How can journalists connect with artists/filmmakers? 1 p.m., Room 150 Notes by Bill Densmore

Host: Jerry Millhon

Participants:

Celeste Hamilton Dennis, Bill Densmore, Sheetal Agorwal, Emerson Malone, Jackie Hai, Lee Vandervoo, Elaine Cha, Dan Archer, Mitch Fantin, Marissa Grass, Michelle Bach-Coulibaly, Laura LoForti, Melia Tichenor.

How can journalists connect with artists and filmmakers, and those on the ground in communities, to gain a deep understanding of community challenges and successes.

Jerry: Concerned about this conference. People tormented about how to do good work and not knowing how to do it. How can we find deeper points of collaboration?

He has been doing video work in communities. He has done 26 videos from Portland to Vancouver about NGOs doing interesting work as best-practices. Usually it is women over 40 who make things happen and usually the don’t have money but they have community capital – they have friends.

Every community has pockets that are thriving, the core is how to connect them.

Sheetal is a former journalist now academic and community organizer.

What can artists do to connect better? What is that process?

Michelle: I have worked with journalists but it was always a swoop in and swoop out, write what they write and there is no engagement. Or I’m swooping in somewhere, changing the atmosphere and swooping out.

Elaine: An example. She does and doesn’t identify as a journalist. She works in public media in St. Louis. What is the difference between public radio and TV. Nine Aloud – free five week course offered to members of the public. It is free so it is not cost-prohibitive. Thinking about how to make it available to people who can’t get to the broadcast center. It is learning how to do video communications. She talks about an arts organization working with a journalist organization.

Mitch (get what he talked about)

Dan: It is about follow through. Is this going to be a one-off. Want to create an art space where people can come in. How can we make it relevant, but not just to the artists and the creators but to a bigger audience. Is engagement a wiki style that grows and grows?

Jerry: He has over the years thought about inviting journalists to meet with them; they just provide a platform the journalists to find stories and take it from there. I’m talking about something I’m guilty of not thinking about – an invitation in.

Lee VanderVoo – That would be helpful. I want more art in my (journalism) projects. I’m an appreciator. I love music and art. I browse an art museum. Thse things enrich my life and I think of writing as very much an art form except what I do in journalism. No fiction and the format swe work in are constraining. I just want to break the product all the time. She is blown away by what the Center for Investigative Reporting has done.

Laura Lo Forte — Could it be a collaboration to translate what you are writing as a journalist into something artful. I create teams for myself. Creating teams for certain stories. I know what I can do and I can learn.

Jerry: The question is so we need each other. Why do we need this connection.

Michelle: I feel as an artist attempting to make an impact on a community, only the people that show up are going to fell it. If it has something of value to the community I believe journalism is an important way to do it. We have to reinvent existing communication vehicles to further the work. Live performance is ephemeral, it is live and then done and then it will never exist again in the same way. It is through that social archiving that performing artists are struggling with. How do we keep something alive that has a longer life. As somebody who does this all the time I’d really like to have some kind of continuity or collaboration that extends the life of a work.

Elaine: In my community outreach work people ask how can I sustain this. Rather than think about the arts reporter or journalist as the target or who you want to show up – think outside that characterization. It can be really helpful. As who among th ereporting staff has an interest in something might be more productive. So that not all the arts stories are being pitched just to the arts people.

Marissa Grass – She is a city planner, she sees a lot f groups that do talk backs. The one I participated in was we hosted the event. After we had folks who came to a panel and then from there they did committee work with block grant money. If someone leaves there groove to do something that is the best time to say to them you can partner in this way. There was an immediate way to use the information.

Bill: So would it be better if a collaboration had a specific outcome.

Melia: Helped run something at the Portland Playhouse. There was a performance involving both actors and community people. The audience was involved in the performance and at the end of the evening some of the money went to these poverty-fighting efforts in the city. What was built into that was a donation. Some of the admission was a donation toward poverty fighting. Then you got to vote on one of five strategies. Every night a different strategy might win. Everyone left with not just their program but had blurbs about every nonprofit or community organization. It was a really cool collaborative. I work at a volunteer center, three out of five people don’t’ come back and volunteer unless asked by somebody to do so. There wasn’t that ask. It would have been cool to see how that could be incorporated. It was a good model of taking people who might come inside a door because they like theater.

