Creating a Handbook for Media Transformation

May 1, 2006

Journalism That Matters
The Next Newsroom – April 19-22, 2006

Session: Creating a Handbook of Adaptive Change for use by traditional media organizations.

Convener: Jim Shaffer

Initial attendees: Peggy Holman, Scott Hall, Mike Skoler, Mathlo Kgosi, Chris Peck


Jim S: DUH! I’ve been thinking. I’ve worked in this industry for decades. I teach adaptive change. Peggy has written The Change Handbook. Maybe I should seek Peggy’s collaboration and develop something tailored to the media industry.

Chris: Read Keith Gilbert, of Harvard: Disruptive Innovation. Also, Christianson: The Innovator’s Dilemma. A key finding will be 9 times out of 10 the industry can’t change. But, no harm in focusing on what one person can do, such as finding allies, keeping the inner journalist healthy, …

Peggy: We would need to apply an integral approach … work all four quadrants. Greenhousing would be lower right.

Chris: Maybe small pods or seeds that could grow in multiple places.

Scott: The big bureaucracies want to crush innovation. An example would be the public school system versus charter schools.

Mike: Perhaps pursue this on 3-4 levels. Perhaps as a series of articles.
1. Inner journalist
2. Management & leadership
3. Experiments, such as greenhousing
4. Financial models, working examples

Matlho: For me, it would need to start with a new news culture at home. I’ve seen so many people lose their passion…

Chris: Yes. Need to nurture passion. Do it one person at a time. Start by recruiting ONE person. Bring him/her along and encourage that person to recruit one more. I’m not sure about the revenue/economic piece. Early focus on that becomes immediately overwhelming, intimidating. It focuses people on how to get more money from existing advertisers.

Mike: I hear you, but I feel a deep pit in the stomach of most journalists.
Peggy: This ties to Jane Ellen Stephens’ work at UC Berkley. MySpace may be an inspiration. People need to connect to face the New World, perhaps sharing a little fear and a little inspiration. That’s the frame.

Mike: We need to connect with Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, who are moving their project to the University of Missouri.

Jim: So how do we connect with the inner financial executive?

Peggy: Consider the four quadrants as four doors. Which door? What purpose?

Chris: Start with the purpose of preserving and strengthening journalism that matters.

Peggy: It really gelled for me – How to bring appreciative inquiry into hard journalism.

Scott: Here’s an example: Land use planning, zoning … BORING … need to frame in terms of why listeners should care.

Peggy: Another example: The shooting at the LA Jewish community center. The LA Times reporter really took an awful story and put an appreciative lens on it … made the coverage into a cause for community engagement … We need to anticipate the conversation we want the public to have, and then have this first inside the newsroom. Example: Martin’s story of the black & white reporters covering the same story and ending in conflict. Same dialogue that occurs on the street.

Chris: Perhaps we need to employ a Trojan Horse to get into the newsroom … the analogy might be one terrorist with one bomb causing tremendous disruption.

Jim: Returning to Matlho’s idea, she should be award of Fetzer’s objectives … love and forgiveness … might be some funding for her around work with the inner journalist.

Scott: What do we mean by “inner journalist?”

Mathlo: Why we went into this line of work. What passions? What enables you/us to survive? What is responsibility to industry, society?

Mike S: What would this look like?

Group: Perhaps a core training team that creates a test program.
Greenhousing, incubating
Reconnecting purpose with passion … engaging with audience
Marrying new technologies with traditional values
Creating structures for ongoing support

Jim: If structure includes a book, maybe: The Handbook for Media Transformation – An Integral Approach.

Mike: Include case studies! Bill Densmore has a data base.

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