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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: Congratulations to the ONA Gather Award winners!

  • SURVEY RECAP: Four ways Gather can be more useful for you.

  • JOB ALERT: KCUR in Kansas City, MO is looking for a Community Engagement Director for Elections 2020.

  • HOT READ: Longmont, CO is looking at one solution for their news desert: the library.

  • INTROS: Meet Caty Green, Engagement Editor at Chalkbeat.

ONA winners reflect a shift in journalism


We were thrilled to announce the winners of the first-ever Gather Award in Engaged Journalism this past weekend during ONA19’s Online Journalism Award in New Orleans. The OJA judges recognized KPCC Southern California Public Radio’s portfolio of work and City Bureau’s Documenters project. Congrats to the winners as well as the finalists.

I’m sure the community here on Gather can agree that these two newsrooms are among the pioneers at the forefront of reimagining the future of journalism. Their trailblazing work will help us define the pathways going forward as Agora Journalism Center continues to fund this award in the next two Online Journalism Awards. 

I believe we’re finally at the cusp of formally recognizing the work of journalists intentionally creating on-ramps for public participation that transforms how they inform and relate to their communities. And as the OJA’s has a category on “collaboration and partnerships,” I believe we’ll soon see awards given to collaborations with communities we serve.

Considering the audience at OJA, I woke up Sunday morning lamenting that I should have framed this moment in the context of the broader industry. I would love to have mentioned that what is happening with engaged journalism today is what I was privy to in the early days of multimedia journalism — storytelling that was once considered an innovation to strive for will eventually be seen as a standard best practice. An investment in true community engagement is becoming less optional.

In that spirit, here’s what I should have added to my Gather Award in Engaged Journalism remarks: Let’s congratulate the winners of the inaugural Gather Award in Engaged Journalism.

Andrew DeVigal, Gather executive director

Survey highlight: How can Gather be more useful?


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. 

Here are some highlights and themes from answers to the question: How could Gather be more useful to you? 

Help me keep up: 

  • Include more Slack highlights in the newsletter
  • Remind me what’s on the Gather website
  • Share more short summaries of engaged journalism best practices
Help me keep learning:
  • Have longer lightning chats so we can dig more into the topic
  • Offer monthly digests on specific topics
  • Share more templates and guides
Help me connect with people:
  • Put more effort into organizing Gather meetups at conferences
  • Help me find people on Gather
  • Help me connect with people whose work is similar to mine
  • Offer video speed dating with people in similar jobs
  • Set up accountability buddies or collaborative working groups
Help me understand the big picture:
  • Offer more introductions to the Gather platform and Slack
  • Be clear about Gather’s mission and approach
  • Provide a clearer definition of engaged journalism
 

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.

We’re lining up our next lightning chats now. And we have a question for those of you who were at ONA. Which speakers or topics from ONA do you think might make especially good lightning chats? Our goal is not to recreate an hourlong talk but instead to harness a few key takeaways and invite a conversation. With ideas, reply to this email or weigh in on Slack.

COMING SOON: 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. Stay tuned for a date and time. And read more about The Citizens Agenda here: http://bit.ly/thecitizensagenda.
 


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.

Community Engagement Director - Elections 2020, KCUR (Kansas City, MO): “We’re looking for an expert in community engagement to guide how public media journalists listen to their audiences and communities in the upcoming national elections. As Community Engagement Director, this trend-savvy individual will be a critical driving force for rolling out innovations in how we connect with, understand and respect diverse voices across America. KCUR 89.3, Kansas City’s NPR affiliate, is leading the central team. While this 18-month project, “Elections 2020: Listening to America,” is based in Kansas City, we’re open to someone working remotely. Extensive travel expected.” Application review begins Wednesday, 9/25/19.
 


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.

Meet Caty Green, this week's Featured Member.


Name: Caty Green

What you do: Engagement Editor at Chalkbeat

Why you’re on Gather: To troubleshoot, get ideas, and share my own experiences with the engagement practices I’ve found the most valuable. 

One thing you have to share on Gather: The how-to's of managing a reader advisory board. 

One thing you want to learn on Gather: How to ruthlessly prioritize without feeling like you’re dropping the ball. 

One thing about your work that gets you especially pumped up: Chalkbeat’s mission is a huge part of what drew me to work here: We’re committed to covering the effort to improve schools for all children, especially those who have historically lacked access to a quality education. We’re agnostic about the means and strategies of delivering that solution, and we work to give our local and national readers the context they need to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t in their own community’s schools. I don’t have much in the way of education reporting experience, but I know the quality of neighborhood schools has countless ripple effects on quality of life for students, residents, and the community at large. Ultimately, you can manage a lot in your day-to-day — including a sizable learning curve — if you care about what your team is working toward.

Who or what inspired you to get into this work? I stumbled into engagement shortly after grad school at USC’s Annenberg school, and my relationship with this work has evolved over time. But the experience in my first full-time engagement position — at Voice of San Diego — still informs the type of engagement I love doing most. VOSD’s local-first approach meant that even the most curmudgeonly reporter showed up for the readers we served. Whether it was during a monthly Member Coffee or at a bigger production like Politifest, everyone saw clearly the value of meeting the people who supported our work and those who potentially stood to benefit from it. 

Would you rather watch a movie, read a book, or listen to a podcast? Read a book! I’ve rediscovered in the last few years how good this is for my mental state. Not just learning new things or taking in the quirks of someone else’s writing style, but focusing on one thing at a time and calming my busy brain down for a bit. 

Links for ways to connect with you.
Facebook: facebook.com/caty.green
Twitter: twitter.com/catygreen
work email: cgreen@chalkbeat.org
 
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