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This is a weekly newsletter for Gather, a project + platform to support community-minded journalists and other engagement professionals. We’d love your feedback. What's useful about this newsletter? What's missing? Let us know

In this week's newsletter:

  • LOCAL EVENTS: Want to be responsive to communities? Start with showing up.

  • CASE STUDY: Read how strong community relationships and a national study led to a year-long reporting project in Peoria, IL.

  • JOB ALERT: The Solutions Journalism Network is hiring an Online Engagement Editor.

  • HOT READ: NBC's top-down directive to not call Steve King's racist remarks racist.

  • INTROS: Meet Tauhid Chappell, Engagement Editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Using events to learn about our communities

One reason Gather exists is to help journalists be more responsive to what their communities need. (It’s right there in our mission statement.)

That’s a primary goal of Your Voice Ohio as well. YVO is a media collaborative and a project of the Jefferson Center, and its staff brings Ohio journalists together to figure out how to be of better service through quality journalism and engagement.

There’s been a lot of conversation on Gather lately about hosting in-person events. Those of us considering stepping into the event space have so many questions about things like what events are good for (and what they’re not good for), what journalists and community members get out of them and whether they’re worth the effort.

Well, it sure is a good thing that Katherine Sims from the Jefferson Center took time to write about what the YVO folks learned hosting more than two dozen community dialogue events in 2018. Please go read her post.

One key takeaway is that journalists benefit from spending time talking to and listening to non-journalists. I feel silly typing that because it’s so obvious. BUT SERIOUSLY, how much time does the average journalist spend learning what people want to know? And how often does the average community member have the opportunity to bend the ear of a journalist?

My favorite bit of the post:

“Overall, we saw journalists walk away from each event with a clearer understanding of the challenges faced by their community and a new orientation toward reporting on those issues in service of community members. We also saw community members come away with a clearer understanding of the challenges faced by journalists and an appreciation for the work of journalism.”

One practical example: A reporter covering the opioid epidemic said she was reminded by a reader to explain what an opioid is. “We forget sometimes that when we’ve covered something for so long that some people are new to the story and don’t know what we’re talking about,” said Dayton Daily News Reporter Katie Wedell.

Perhaps we can all resolve to lead the charge on this in our own newsrooms. Whether it’s throwing a full scale event, hosting coffee shop hours or just inviting people to the newsroom, find a way to facilitate real conversations between journalists and the people they aim to serve.

Katherine’s post also has lessons about collaborating with other journalists and focusing on solutions. Let me repeat: It’s worth a read.

Related resources:

Joy Mayer, Gather Community Manager

How City of Disparity Addressed the Problems Affecting Peoria

By Payton Bruni

In 2015 the business website 24/7 Wall St. released a report that ranked Peoria, Illinois, as one of the 10 worst cities to live in for African Americans in the United States. Following the report, the Journal Star newsroom of Peoria launched City of Disparity, a year-long reporting project that examined the city’s disparities in education, income, employment, housing, entrepreneurship opportunities, and health care.

Read the case study on Gather.

You can now publicly share the 97 case studies and featured projects on Gather with friends and colleagues. Take a look through, and then recommend projects you’d like to see us dig into.

Lightning Chats

Discuss a shared challenge, brainstorm ideas for a project, or learn more about a case study at Gather's lightning chats. You can also subscribe to a lightning chat calendar on Google calendar or on iCal.

We’ll announce our first lightning chats of 2019 soon. Thanks to those of you who have weighed in with ideas. Anyone’s welcome to join in the brainstorm on Slack.

Jobs, Fellowships, and Funding

Check out our full list of jobs, fellowships, and funding opportunities on Gather, and let us know what we're missing.
  • Online Engagement Editor, Solutions Journalism Network: "Demand is growing for tools, resources, and best practices around how to do solutions journalism in an international context. We’re looking for an entrepreneur to work with SJN’s Journalist Practice Change (JPC) team to seize on that demand, creating services and curating a networked community that extend our reach and impact dramatically. SJN’s Online Engagement Manager will learn what our community is talking about, what resources they’re looking for, and how we can better serve, celebrate, and connect them with each other." Deadline: January 24, 2019. Learn more.

Community Updates

If you haven't joined the Gather Slack community, you're missing out on a lot of brainstorming, advice giving and collaboration. Join here.
  • How has Gather been valuable to your work? We asked some active members that question recently and got some great responses. You can find some on our landing page at and we’ll feature some here as well.
    • My favorite thing about Gather is the Slack workspace; in a field where many of us don't have peers doing the same work in our own newsrooms, Gather provides a place to connect with colleagues and inspire each other.” — Gina Cole, The Seattle Times
  • Paywall conversations: Trista Thurston asked her Gather colleagues on Slack about paywalls (hard/soft/metered) and the ways readers get around them. Join the conversation.
  • A Gather MVP: Let’s take a minute to thank Alex Veeneman for being such an active contributor to the Gather Slack. (Dare we say he’s engaged, or is that too cheeky? Whoops too late!) Alex helps keep the #reads and #jobsandfunding channels active and interesting, and we sure appreciate it. A note to the group: You don’t need to ask permission to post on Slack. If you have something you want to chat about, bring attention to, ask for help with, etc., go for it!
  • Hot Read: "NBC News Tells Staffers Not To Directly Call Steve King’s Racist Remarks Racist" by Yashar Ali at the Huffington Post. (This is the Gather community's most-shared story on Twitter this week. Look for other 'hot reads' in Friday's Nuzzel newsletter and in the #reads channel on the Gather Slack.)

Meet Tauhid Chappell, this week's Featured Member.

Name: Tauhid Chappell

What you do: I’m an engagement editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Why you’re on Gather: This is a great community to learn how other journalists are trying to go beyond metrics and have more fruitful and productive interactions with their readers.

One thing you want to learn on Gather: How to effectively host journalism-related events.

One thing you have to share on Gather: Please, if you’re in a hiring position, hire a journalist of color. Here’s a list, we’re not hard to find and there should be no excuses to add more representation to your newsroom!

One thing about your work that gets you especially pumped up: Getting to read all the fun stories that our journalists write!

Would you rather be at the beach or the mountains? Beach. I shine in warm climates.

Links for ways to connect with you.
Twitter: @tauhidchappell
Instagram: @tauhidchappell
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