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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:

  • GATHER BOOK CLUB: Which books do YOU want to talk about?

  • CASE STUDY: Check out how WNYC created a community listening station.

  • FUNDING ALERT: Apply for a Knight-Wallace Fellowship by February 1.

  • HOT READ: Vox Media acquires The Coral Project.

  • INTROS: Meet Sasha VanHoven, Social Strategy Manager at Wirecutter.

What books support your engaged journalism work?


We’re starting something new at Gather: a book club! If you’re like me, you probably have a stack of library books sitting next to your bed that you’ve been meaning to read. Time to add one to the pile, and we need your help! (Don’t worry, this will be f u n.)

We’re taking suggestions for books related to community, moderation, social media, etc. We’ll vote on which one to read and then set up a time to discuss it together via video chat. The author might even show up in a Q&A!

Gather steering committee members kicked around a few ideas for an inaugural book:


Interested in reading along with us? Head over to the #reads room in Gather Slack to share your book suggestion. See you there!

(Related case study on Gather: How the Wichita Eagle Tackled Community Literacy Through a Virtual Reading Challenge)

Lauren Katz, Gather steering committee member

(Editor's note: Thanks to Lauren for writing this week! If you have something you'd like to write for the newsletter, or an idea for what we should write about, email joy.m.mayer@gmail.com.)

How WNYC Created a Neighborhood Listening Station


By Tiziana Rinaldi

TalkBox is an old pay phone that New York Public Radio (WNYC) retrofitted as a neighborhood listening station. It launched in 2015, one year after Eric Garner died in the chokehold of a NYPD officer on Staten Island, New York. WNYC placed TalkBox inside the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island and invited the community to share thoughts about Garner’s death. Participants either recorded their thoughts or listened to the audio already gathered from other community members. Afterwards, WNYC shared the audio on social media and in its programming.

Read the case study on Gather.

You can now publicly share the 97 case studies and featured projects on Gather with friends and colleagues. Take a look through, and then recommend projects you’d like to see us dig into.

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. Here's what's coming up:

Wednesday, Feb. 6 // Kickstarter for media projects: Let’s talk about the pros and cons, and the when and why, of using crowdfunding for your media project. We’ll hear first from these folks about their experiences:
  • Madeleine Poore of WAMU
  • Alex Hernandez of 90 Days, 90 Voices
  • Courtney Hurtt of WDET
Join us on Zoom at 2:30pm ET / 1:30pm CT / 11:30am PT 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.
  • Knight-Wallace Fellowship (U.S. applicants), Wallace House at the University of Michigan: "A Knight-Wallace Fellowship recognizes accomplished journalists who are eager for growth and deeply committed to the future of journalism. We offer a unique opportunity: an academic year of study and collaborative learning at the University of Michigan to deepen knowledge, develop new ideas, learn new skills and address challenges facing the journalism industry. We are looking for a diverse range of journalists including reporters, editors, data experts, visual journalists, audio producers, engagement specialists, designers, developers, entrepreneurs and organizational change agents." Deadline: February 1, 2019. Learn more.

 
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.
  • How has Gather been valuable to your work? We asked some active members that question recently and got some great responses. You can find some on our landing page at letsgather.in. and we’ll feature some here as well.
     
    • “What’s been most useful to me is getting to share a space with so many brilliant people who are all noodling on how to do our work better, it’s exciting to be able to tap into this network with questions and knowledge to share!” — Maddie Poore, WAMU
       
  • Tracking impact: If you track and document the impact of your journalism, what do you do with that information? That’s what Anna Nagle asked this week, and she’s gotten really helpful responses. Join the conversation on Slack.
     
  • Social media planning: Amy Wilson-Chapman has asked for resources for social media strategy and planning. Do you have a list of questions you ask, or a doc to share? Drop your links in this Slack thread.
     
  • The last 10 years in journalism: Kristen Hare at Poynter published a project looking at what people in journalism have to say about their last decade. (A quick summary: Those interviewed threw around words like turbulent, challenging and rough — but also enterprising and ambitious.) Poynter wants to hear from more journalists about how their careers have changed. Given that most of the Gather community wasn’t using the word engagement 10 years ago, we bet you’d have some interesting answers! Fill out the form here.
     
  • Hot Read: "Exclusive: Vox Media is acquiring The Coral Project" by Sara Fischer at Axios. (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 Sasha VanHoven, this week's Featured Member.


Name: Sasha VanHoven

What you do: Social Strategy Manager at Wirecutter (part of the New York Times)

Why you’re on Gather: To learn more about how other publishing sites, especially ones with high journalistic standards, are driving engagement with their audiences in what is usually a very low-resource team (or simply a single position stretched across it all).

One thing you want to learn on Gather: How to do a better job of advocating for engagement over other metrics that I feel doesn’t serve our readers, or our content, as well.

One thing you have to share on Gather: I’ve been the first and only social person at Wirecutter since 2013, and I take on several other hats as well; I can talk scrappy solutions on a nonexistent budget til my ears bleed.

One thing about your work that gets you especially pumped up: Having direct exchanges with our readers on social where we’re able to help them and make a small, tiny difference in their day-to-day.

Who or what inspired you to get into this work? A boss at a previous job, where I was an associate editor who only touched social 20% of the time, who called me the Jimmy Stewart of social media and encouraged my approach towards community and conversation over CTRs and conversions.

Would you rather give up social media or coffee for a week? Social media! Being a team of one means checking in our feeds and what’s trending 24/7 for the last three years. I’d love to miss just one Presidential tweet, truly.

Links for ways to connect with you.
Twitter: @sashavanhoven
Email: svanhoven@wirecutter.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sashavanhoven/
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