How can Journalism That Matters (JTM) support those who are birthing the emerging ecosystem?

Convened by Michelle Ferrier
Reporter: Stephen Silha

Participants: Mike Green, Jeff Brown, Anne Stadler, Stephen Silha, Lisa Loving, Michelle Bach-Coulibaly, Kaylee Tomay, Ed Madison, Emmalee McDonald

How do we change the focus of journalism from advertising /content to community – whether it’s geographical or interest or university
Stakeholder mapping – ? Journalists, community activists, bloggers

Lisa ~ What about kids as part of the ecosystem? Journalism is the entire ecology from the sky to the ground

Here’s JTM’s mission now: Journalism That Matters (JTM) is a nonprofit that convenes conversations to foster collaboration, innovation and action so that a diverse news and information ecosystem supports communities to thrive. We believe journalism matters most when it is of, by and for the people.

Anne: JTM does its best work when it is experimenting and fostering experiments to serve both journalists and communities.

There’s a new idea about English teachers using journalism to teach English and media literacy.

Michelle: We’re here to cultivate a journalistic sensibility in education, community, etc.
How do we articulate the value proposition?

Should we be more purposeful about training the trainers… and shifting to the unusual suspects?

Lisa: I will be doing “How to be a citizen journalist” class for older people.

Jackie: Kids – you gave me an a-ha moment. I’ve been immersed in the community working at an ethnic grocery store in Phoenix; and at my work at the library, it was a totally different group of people (mostly older, white). When we said, “bring your kid” to the library to do a reading event, we got 50 percent families of color.

Anne: In your mission statement, is convening conversations self-limiting? What about fostering the emergence of the form journalism takes in the evolving society.
Conversation is only one methodology.

Time has come when you have critical mass and outreach.

Anne: I didn’t understand last night’s world café until I went to bed. Then I got it.

Michelle: The developmental evaluation in this gathering will help us illuminate experiments in a deeper way. Why is this project (that emerged from JTM) working?

Lisa: Only one person from Willamette Week here, but nobody from Oregonian and OPB. Why? [Later, she spotted someone from OPB]

Michelle: We’re focusing on a new role for journalists. Ethnographic practices, etc. We are trying to figure out the role. They (MSM) don’t now see this as their role right now.

Lisa: And they don’t see how they can make money by doing that.

Anne: We have a new media ecosystem: more diverse, less mass media, more open. What is a daily newspaper’s role in a metro area?

Stephen & Jeff: At the Benson, no newspapers are visible. But they will provide the paper on your device, they say. I’m not inclined to go there on my device because I have my own sources.

Anne: If tragedy happens, you have to go to CNN.

Jeff: How do we leverage local knowledge? What’s the minimum viable product? I think it’s empowering other organizations.

I’m a business guy. I see you have people talking business models, commerce, economization. But no infrastructure of people who can discuss that from the non-journalism side. Not from the perspective of “I’m crafting the word/message”

Mike Green: I think disruption comes from without. They big guys aren’t here because we’re the disruptors.

Minimum viable product: we work together to thrive. If jtm could be an honest broker.

Jeff: Also value in not playing nice, but breaking shit.

Michelle: If we were to reinvent journalism today, how would we do it?

Jeff: What about a national startup weekend for journalism?

Michelle: That was the intent of the Create or Die series. We had a hip-hop journalist at Create or Die Greenboro. Is he an activist? Yes. Is he a journalist? Questionable.

Public broadcasting Listening Post where people tell their own story – Story Corps.

Jeff: Data journalism is huge, but I haven’t seen one coder here. I don’t think you can commit journalism in the modern age without techies.

Mike: Next year in August, National Associations of Black and Hispanic journalists will meet. Tech companies in DC are interested in media space. What about a startup weekend there?

Michelle: New U has been an effort to bring those folks into the digital age. What can we do differently?

Also bring in open government / transparency people…

Jeff: Could you imagine journalists and technologists coming together to hack government in DC?

You have empire builders and silo-creators who are jealous of their audiences in the tech sector.

Anne: You have people at the edges of the self-satisfied group, who, if they came to a JTM-style gathering would get piqued.

How about telling your own stories at a gathering?

Innovation, Startups, Disruption are recurring themes.

Jeff: From Think-Tank perspective.

Lisa: The work you do doesn’t fit in a bag or box. If you take stock of what’s happening, then set the agenda.

Michelle B-C: I’m looking at my own community. (Brown University) How do we make a difference? Everybody is siloed, it’s an old boys’ club, glass ceilings are big, they say they look to us artists for innovation, but we’re in an era of metrics. “We have to measure your effectiveness, your ability to communicate.” I came to understand systems.

How does academia look at these ideas of innovation, community engagement. We want to change the system. Education is failing. I’m in the business of building community partnerships, taking students outside the bubble. How do we measure?

