How might we build a digital platform that supports our communities of practice?

Attendees: Andrew, Rachel, Sean, Joy, Ben, Sheetal, Steph, Burgess, Jo Ellen

» Andrew – Framing:

I built a website Interactive Narratives to record all the data and stories I had gathered and kept losing w/upgrades over time. This was pre-Delicious. Let’s rebuild with ONA funding, to allow anyone to contribute to this ecosystem. Once I opened it up for the public to participate, the quality went down — self-promotion. People doing real work didn’t have time to contribute to it. It wasn’t just inspirational work that was needed, but it was about what are the components that you need.

People really wanted the how-to’s in creating multimedia work. There were many silos of people doing this work in newsrooms, and people needed to learn from each other. When I left the NYT the ended up disbanding the multimedia group – I integrated digital storytelling into the whole newsroom. I think that is what is happening now with engagement. So we need to master the craft and also learn the tools with the aspiration that we may one day no longer be needed.

How can we develop a field guide that is extremely participatory, useful, connects individuals:

  • Avoid guiding principles today

What are we trying to get done in our work:

  • what are our gains
  • what are our pains
  • functional, social, and emotional intent

» Joy: participatory journalism,
» Ben: journalism, Agora center and freelance
» Steph: startup and non-profit
» Shirley: Journalism student, focused in multi-media
» Sean: professional photography, what does it look like when people come together
» Andrew H:technologist, groundsource, public insight network . “What does mastery mean in this space” – identifying skills and scaffolding necessary to build mastery. My craft is building a technology platform, building “listening posts” in cities — trying to map the community, who do you partner with, how do you build trust, how do you map out the voice and not be anthropologists observing from a distance– how do you reflect back to communities in a way that feels organic. A lot of partnership building, and asking what questions does this community want to answer?

Mapping demand from journalists.
As we build the technology part of it is to cluster around the community needs so that we can contextualize journalism.

» Joy: My task is to be relevant and useful. It may be live-blogging, or showing up just to listen. It depends on the goals

Making the purpose behind something clear: identifying the strategy and goals is important (FUNCTIONALITY NOTE)
The field guide: should be useful to you no matter where you are coming from?

» Peggy: DE – Options by context — here are the conditions I am facing,
» Andrew: Connecting to Marla’s idea this morning –
» Joy: People can vote, sort, and creators of the guide can identify levels.
» Sean: The type of content you decide to put on is important. The community should be inspired by seeing what others are doing – if they can do it, why can’t i? — this is based on his work w/photography and video. Having real-life inspirational pieces included in the FG (CONTENT)
» Shirley: How do I appeal to multiple audiences? Who am I shooting this for? How can I reach out beyond the obvious audience? I have to think it out and

Who is the target audience for the FG?
should it be strictly journalists? civic engagement practitioners? only community engagement

» Ben: 2 levels – news institutions versus individual journalists — how to integrate into newsroom org strategy as well as make it useful for a freelancer
» Joy: I think its broader — non-profit/brands/documentary film makers. I think we can use journalism language but acknowledging that this has wider use and inviting wider use
» Jo Ellen: I think that some non-profit jobs and brands do better job at engaging that j’s do so we have a learn from here.

(RESOURCES Q): don’t know how much funding there is to support it but it’d be great to use case studies on what are brands and ads doing with this work and understanding the differences — people with dollars behind it what can we learn from there?

» Joy: Engagement w/in journalism levels up different.

What keeps you from doing what you want to do:

