How can we reshape journalism so that it engages and serves all people & communities?


What: An innovative think‐and‐do session on the future of journalism in service to underserved communities and communities of color.

When: June 3‐6, 2010

Where: Wayne State University, St. Andrews Hall, 5105 Anthony Wayne Drive, Detroit, Michigan 48201

Who: Journalism That Matters collaborative, in partnership with Reynolds Journalism Institute. Planning committee includes Andrew Humphrey, meteorologist, reporter and producer at WDIV‐TV Detroit; Michelle Ferrier, Elon University professor; Linda Jue, director of the G.W. Williams Center for Independent Journalism and others.

Why: Both journalism and communities are in need of re‐invention so that communication systems foster and serve healthy community and storytellers are adequately compensated for their service

How: Journalism That Matters gatherings produce experiments and results using such convening techniques as Open Space Technology, Appreciative Inquiry, and World Café. Attendees set the agenda based on what they have passion for.

What’s possible now: Revitalization of underserved communities and of journalism itself.

Create or Die: Forging communities that initiate, incubate and innovate

This focused, three-day gathering of results-driven, action-oriented participants will discover, assess, shape and create forward-looking enterprises focused on key elements of community — diversity, shared values, respect, participation and developing youth.

Grants from Time Inc., the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Google Inc., and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute will permit Journalism That Matters to award a total of up to $4,000 in research stipends to up to four entrepreneurs to develop their projects.

JTM especially invites persons of color — journalists, entrepreneurs, programmers, technologists, bloggers, videographers, venture capitalists, artists, funders, educators and all who have an interest — to explore how voices often unheard or misrepresented can reshape the future of journalism.

For nearly 50 years, American journalism was financed by an historically unprecedented consumer-driven economy. This put pressure on editors, producers and reporters to focus on mainstream audiences attractive to advertisers. Cable television, and now the Internet, have made it economically feasible to profitably market to niche communities. For the first time, poor, ethnic and disadvantaged communities and under-represent constituencies of all economic strata are no longer too marginal to serve. Diverse constituencies must seize the opportunity to innovate with technology and services, legacy media must learn to include these new, niche audiences. Both creators and consumers die — figuratively, they lose influence or visibility — unless they understand the need to diversify.

Learn about Detroit’s changing economy as a metaphor for the journalism change and opportunity.

The evolving relationship between news and technology provide a great opportunity for innovation. We’ll open by connecting journalists and technologists through identifying essential elements of journalism. Then journalists and technologists together conceive projects and form design/development teams to conceive or deploy the best tools to put those values and elements into practice.


  • New and unexpected cross-sector collaborations
  • Broadening a community of practice among people who care about journalism innovation
  • Nurture and develop journalism entrepreneurship especially for underserved communities and people of color
  • Learn from stories of successful projects
  • Discover and engage financial/funding sources to seed new projects

Why Detroit?

Nowhere are economic and media changes in America more stark than in Michigan and Detroit. Time Inc. has placed a year-long emphasis on studying how Michigan will reinvent the American dream. Newspapers in Detroit and Ann Arbor are no longer home-delivered daily. With change comes opportunity, and the changes in America’s industrial heartland are an object lesson for change now reaching media and journalism. Create or die, community and diversity are the messages of Detroit.

Download News Release (two pages-PDF)

Thank you to our sponsors:

Wayne State University, its Institute for Media Diversity, the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, NABJ’s Digital Journalism Task Force, Detroit Chapter-NABJ, the Asian American Journalists Association, Elon University, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the G.W. Williams Center for Independent Journalism, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Center for Future Civic Media at MIT, Google Inc., the U.S. Census Bureau, the Media Giraffe Project at UMass Amherst, and other organizations are among sponsors.


Wayne State University 5105 Anthony Wayne Dr. St. Andrew’s Hall Detroit, MI 48201 Phone: 617-448-6600 Fax: 413-803-0127 See map: Google Maps