How do we support fact-based independent journalism so that it best fulfills its promise on behalf of all communities and democracy?

The changing media landscape has created some complex issues for freelancers and independent journalism organizations. As people involved in the issue, you are aware of the many challenges. At its heart, we ask how can we broaden financial and other support so that more independent media organizations and journalists can not only survive but collectively grow into a vibrant, powerful media sector in its own right?

We have a three-day opportunity to join together to take a creative approach to this ongoing question that has, up till now, left its stakeholders working in silos, pursuing disparate paths that don’t scale – and that have in many ways replicated some of the problems of legacy media. We do that by:

  • Inviting a group that goes beyond the usual suspects
  • Providing a true retreat setting to foster more reflective thinking
  • Designing a meeting that creates the opportunity to hear various perspectives on conversations already in progress
  • Building on the sense of urgency those existing conversations create as an incentive to co-create a “roadmap” of how to move forward – whether as one or several complementary efforts

Together, we can catalyze breakthrough progress for ensuring strong and resilient independent journalism.

As you already know from a conversation with one of the hosts, you are part of a by-invitation group coming together for a design meeting of about 25 journalists and thinkers from throughout the news and information ecosystem. Participants include freelancers, people from news organizations and associations, as well as funders, academics and others who have been thinking about and working on behalf of independent media. We have reached out to people of different ages and backgrounds who are willing to work together to envision a path towards a future in which independent journalism thrives.

We’ll explore many aspects of this need on the afternoon of Thursday, May 14 through lunchtime on Saturday, May 16 at the Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, 20 miles north of New York City in Tarrytown.

The outcome

We’ll draft a “roadmap” — strategies for fostering, protecting and supporting independent media and its impact — as a product of the meeting.

A working session

We have reached out to you for your expertise. We are not asking you to sit on panels or give lectures.  Instead, we will meet each other, explore our different perspectives, and discern what’s possible to do.

Thursday will be a chance to meet each other and identify perspectives, assumptions, and possibilities that we bring to the session.

On Friday, we’ll set the agenda in real time using Open Space Technology, a process in which participants self-organize based on their passions, skills, and interests (see JTM video). We chose this practice because of its effectiveness in enabling innovative and broadly embraced ideas to arise out of complex, even conflicted situations.

Saturday will focus on creating a roadmap from what emerged along with plans of who to involve and what actions to take.

A working draft of the agenda and our invitation list are available on request.

Your Hosts

Journalism That Matters (JTM) co-founders Stephen Silha and Peggy Holman are your hosts, with advice and counsel from:

  • Bill Buzenberg, Shorenstein Fellow
  • Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, Executive Director, The Media Consortium
  • Linda Jue, Executive Director & Editor, G. W. Williams Center for Independent Journalism
  • Sally Lehrman, Senior Fellow on Journalism Ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University
  • Iván Román, Communications Consultant, former executive director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists
  • Ricardo Sandoval Palos, Supervising Editor, NPR’s Morning Edition and President, Fund for Investigative Journalism


Space is limited so please confirm you are coming by April 15.

Through a grant from the Mott Foundation and some support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, your costs at Pocantico are covered. If you need some financial support for travel or a hotel room on May 13th, contact Peggy Holman at

Getting to Pocantico

The center is located approximately one hour north of Manhattan.

The closest airports to the Pocantico Center are:

  • Westchester/White Plains Airport (20 min. driving distance to Pocantico)
  • La Guardia, (about 40 min. driving distance to Pocantico)
  • John F Kennedy (JFK), (1+ hour drive time to Pocantico)
  • Newark, (1+ hour drive time to Pocantico)

By train

From Grand Central Station in New York City (42nd Street at Madison Avenue), take the Metro-North train to Tarrytown, which is on the Hudson Line.  Trains run quite frequently: on weekdays, approximately every half hour.  Taxis are available at the train station.

Heads up for West Coasters

If you’re traveling from the west, you’ll likely need to arrive on May 13th. Unfortunately, Pocantico does not have room for us that night. They have recommended the following hotels:


La Quinta Inn & Suites White Plains – Elmsford

540 Saw Mill River Rd
Elmsford, NY 10523

DoubleTree Hotel

455 S Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591
(914) 631-5700

Sheraton Tarrytown Hotel

600 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown, NY 10591
(914) 332-7900


Want to know more?

Please email Peggy Holman at peggy(at) or Stephen Silha at  ssilha(at)


With appreciation for your work —

Bill Buzenberg
Shorenstein Fellow

Stephen Silha
Co-founder and secretary
Journalism That Matters

Peggy Holman
Executive Director & Co-founder
Journalism That Matters

Linda Jue
Executive Director & Editor
G.W. Williams Center for Independent Journalism