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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:

  • MOD SQUAD: With growth comes an opportunity. Want to help?

  • SURVEY RECAP (Final report-back): How are you willing to contribute to Gather?

  • JOB ALERT: The Fresno Bee in California is looking for an Engagement Reporter dedicated to education.

  • HOT READ: When sheriffs release sick inmates so they don't have to pay their medical bills, from and ProPublica.

  • INTROS: Meet Brittany Schock, Engagement & Solutions Editor at Richland Source.

An opportunity: Help steer Gather’s conversations

The Gather Slack is growing, and with growth comes an opportunity for stewardship. Can you help?

In our 2019 Gather User Survey, you as a community revealed four ways that Gather can be especially useful: help us connect; help us keep learning; help us keep up; and help us understand the big picture.

With that in mind, we are looking for volunteers to be part of the Gather Mod Squad, the members of which will be deputized to serve as hosts of specific Slack channels. Are you interested in helping welcome new folks, answer questions, moderate discussions and make connections? 

It’s an experiment, and we plan to try it for four months and see how it goes. (We have seen moderation in action with Phillip Smith in the #paidacquisition channel, and the conversations there are inspirational and useful.) Your commitment on the Mod Squad would begin by the end of October and run through the end of January 2020.

The ask:

  • Check in on your channel daily when possible. Make sure posters know they’re heard. Answer questions. Tag people who might be interested. Share links. Flag topics that the Gather team could follow up on.
  • Start at least one conversation a week, based on what you think folks will be interested in. 
  • Help with outreach by considering who you know in the industry who would enjoy and could contribute to your channel, and inviting them in.
  • Be listed as a resource for the whole community, as part of the Gather team on Slack (through January 2020).
  • Join a monthly Mod Squad video chat to talk about your experience, problem-solve and celebrate what’s fun.

We’re accepting applications here until Friday, Oct. 11. Questions? Contact Joy Mayer on Slack or at

In addition, we welcome your input on how to make the Gather Slack space manageable and useful. Please join the conversation about that on Slack

— The Gather team (Andrew DeVigal, Joy Mayer and Alisha Savson)

Survey highlight: How are you willing to contribute to Gather?

This summer, we asked you to tell us about yourself, how you use Gather and how you’d like to see this community evolve. The Gather team and steering committee is discussing how best to respond to the themes from the responses. Each week for awhile, we’ve been sharing some highlights from what we learned. This is the last of those updates.

Q: Are there ways you'd like to contribute to Gather and its community? 

A: Most common responses:

  • Moderate conversations 
  • Be on a committee  
  • Help with outreach / recruitment / networking  
  • Host an IRL meetup 
  • Be a mentor

Lightning Chats

Lightning chats are 30-minute video chats in which we (and by that we mean anyone!) discuss a shared challenge, brainstorm ideas for a project, or learn more about a case study. Peruse our archive of chats (including video replays) on Gather. You can also subscribe to a lightning chat calendar on Google calendar or on iCal.
  • Thursday, Oct. 3, 2-2:30 pm ET // THE CITIZENS AGENDA FOR ELECTION COVERAGE: What if you based your election coverage on what your community has told you they actually want candidates to be talking about as they compete for votes? Join Brittany Schock of Richland Source, Bridget Thoreson of Hearken and Joy Mayer of Trusting News as they talk about what that process actually looks like and what they hope it achieves. (Read more about The Citizens Agenda here.) Join us on Zoom, and get more details in this calendar event.

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.

Engagement Reporter, The Fresno Bee: “The Fresno Bee is searching for an engagement reporter to join a team of four that will focus on improving educational outcomes for local students. As an Engagement Reporter, you will serve as a conduit between key stakeholders, parents, students, readers and our team of reporters. You’ll build new communications channels for important reporting, including a newsletter and in-person gatherings. You will be tied into which local efforts are working and will help us elevate them. You’ll understand what service providers challenges and opportunities are, and will make story suggestions to the reporting team.” Location: Fresno, CA

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.

Meet Brittany Schock, this week's Featured Member.

Name: Brittany Schock
What you do: Engagement & Solutions Editor at Richland Source 
Why you're on Gather: I was introduced to Gather last spring during a summit on listening and facilitating dialogue in news led by the American Press Institute. I was immediately intrigued by the idea of so many like-minded individuals on one platform. It's comforting to know that sense of community is always there when you need it. 
One thing you want to learn on Gather: The best strategy to keep up with all the Slack notifications! But more seriously, opportunities for collaboration with other local, independent publishers. (Anyone going to the LION Summit in Nashville?)
One thing you have to share on Gather: I have experience writing and leading solutions journalism projects, and plenty of knowledge to share if you or your newsroom is interested in pursuing a solutions way of life. I can honestly say when I discovered this kind of storytelling three years ago, it made me fall in love with journalism all over again.  
One thing about your work that gets you especially pumped up: Spending months planning a community engagement event can be tedious, grueling work. But finally watching it come together in real life is incredibly rewarding. Hearing feedback from the community about how valuable the event was is the cherry on top. 
Who or what inspired you to get into this work? Writing has always been a talent of mine as well as a passion. My uncle was a journalist, though he always tried to steer me away from the industry. In college I even started out as a design major before eventually switching to journalism. I couldn't deny the calling. 
Would you rather have more time or more money? A wise man once said, "No amount of money ever bought a second of time." It was Tony Stark. (Any Marvel fans out there?)
Links for ways to connect with me: 
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