The Journalism that Matters Greenhouse – Taking it to Scale

From Peggy Holman and Stephen Silha

With a good home, Journalism that Matters could be an ideal platform for demonstration projects in the new news ecology.  It could support:

  • Greenhousing
    • Nourish the seeds of projects identified through Journalism that Matters gatherings, connecting project participants with each other so that ideas are shared and tested in multiple environments
    • Provide the support for participants to stay connected with each other, share ideas, questions, and continue to learn from each other

  • Learning for the new ecology
    • Nourishing the inner life of the journalist (and why it matters)
    • Storytelling that engages (or hard news through an appreciative lens)
    • Convening community conversations (process training for journalists in coming to public judgment in a modern age)
    • Preparing the Next Generation (for journalists old and new, professional and citizen – traditional values meet high technology)
  • Research
    • Engage journalism schools with the greenhouse to understand what is working and share what is uncovered
  • Continued Conferences
    • Continue bringing together the system of journalism to renew, revitalize, re-inspire and create momentum for action

A first next step

With two successful demonstration gatherings, it is time to take the Journalism that Matters conference model to hundreds at a time.  Imagine 300-500 print, broadcast and new media journalists, together with educators, funders, students, and interested community coming together around topics that matter to them.

With co-sponsorship from organizations that span the media spectrum, it can reach many journalists at once.

From Chris:

… what is needed is a framework for helping journalists get ready for change in the industry and either commit to being part of the change or getting out of the industry. Newspapers are like factories; they are a big, complicated business. Introducing change is hard and really disruptive to people who are used to years of doing things the same old way.

What we are going to do is create an informal network of journalists who say: “I want to be part of the change, and carry forth the idea that journalism is central to democracy.” We would challenge each participant to find one more person in their newsroom who will commit to a path of embracing change rather than resisting it. Then those two people, or three, or four, will come up with a little experiment they can do themselves, with little effort on the part of management. A different way of doing things. Think about it as a movement, not as an organization – with cells all around the country. Then come together at a “Journalism that Matters Greenhouse” once a year to share knowledge about many little experiments.

Some tasks to prepare:

  • Already in planning is a Journalism that Matters session at the Media Giraffe Project conference
  • Test the idea with October, 2005 and April, 2006 Journalism that Matters attendees
  • Given the green light, find sponsoring organizations from across the media spectrum through the October and April participants
  • Write one or more articles on the “New News Ecology” for journalism publications to build momentum, ideally by a mix of print, broadcast and new media participants
  • Present these ideas at journalism conferences (e.g., Media that Matters, APME, RTNDA, ASNE, OMA, NAB, NAA)
  • Find a home for the project
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