About the Event

On April 19-22, 2006, twenty-two people passionate about journalism – professionals from print, broadcast, new media, both mainstream and independent, citizens, educators, a funder and a student – convened in St. Louis to consider “What is the next newsroom and how do we create it?”

Filled with rich, multi-textured, and creative conversations, personal shifts from despair to hope occurred for many participants. Sufficient clarity emerged to describe not the “next newsroom”, but rather, a new “news ecology”.  This articulation holds the promise of providing inspiration and direction for an industry in crisis.  Also significant, given that a key intention of this meeting was to produce fundable proposals, a remarkable 11 of the 16 final-day participants identified projects they intend to pursue, including efforts in West Oakland, CA and Atwater, MN along with several ideas intended to accelerate the growth of this new eco-system of journalism, such as a handbook for media transformation and a program for creating change in newsrooms.  While we are under no illusion that all of these projects will come to fruition, given the roles and commitment of the participants, we expect many will find traction and funding.

By metaphorically removing the newsroom walls and taking the journalist out of the cube, the qualities of the new news ecology that surfaced include:

Journalism as…
Lecture Conversation
low tolerance for experimentation (like peanut butter in the fridge; it doesn’t move) Community of innovation
central authority Community connector
knowledge-centric Relationship-centric
one-to-many many-to-many
profit-driven mission-driven
Journalist as…
Outsider Community member
lone wolf collaborative partner
arbiter of truth sense-maker
focused on the external world focused on their inner life and the external world
Expert coordinator, facilitator, convener, evaluator, refiner
Professional, dispassionate professional and citizen, passion in the mix
content creator content creator and guide
Content that…
Arouses inspires engagement
publisher owns and creates public owns and creates
answers who, what when, where, why and how contextualizes purpose – why the audience should care – and answers who, what when, where, why and how
pours around the ads serves a greater good
follows the inverted pyramid edited for readability, not style
Stories sourced…
from within the news organization from many people and places
are deadline driven are continually unfolding
Dissemination of stories…
media specific multi-purpose (e.g., print, broadcast, web, podcast, cell phone, etc.)
ad supported multiple sources of support
high cost of production and distribution low-cost distribution
most of the cost is not journalism costs mostly journalism related

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