Mitch: Wondering how I get coverage from journalists.

Jerry: That’s the basic question, what actually excites journalists?

Bill: Focus not on getting the limited number of arts journalists to cover you thing. Instead, use social media and other methods to make such a splash for what you are doing that the mainstream journalists will be embarrassed not to cover it.

Michelle: You have to work at this. You want the high-level criticism and engagement of a scholarly journalist who understands what they are seeing and communicate it. It is a crucial relationship. And it still is the normative. Blogs are everywhere but it is crucial relationship building. NYT, newspapers, NPR covering the artist is still so important for furthering of the art form.

Jerry: Shifting – is there anyone who is a journalist from Portland know Bee Line (the bike blog). He has filmed the story. They collect food on the way back to the store to drop off at Good Harvest. That story is happening under the eyes of everyone. Franklin James started with two bikes and now they have 15. When the deliver the food, the trucks say thank God. This is such a cool story and Franklin is such a great guy and he says the bikes. http://www.thrivingcommunities.org near 2013, communities that form together, businesses that work together – six of them videos taken in Portland.

Bill: He doesn’t need publicity but publicizing what he does could cause it to be replicated elsewhere.

Jerry: All these stories that are really cool can be unbelievably simple and profound.

Celeste: She has worked at intersection of journalist and NGOs for years.

Melia: Important to make the personal connect, the facts follow.

Lee: What does the press add and how if you produce a great story like Jerry does. What does the press add to write about it?

Jerry: Because it invites the question, why would someone do this. It provokes deeper. We skim the top, so people get a sense of we can do this. Now there is some really good stuff that is beginning to happen. Why is it advancing. You need to know your market. It is a great almost human-interest story.

Dan: Having previously done comics and animation, people say the medium is not sufficient. NO, my intention is that it embellish a feature piece. Journalists need to see how their story can be served in different ways and to different audiences, to make archives work with older pieces, bring them to life more.

You can have isolated journalism here and this community ervice organization there, but how can you make those connect to each other.

Dan: At the procedural level, thinks like this conference work. People are separate without the bandwidth. The role is so unappreciated role – the person, the strategic head who can marry the talent with the audience and the story.

Celest: It takes a few years go find those people in the nonprofit space.

Mitchel: It’s a great conversation but it seems grounded in an ideal context. Everyone wants increased awareness and visibility, I’m sure there is a much deeper conflict and so many other factors journalists are dealing with then going out and seeking that personal and unique story within the story that captivates an audience.

Lee: In an idea scenario, I’m looking for a story to bring to a conversation that gives people more information. My role is to help people function in a democracy, anything that comes outside of that often there is an expectation that comes my way that I’m there to tell their story and if I’m not telling their story I’ not doing my job. And I see myself less as the megaphone and more as observing and trying to bring the pieces that people in the community need to make democracy function. When I think of art, print journalism is confining. I want a way to ground up story production with people with different skill sets – audio, video, print, coloring book. I like the idea of trying.

Jerry: I have no idea what goes through journalists minds. What goes through your mind in terms of stories that are essential to put together that are local.

Elaine: There are a lot of times when in my past role I’ve wanted to really cover something and do it in person engagement form, like a life event and got shut down and told you can’t do that. There are reporters and editors interested in doing a piece on an arts organization and they get a no from the powers that be. And it is kind of done at that point.

Mitch: I’ve seen the other side of the coin by my parents being in journalism. I have so many friends in organizations who get increasingly frustrated when they are not covered but don’t here that perspectige. By not being covered this mis-understanding is snowballing.

Bill: Mitch tell your friends to collaboration a WordPress blog which covers all this stuff journalistically and sooner or later the Mercury and Willamette Week and the Oregonian will cover some of it.

Elaine: Ask is it timely, newsworthy. Or maybe pick something not dependent on a particularly date or event.

Celeste: A real challenge doing a story about Camp TentTrees. An LGBT camp. She realized somebody from the camp at to be doing the story.

Laura: I can share stories in a journalistic sense. But the stories produced by survivers are shared in the field by social workers. Deals with children in the foster-are system.