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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:

  • POP-UP NEWSROOM: A Romanian newsroom reflects on how they listened to a new community in four days.

  • JOB ALERT: Are you WAMU's next Audience Producer?

  • HOT READ: A longtime local paper closes in Maine.

  • INTROS: Meet Anna Gutierrez Bahn, a communications coordinator for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Avoid parachute journalism with these techniques


When journalists work to expand the perspectives and voices in their coverage, they often spend time in communities that are new to them. Whether those communities are based on geography (such as a rural area), culture (such as an ethnicity or political leaning other than their own) or subject matter (fill in niche topic here), journalists have to figure out how to respectfully listen to and then represent the people they meet.

That can be tough, but it’s worth doing. What community does your organization wish it were better reflecting and reaching with your coverage? Who could you be listening to better, and what would it take to do it?

For inspiration, let’s turn to a post published last week by the staff of Decât o Revistă in Romania. They describe how and why they moved their staff of 30 people 350 km away for a week to create a pop-up newsroom.

The Medium post (written by Cătălina Albeanu and Georgiana Ilie) goes over logistics like where the team would work and sleep, editorial workflows, event planning, marketing, partnerships. And it articulates these goals: 
 

  1. Document stories that were relevant for the local community and reflected modern life in one of the oldest towns in Romania;
  2. Get to know our community of readers in Târgu Mureș and have their insights included in the reporting process;
  3. Create a team-building experience for DoR staff.


The staff had some concerns:

“What if we don’t have enough time to find the most relevant stories? What if we misrepresent them? What if we misunderstand something? And how can we move beyond what many call parachute journalism — being a media organization from the capital city publishing stories from an outsider perspective, barely scratching the surface or digging in the completely wrong place?”

The post shares this that one reporter said about the experience: “Before coming here, I was stressing out about what I would write, but then I remembered an experience like this is about being present and about admitting you know nothing.”

One of the tips seems like especially good advice for journalists hoping to understand and accurately reflect a new community: “Plan some editorial things ahead, but be ready to change everything.”

Read the full post on Medium.

Joy Mayer, Gather community manager

 

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.

Here's what's coming up: 
  • 12-12:30 pm ET, Oct. 29: Self-care for engaged journalists // Let's talk about how to take care of ourselves while balancing a job that's constantly demanding more, an audience that has plenty to say and a news cycle that won't stop. Chaseedaw Giles of Kaiser Health News and Melissa Daniels of The Desert Sun will bring tips from their ONA session to this lightning chat. Join us on Zoom for a 30-minute conversation. Click here to add this to your Google Calendar.
  

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.

Audience Producer, WAMU: “The Audience Producer serves as the primary editorial voice for the WAMU newsroom on social media. The position is also the driving force behind the newsroom’s daily editorial newsletter. In collaboration with newsroom leadership, the Audience Producer develops multi-platform audience engagement plans for reporters, beats, individual stories, special projects and other initiatives." Location: Washington, DC
 


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.
  • Facebook lead acquisition: If you have only $250 and want to use Facebook to get more newsletter signups, how should you structure your Ad Center campaign? A deep, rich thread in the #paid acquisition channel provides All The Wisdom. Join the conversation on Slack.
     
  • Trump supporters talk about "the media": Elizabeth Dunbar's assignment last week was to ride a bus with Trump supporters on their way to a Minneapolis rally. See what they told her about what they're looking for from journalists. Join the conversation on Slack
     
  • Podcast interview: Gatherer P. Kim Bui was interviewed on the It’s All Journalism podcast about being an empathetic journalist. “It’s about really listening and trying to see audiences for who they are, not who we think they are, and letting them direct the coverage a little bit more than we ever have before.” Find the interview here.
     
  • Hot Read: "In one Maine town, ‘home paper’ is gone after 135 years" by Zoe Greenberg for The Boston Globe. (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 Anna Gutierrez Bahn, this week's Featured Member.


Name: Anna Gutierrez Bahn

What you do: I am the communications coordinator for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, but I focus on expanding and engaging with our digital community. I write and manage our monthly newsletter, manage all of our social media platforms, track and share analytics reports, edit blog posts, act as the SEO editor for our website, and I design things!

Why you’re on Gather: It’s so important to think about the reader/user when creating “content,” so I’m on Gather to learn from and connect with other audience-focused professionals in the journalism space. I like that this community is one of people who ask “why” when people say “we’ve always done it this way.”

One thing you want to learn on Gather: I love learning about new tools that make collecting, tracking and analyzing data easier. I know engagement isn’t all about metrics, but I think there’s a way to make and track meaningful connections in the numbers to ultimately show you more about your audience. I’m all about using data to inform my decisions.

One thing you have to share on Gather: I’m always down to help break down big ideas into smaller, more manageable items/tasks. I also created journalism-related Instagram stickers to put on stories for the Reporters Committee (but that are available for everyone to use), so I can definitely share how I did that and talk through fun Instagram ideas.

One thing about your work that gets you especially pumped up: I get really pumped up about developing new projects. I love being able to take big ideas and turn them into a product with a plan — whether it’s a social media campaign, a new branded newsletter or even creating gifs for Instagram.

Who or what inspired you to get into this work? My specific work is interesting because I get to do digital communications around media law issues that affect journalists. I became really passionate about legal assistance for journalists after I was denied public records while working for my student newspaper. It’s the best of both worlds for me that I now get use my social media and SEO skills to share news about the Reporters Committee’s free legal resources and great work the organization is doing to protect press freedom in the U.S.

Would you rather work in quiet or chaos? I would rather work in a quiet space amid chaos. Sitting at the kitchen table is a good example of where I work best. I’m the oldest of four kids, so things were always crazy at my house growing up, but I always sat at the kitchen table to work. I weirdly enjoy being in my own quiet bubble while everything around me is a bit chaotic. (This worked well in my favor while I was editor-in-chief of my student newspaper.)

Ways to connect with me:
Connect with me by following me on Twitter @annaxgabriela, adding me on LinkedIn, following me on Instagram @annagbahn, setting up a time to brainstorm (https://calendly.com/annagbahn), messaging me on the Gather slack or sending me an email (abahn@rcfp.org or annagbahn@gmail.com)!
 
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