  • Undesired cost values, negative emotions,

» Andrew H: Negativity and ambiguity about what this is — in newsrooms its considered ancillary. The lack of valuing the expertise required to do this work makes it hard to feel like the work is valuable. I think mapping etc. isn’t hard, you just have to do it. But then finding the space w/in your work or a newsroom to prioritize this work. Now can you make sure you distribute this? I’ve been doing this kind of stuff for 12 years — people get worried about me coming in the room and asking them to do the thing that isn’t news.
» Andrew D: Diversity of perspectives accounted for in the engagement work. ESpecially from a resource perspective. Budget lines don’t account for inviting others into the conversation. Prioritization and lack of information
» Joy: Pain point of organizational culture. We feel overqualified for the job for engagement work, and they were called upon as 22 year olds to teach engagement to the newsroom. How do you talk to an editor 20 years older and tell them you need to engage in the following ways.
» Steph: Developing a shared understanding and investing a time up front to create that common language
» Peggy: It’s a lonely job when you’re doing it — are there enough out there to connect and learn from?
» Jo Ellen: I was talking to ProPublica — they start w/engagement and initiate stories and they start crowdsourcing and then get the story. They just got $2 million dollars to do this work and he’s adding a team. Most other folks I know barely have 1 person on staff. You can’t crowdfund for the engagement person — they will pay for the story not for the infrastructure around the story. (RESOURCES ). Many engagement folks become the editor.
» Andrew: You are becoming a master in audience acquisition
» Joy: When you have to explain ROI — where are we putting our resources and who in the newsroom is dedicated to growth and reach.
» Peggy: Is there room for an engagement bureau?
» Joy: Coaching may be useful instead — talk to me about some strategies, engagement strategist on demand
» Joy: Time. When do I have time — how do i jump in a comment thread? I can’t write a fb post — I need to do the work.
» Elaine: “This is not my job.” Lot of resistance to reporters who were putting together audio stories and putting together something different on the web. Resistance to doing more than a transcript. That’s not what I signed up, trained for, etc. They aren’t giving me money to do additional stuff.
» Jo Ellen: Business Model shift — lots of folks on subscription models. We are now engaging communities that is moving to a membership model. We moved from transactional to interactional relationship.
» Andrew: Kramer looked at new models in Public Media. Why is there a distinction between the different models. There seems to be convergence and lessons for all.


» Andrew: the positive aspects and benefits about what we love to do; outcomes and benefits that are expected, desired, and can be surprised by— social gains, positive emotions, cost saving
» Steph: We work on convening community to see how tech can be used for social change. Our communities onlnie are forums, and you have IT directors that are alone in their orgs to get people to invest in technology. So they have a place to talk to others in those silos and can share best practices. We have 1 annual in-person conference.

Is it about connecting people or a repository. Social network begets the resources and vice versa. Social first and then resource.

The vehicle is connection/social networking. The desire to help others.

» Joy: W/in journalism community engagers are more willing to share.
» Joy: My job is to be relevant and useful — showing here is what I did, but also showing why and how its useful. See the IMPACT AND EVALUATION. Creating a feedback loop where we can hear from communities and ourselves about that.
» Ben: Can we show meso-level impact? We often s
» Jo Ellen: THE MEDIA CONSORTIUM. Are there sentiment changes on twitter as a result — we have a theory that collab amongst niche orgs will increase impact. We have a variety of topics that we are covering. So we’ve been doing up 40 instances that are randomized and then seeing how the sentiment is changing.
Stories, hashtags, and URL’s and websites. The sentiment is then evaluated. Next step will be to develop a tool if we see positive changes.
» Andrew: We see increased trust and loyalty in the community. Developing that through conversation and engagement. It was what beat reporters did. JTM working with Tribune on Voices that Matter project that uncovers story they may not have otherwise heard and also building trust.
» Jo Ellen: Developing a process of engagement — help white staff/white audience to reach out to community of color. Breakdown some of the rigid ruts in newroom culture. We change how we talk to those groups we increase our reach to more diverse audiences.

Value Proposition Canvas — Business Model Framework
— this is the discovery process
— how do we then build a product that addresses the P, G, and Jobs — who are our customers, audience, (this product is for us), and help identify the pains and gains of that customer base.

Andrew –
Practical Question: we don’t want to build anything from scratch
Is there an existing platform that already does this? is it flexible enough to address and customize our needs?
We have some support from Knight Foundation but need more

Does this already exist in our community?

  • EcoTrust president left to start her own company: Resiliency Exchange — look at non-profits and global efforts. Solutions github orientation. Supported by Rockefeller.
  • Can the tool be something that we can then flip and add to our own websites?
  • Loomio is a deliberative platform to consider.
This entry was posted in post and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.