Pre-Conference Conversations

From the message sent to participants:

This email invites you into a “catalytic conversation” with another participant, engaging the themes underlying the event. Our experience with numerous Journalism That Matters events is that, over-and-over, this chance to “pre-convene” with another participant fosters whole new threads of conversation and change. This pre-conference conversation is a great way to get into gear before the event starts, stimulating ideas and guiding our work during the sessions — and meet someone new!


The purpose of the conversation is threefold:

1) To arrive having established a new relationship;

2) To begin to grasp both diverse and common perspectives; and

3) To orient yourself to the meeting’s themes using an activity fundamental to journalism: storytelling.


The questions below have proven useful breaking new and fertile ground. But feel free to ask other questions as you wish! We suggest one person act as interviewer for all of the questions, then swap roles.

1.    Tell me about your work and how it led to saying “yes” to this confab.  What outcomes would you like for yourself and your organization/work from these sessions?

2.    It’s clear the relationship between journalists and the public is changing.  Tell me about an experience you’ve had in which this new reality made a positive difference in a story that mattered. What did the experience teach you about the values and roles of the changing relationship between journalists and the public?

3. What is essential to the relationship between journalism and the public. for getting information and opinion for good civic choices?  For inspiring involvement?  What forms do you value?  How does all this contribute to healthy communities?

4. Without being humble, what do you value most about yourself? What do you see yourself bringing to this confab?  What questions do you hope to answer?

5.    The year is 2015 and the Pacific Northwest has a vibrant media landscape.  What does the relationship between journalists and the public look like?  What is it bringing to communities and democracy that matters most?  How does the new communications environment function: who does what? What is now possible as a result?  What steps did we take at this confab and immediately thereafter to bring this about?

Here are people’s reflections on the conversations: