9 people met at the Hermitage in Kalamazoo, Michigan to consider the state of media.


Journalism That Matters – Ogunquit – September 27-28, 2002

40 editors from the New England Associated Press Managing Editors and students met.


Newsroom Summit – Milwaukee – October 12-13, 2001

120 editors and journalism students held a conversation at the Associated Press Managing Editors Conference


Associated Press Managing Editors (APME) board – New York – January 28, 2001

12 APME board members discussed How can APME serve journalists in serving the community?