Join us!

Periods of chaos and uncertainty create opportunity for transformation. Communities and their residents need local news and information to engage and grow a healthy democracy. How can the public engage, not as an audience or marketplace, but as participants in creating and sharing local news and information?

This open-space gathering is for journalists, community storytellers, active citizens, students, educators, researchers, funders, artists, social entrepreneurs, librarians, information technologists, urban designers, sustainability experts and other pioneers in engagement.

Our goal
Bring together the best practitioners on the leading edge of engaging with communities to learn from one another.

Together, we’ll generate actionable tools, illuminate innovative ideas and practices and develop strategies for helping communities have the news, information and connection they need to create thriving, healthy, inclusive communities.

Join us in a lively and productive exchange around challenging questions with a diverse group of peers who care about storytelling with civic impact — the capacity to address shared public challenges.

Register now!
Space is limited to 125 people.

October 1-4, 2015
We start at 3 p.m. Thursday and end at noon Sunday.

Agora Journalism Center
George S. Turnbull Portland Center
University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication
70 NW Couch Street
Portland, OR 97209-4038

Journalists, community activists, students, educators, researchers, funders, artists, social entrepreneurs, librarians, technologists, and other pioneers in engagement.

Hosted by Journalism That Matters and UO SOJC’s Agora Journalism Center.

Who will speak?
You will. We’ll be identifying a handful of “conversation catalysts” to stimulate our exchange, but the majority of our time will be a chance for you to pursue the questions that matter most to you.

What do we hope to accomplish?
Our intent is to advance our thinking and practice of engagement so that communities and journalism thrive by:

  • making more visible what’s working to meet community news and information needs in order to grow community capacity for confronting common struggles
  • creating a work product, such as an “interactive field guide” or report that promotes community information health
  • catalyzing a learning community that supports each of us and sparks breakthrough ideas, new connections, and ambitious projects

This is a working conference for people already involved with civic engagement and journalism. So be prepared to roll up your sleeves and participate as a sage off the stage!

Every activity during the conference models an engagement practice that can be used for community engagement. For example, at the heart of the conference is Open Space Technology, a process that enables groups of any size to self-organize and take responsibility for what they love as a means to address complex, important issues.

We’ll also model a couple forms of evaluating impact, including Developmental Evaluation, an approach intended for working with the uncertainty inherent in communities.

Why come?

  • Exposure. It’s a great stage to highlight your accomplishments in the area of community engagement and inclusion. You’ll reach a wide audience that includes not just other media but funders, impact evaluators, community-centered design consultants, academics, etc., any of whom could end up furthering your company’s strategic goals.
  • Unique format. The unconference open space format allows you to lead and attend sessions of your own choosing and to quickly forge connections with other participants.
  • People and culture.  There is a heavy emphasis on recruiting a very diverse crowd of participants, including many journalists and others who could and should be in your hiring pipeline.
  • Collaboration. The eclectic mix of participants will include artists, urban planners and community activists, and the conversations are going to yield incredible ideas for how to do better outreach and have deeper impact through community and journalistic collaborations.


For a taste of the conference hosts, check out the video from the Seattle Journalism That Matters gathering on news and community and the Agora Journalism Center’s  Front50 event video.

Register now!
Space is limited to 125 people.