Some people say, so what? What happens after you shake up a system? Who are you partnering with and who cares?

How do you measure success? I have more questions than I can even ask.
How do they become learning organisms?

Anne: (to Michelle) Your work is about embodiment. It’s about how do we embody journalism that matters? We need this to plum the depths of our systemic system.

Stephen: Some alternative futures for JTM:

  • SWAT team for communities in crisis
  • Continue taking “targets of opportunity” to convene gatherings
  • Fostering emergence in the journalistic ecosystem and finding ways to create income (consulting with media orgs, etc)

Are we doing the work that’s meaningful within the community?

Anne: What’s urgent in the field that might give us something to focus on?

Jeff: What’s the “big pain” – the pain point?

Michelle: I started a Facebook post to honor women journalists of color – now a list of 100+ journalists who have been midwives to this story, holding a place for them …

That small acknowledgement helped affirm many people’s desire to move forward. How can we support one another?

Stephen: Sounds like Media Giraffe Project.

Lisa: We don’t have enough journalists on the ground. When the Oregonian laid off a photographer, I thought, this is a pain point. The heart & soul of our community is gone. They laid off people, then hired all these new people without institutional memory.

Michelle: How do we build a SETI system?
How can we improve journalism by giving the power away?

Mike: The pain point: Journalists often think of themselves as employees of someone else’s business. I think journalists have important networks, institutitonal knowledge, skills, that other people don’t have. They don’t have entrepreneurial skills.

If they did, they could produce their own product.

Changing the mindset of journalists may be the best thing that could happen. There is opportunity, but we’re not thinking about it that way. JTM could be the training platform.

Lisa: Putting the knowledge on the shelf. Training. Holding space for people who have done this work, not recognized.

Jeff: Society no longer values the work of journalists, yet the need for traditional journalistic values is greater than ever.

I don’t think you can pidgeonhole yourselves. You can be stewards of institutional knowledge, the think-tank for institutional journalism.

Can you respond to major media crises? Wrap it in mission. You could have revenue legs.

If there were another mass shooting situation, in many areas you don’t have journalists with local knowledge. The coverage is from the national level down. It needs to be local. How do you find and put those people out there so they are able to provide that context. Who pays? Local government?

Being at the front line…

Lisa: I can’t imagine a local government doing that. To push media literacy to local government seems impossible.

Mike: We need to pick up the phone and find out.

Anne: Suppose you’re in open space. Each who steps up can take responsibility. The system is diverse and chaotic. You work from : taking responsibility for what you care about.

Mike: What if several entities in Roseburg were interested in facilitating conversations in open space? No one is bringing the community together in a safe space.

Jeff: SWAT team seems like a program. How are you going to survive another year?

Michelle: A-ha: Part of my dissertation work is how we make communities visible. I developed a way to do that by using a quilt metaphor.

Thinking about this when Katrina hit I was so frustrated by the media’s portrayal of what was happening. From a distance, I used this to have people create a piece of fabric to identify who you are … people could put in their photo and

What emerged was the counter-narrative.

Jeff: Are you interested in serve people or organizations. B to B B to C?

Michelle: B to E? business to emerging – our “customers” have not emerged yet in the system.

Anne: You could crowdsource. The quilt metaphor is huge. Facing homelessness, using tight shots of homeless people where they can write something about what they need. There’s a power in this medium to bring in some revenue stream. You have to have a setting where people come in to expect that.

Lisa: I keep chewing on the Roseburg idea. You can’t parachute in. Can you reach out to small dailies, weeklies, offered to amplify what they are doing.

Mike: They don’t have money.

Jeff: By the time you get there, the conversation would have changed.

Lisa: MSM are desperate. Can you try to build community with them?

Anne: you have a collection of innovators now, people working the edges. There’s something about JTM that caused them to come here. Not just friendships. I think JTM needs to wake up to what has attracted this group, and

Jeff: If you want to be the leader in innovation, that’s cool. And you could monetize that. But it doesn’t fit your brand now. JTM IS the thought-leader for innovation in journalism.

Universities are placing innovators and entrepreneurs in residence. You could be the glue that binds those programs together. That may be your best income stream.

Michelle: Teaching educators about that system. At Ohio we are bringing in entrepreneurs to teach, and to get new ideas for the enterprises.

Hack journalism, academic – and entrepreneurs.

Journalism schools are potential customers / partners.

JTM provides connector that enhances the impact.

Anne: Treat this as a microcosm – this is the Agora – public square where people come in an have conversations.

Lisa: When you need something call us.

Jeff: There’s no lack of help. There’s a lack of revenue. I would look at a membership model. I’d pay a fee to have access. Would pay a fee for conference.

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