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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:

  • ENGAGING ELECTION COVERAGE: How do you best serve and inform your community when elections roll around?

  • CASE STUDY: Revisit how Flux Magazine used community dialogue to shape an award-winning issue.

  • JOB ALERT: The Seattle Times is looking for a digital-savvy, engagement-minded News Producer. Know anyone?

  • HOT READ: Read danah boyd's look at how media manipulation interacts with (and can be counteracted by) responsible journalism.

  • INTROS: Meet Amy Wilson-Chapman, the community engagement editor for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Election coverage that meets audience’s needs


What does our community really need from its journalists? That’s a question engagement folks ask all the time, and it’s especially relevant when democracy is at stake.

It’s election season, and journalists tend to have well-rehearsed routines when it comes to election coverage. Candidate profiles. Forums. Voter guides. Etc.

But do you tell your community how much postage needs to go on their mail-in ballot? Or whether they can still send it in after their preschooler drew on it?

Those are real questions that Ashley Alvarado’s newsroom at Southern California Public Radio got through its Human Voter Guide project. And questions = information needs, right? Julia Haslanger of Hearken said newsrooms she works with also are sometimes surprised to hear that voters want to be educated on the logistics of how to vote (as opposed to which way to vote).

Ashley and Julia (both members of Gather’s steering committee) hosted a lightning chat this week. In it, they shared some of what they presented in their ONA session on election coverage.

Another tip shared: Voters need some basic literacy on how government works. New Hampshire Public Radio created a podcast called Civics 101, in which they take on things you might have learned in school but perhaps slept through. Julia said it’s a great example of a small station finding a national audience.  From their website: “Why does the U.S. have an Electoral College? How do congressional investigations work? What does the minority whip actually do? Civics 101 is the podcast refresher course on the basics of how our democracy works.”

Read more highlights from the chat, and watch the 30-minute video, on Gather.

Joy Mayer, Gather community manager

Case Study: How Flux Magazine Used Community Dialogue to Shape its Award-Winning 2016 Issue


Editor's Note: Feeling a little déjà vu? Don't worry, it's not just you; we periodically re-feature some of our best content so newer members don't miss out.

By Ben DeJarnette

In January 2016, the University of Oregon student magazine FLUX hosted a community conversation on race and identity, inviting participants to help shape the student magazine’s spring issue.

The event drew about 60 students, professors, public officials and other community members, and spurred a lively conversation about racial issues on the University of Oregon’s predominately white campus. FLUX's staff also hosted a release party in June to share and discuss their finished work.

Read the case study on Gather.

You need a Gather account to view this content. Request an invitation, or let us know if your invite hasn't arrived. You’ll find 90 case studies and featured projects on Gather. Take a look through, and then recommend projects you’d like to see us dig into.

We’re adding to our collection of case studies and featured projects on Gather, and we’ve made it easier for you to share your ideas with a new Google form. Feel free to tell us about your own work or work you admire or want to learn from. And thanks for your help!

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.

The top of today’s newsletter summarizes our Sept 18 chat on election coverage. What would you like to see addressed in a lightning chat? Is there a project you have questions about? An issue you want to brainstorm? Let us know on Slack, or reply to this email.

 

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. Here's what's new this week:
 
  • News Producer (Digital/Audience Engagement)Seattle Times: "The Seattle Times, the Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper, is excited to announce a recent opening for a News Producer in our award-winning newsroom. This vital role works at the intersection of digital engagement and journalism to promote our stories in innovative ways.

    As the News Producer, this individual will create, edit, and format content for our digital products with a core focus on audience engagement. The successful candidate will be a big-picture thinker who also pays attention to detail, has expertise in Facebook and other social media, is a strong communicator, loves problem-solving and exhibits nimbleness, diplomacy, productivity, news judgment, sensitivity and taste." Learn more. 
 

Community Update 


If you haven't joined the Gather Slack community, you're missing out on a lot of brainstorming, advice giving and collaboration. Join here
 

Meet Amy Wilson-Chapman, this week's Featured Member.


Name: Amy Wilson-Chapman  

What you do: I am the community engagement editor for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) - what a mouthful! ICIJ is a news organization based in Washington, DC, but we work with hundreds of media partners across the world to bring you investigations like Paradise Papers and Panama Papers. It makes my role pretty different!  

Why you’re on Gather: I’ve worked in engagement/social media/digital production for a few years, and even in a big newsroom, you can definitely feel like a lone wolf. So I’ve always jumped at any opportunity to share ideas and complaints and learn from other people. Before ICIJ I worked in Australia, where we, unfortunately, are a long way behind the US when it comes to engagement strategies (and digital media generally). Gather has been a great way to make connections with people who are working in some forward thinking newsrooms!

One thing you want to learn on Gather: I want to learn it all! I’m always keen to hear more about how people are using newsletters in their organization, but I am very excited by Instagram’s potential and so enjoy learning that too. I also think it’s interesting to hear about how other people in similar roles, work inside/with newsrooms and achieve great outcomes. I am also keen to learn more about the nonprofit media world. It’s quite different (and very similar at the same time) to the for-profit space!

One thing you have to share on Gather: Other than really bad Australian jokes, I’m always up for sharing anything I’ve learnt along the way. I’ve had a few wins with various platforms and I’m always happy to help!

One thing about your work that gets you especially pumped up: I get really excited when people reply to my weekly emails, and when we have a great conversation (generally on Reddit at ICIJ). But also… investigation time is hard to beat! I had a lot of fun in the lead up to Paradise Papers (published in November last year) going live. After working on something for so long, it’s great to finally see all the components come together. And then watch how the world reacts.

Who or what inspired you to get into this work? I was pretty young when I decided I wanted to tell other people’s stories (aka journalism) for a living. I think the media, and reporters, have a crucial role to play in a healthy democracy. And these days, I think it’s integral we (the media) work out how to engage an audience that really doesn’t trust us, and much of the time also doesn’t have time for us! People have forgotten (maybe they never knew, though) that the powerful need to be held to account, and the best way to do that is through the media.

Would you rather give up social media or coffee for a week? In Australia, social media, but in the US coffee sucks, so coffee!

Would you rather have more time or more money? More time. I’d just like to hang with my mates and family more.

Links for ways to connect with you.
Email - awilsonchapman@icij.org
Twitter - @amytheblue
Instagram - @amytheblue
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/amywilsonchapman/
 
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