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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:

  • #ONA19: Check out the sessions Gatherers are most excited about.

  • SURVEY RECAP: How has Gather been the most useful? Here's what respondents said.

  • JOB ALERT: Atlantic Media is looking for a Senior Editor in Audience and Engagement.

  • HOT READ: Check out the newly published Citizens Agenda guide to election coverage.

  • INTROS: Meet Anika Anand, Programming Director at LION Publishers.

Gatherers’ guide to ONA: What sessions you recommend

Starting today, more than 2,600 folks are headed to New Orleans for the Online News Association annual conference. Will you be among them? If so, join our #ona19 channel on Slack and watch that space to hear about informal IRL meetups, session highlights and more. Make sure to check in on Thursday night: we hope to find a place to congregate during the opening reception.

How can you spot a Gatherer? Look for the Gather stickers! We’ll be handing them out for both your badges and your laptops. (We = Joy Mayer and Andrew Devigal.) If you find us, grab a few and help us distribute them, and watch for them to find kindred spirits. 

The conference schedule is packed with so many smart people and ideas, and we’d love to help you make your game plan. We asked you to share what sessions you’re most looking forward to. Here are highlights from your recommendations, with links to the session descriptions. And please, share your favorite observations and lessons learned with the rest of us on Slack. 

Remember to build in time for conversations, and for decompressing. Both are important for getting the most out of your time. 


11:30AM - 12:30PM:

 2:30 - 3:30PM:

4:00 - 5:00PM:


2:30 - 3:30PM:

4:00 - 5:00PM:


1:00 - 2:00PM: The New Reader Revenue Relationship: Membership Models, Subscriptions and Paywalls

2:30 - 5:00PM: A Game for Imagining the Next Generation of News

4:00 - 5:00PM: Taking it home: Sessions focused on putting ideas into action, with separate convos for educators, early career journalists and local news and broadcast news.

Ongoing: Facebook (including CrowdTangle and Instagram) is sponsoring quite a few sessions related to the use of their tools. See the lineup here.

See you in New Orleans!

Joy Mayer, Gather community manager

Survey highlight: How does Gather help you?

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’ll share some highlights from what we learned. 

We asked you to check the boxes next to a list of ways Gather aims to be useful. Here’s what we learned:

Gather has helped people:

  1. Broaden their understanding of what engagement can involve (81%)
  2. Feel more connected to others in engaged journalism (81%)
  3. Brainstorm ideas (58%)
  4. Receive direct support from another Gather member (45%)
  5. Offer direct support to another Gather member (43%)
  6. Explain engagement to your colleagues (39%)
  7. Get help with a tool or technical problem (35%)
  8. Find collaborators (33%)
  9. More effectively coach colleagues on engagement work (26%)

Next week, we’ll tell you how you hope Gather evolves and improves. 

Suggestions? Want to share your own experiences with the community? Respond to this email or send a note to Joy Mayer at


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.

Our last three lightning chats celebrated six of the seven finalists in the first-ever ONA Gather Award for Engaged Journalism. Read about the award and all the nominees here. Highlights from chats #2 and #3 are coming in the next couple of weeks. If you want to hear from the finalists now, check out the video replays and notes for each (remember to sign-in):

ONA Chat 1: Southern California Public Radio and WITF
  • Ashley Alvarado, Southern California Public Radio: Nominated in the Portfolio category.
  • Cara Williams Fry, WIFT: “Three Mile Island Accident’s 40th Anniversary.”
  • Video replay and notes here.

ONA Chat 2: City Bureau and Bureau Local
ONA Chat 3: USA Today Florida & Vox
  • Eve Samples and Leah Voss, USA TODAY Florida: “Florida Voices."
  • Lauren Katz, VOX: “Hospitals Kept ER Fees Secret. We Worked with Patients to Uncover Them.”
  • Video replay and notes here.

The seventh finalist, Rappler, was unable to participate. Learn more about their nominated project #FactsMatterPH, a project about disinformation in the Philippines.

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.

Senior Editor, Audience and Engagement, The Atlantic: “We’re looking for a creative, collaborative editor and experienced newsroom manager to oversee day-to-day operations on the audience engagement team at The Atlantic. The person we hire will help lead a team charged with the selection and presentation of Atlantic stories on the mobile and desktop home screens and other surfaces. You will also work with colleagues across the editorial team, as well as in product, design, and engineering to improve and extend the usability and power of those platforms."

Community Updates

If you haven't joined the Gather Slack community, you're missing out on a lot of brainstorming, advice giving and collaboration. Seriously. Join here.
  • Weather prep: Sharing info before, during and after major weather events is all about meeting people where they are. Penny Riordan shares some best practices for Facebook groups dedicated to tracking major weather events (based on Hurricane Dorian). Here’s her Twitter thread and and the conversation on Slack.
  • Election 2020: Does you or your organization have experience with EThePeople? Kim Bui wants to know. Share your experience on Slack.
  • Hot Read: "The Citizens Agenda" from Hearken. Written by Jennifer Brandel, Joy Mayer, Jay Rosen, Bridget Thoreson, and Ariel Zirulnick. (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 Anika Anand, this week's Featured Member.

Name: Anika Anand

What you do: Programming director, LION Publishers

Why you’re on Gather: Gather is the resource that I wish existed back in 2012 when my boss told me I should be the director of engagement for our newsroom. At the time, I cold emailed a bunch of folks who had "engagement" or "social" or "community" in their job title and asked them what it was they did. (Joy was one of those people :slightly_smiling_face: ). Today I know it's much less about titles and more about cultivating communities (like this one!) who care deeply about putting readers at the center of everything we make. I'm happy to learn from you all, and to continue sharing what I've learned too.

One thing you want to learn on Gather: The big project I'm taking on at LION is helping create a resource for people who want to start a new local media business. And, of course, I'm starting by surveying the potential users of this guide. So if you've ever thought about starting your own local news business, reach out to me at I would also love to hear from people who have started their own local media business and want to pay it forward by sharing what they've learned with others.

One thing you have to share on Gather: I can help with that moment when you have an idea for something but don't know where to start. I've created events, projects, newsletters, frameworks/systems/workflows from scratch, and am always happy to talk through that process with anyone.

One thing about your work that gets you especially pumped up: Helping more journalists start local media businesses.

Who or what inspired you to get into this work? After learning how to report and publish news stories in college and at internships, I couldn't stop wondering whether any of it mattered. Who read them? What did they do with them? What else did they want to know? I'm fortunate that my boss at my first full-time journalism job (Chalkbeat's Elizabeth Green) wondered the same things too, and encouraged me to explore those questions.

Would you rather give up social media or coffee for a week? Easy choice: both. I don't drink coffee, despite living in Seattle, and I'm always happy to take a social media break.

Links for ways to connect with you.
I'm usually at inbox zero, so email is best!
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