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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:

  • MODSQUAD: Gracie McKenzie reflects on the last 6 months of Slack stewardship.

  • REMINDER: Apply for the ONA Gather Award by June 4.

  • JOB ALERT: On Being is looking for an Audience Editor. (And more!)

  • COMMUNITY UPDATES: An upcoming call on libraries & collaboration, how to start identifying information needs right now, internal processes for proposing callouts, and more.

  • HOT READ: You’ve already seen this, but it’s worth a longer pause: “Remembering the Nearly 100,000 Lives Lost to Coronavirus in America” from The New York Times.

  • INTROS: Meet Heaven Taylor-Wynn, Multimedia Reporter for MediaWise.

Lessons from Gather’s #ModSquad


By Gracie McKenzie, steering committee member and #ModSquad co-lead

Recently, Joy, Alisha, and Andrew asked me to write for the Gather Medium page about what we learned from starting the ModSquad, around six months in, and how it has changed the way we work on Slack.

When we started Gather Slack in early 2018, the idea was that it would be a place for our community of practice, to, well, gather and engage with one another. At that point, Gather as a site was just a few months old, but we were seeing less one-on-one interaction on the platform than we’d hoped when we launched in October 2017. The steering committee—to which I was a recent addition—thought: Why don’t we put the practices we recommend into action, and meet our community where they already are?

By the summer of 2019, a lack of interaction was not our biggest problem: Our Slack community had more than 1000 members, and while not all members or channels were active on any given day or week, the notifications could quickly get overwhelming, especially for those who only checked in periodically. When we ran our community survey during the summer, we heard from respondents that because of the volume of conversation, it could be difficult for an individual to identify what information was important and professionally relevant.

Responding to this challenge gave our team another opportunity to practice engagement with our community. A few of the top five takeaways:

  • Make important information available in a consistent place. Your community’s time is valuable, and you show that through your actions. Before the ModSquad, we had been pointing readers of this newsletter to interesting Slack conversations, but Joy had been surveying a week’s worth of notifications on her own. Now, every Monday our team of moderators shares an update on especially valuable or interesting conversations that happened in their channel during the previous week, and these highlights get curated into our weekly Wednesday newsletter.
     
  • Surveys are your friend.
     
  • Let your community help you.

Read more in the full post on Medium.

Reminder: Apply for the ONA Gather Award!


The ONA Award application deadline is on June 4, 2020. Submit your application for the ONA Gather Award today! (There’s also a new 'Excellence in Newsletters' award that many of ya’ll would have great applications for.)

Lightning Chats


Discuss a shared challenge, brainstorm ideas for a project, or learn more about a case study at Gather's video lightning chats. You can also subscribe to a lightning chat calendar on Google calendar or on iCal.

We’re working on setting up future lightning chats, and we’d love to know what YOU want to talk about. What challenges would you like to talk over with your Gather comrades? Or what project would you like to peek behind the scenes of? Email us at alisha@alishasavson.com with ideas or drop a note in #lightningchats on Slack.
 


Jobs, Fellowships, and Funding


Shoutout to Patrick Boehler, Mike Rispoli, Ashley Alvarado, and Brooks Brunson for posting these on Slack! Share other opportunities and relief resources on the #jobsandfunding Slack.

Audience Editor, On Being: “We are looking for someone to bring their voice and talents to executing an audience-first engagement strategy that serves our very active, counter-culturally broad, and growing community of listeners. A core focus of the Audience Editor will be to drive engagement around our public radio and podcast portfolio.” Location: Can be remote; prefer Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., and NYC. Deadline: Monday, June 8 

Also new this week: Many more on the #jobsandfunding Slack
 


Community Updates


The Gather Slack is the thriving hub of our community, where we brainstorm together, ask for and offer advice, and connect with each other. Join here.
  • June 1 chat on libraries & collaboration: Andrea Wenzel is organizing a series of “Engaged Journalism Exchange” conversations, and the next one’s about collaborating with libraries. RSVP here.  
     
  • Guide to ID info needs during COVID-19: Gatherers loved this guide to help newsrooms consider their strategies for identifying information needs (by the Lenfest Institute and Listening Post Collective). Read it here.
     
  • Proposal process: A Gatherer asks, “What’s your newsroom’s process for when a reporter or editor wants to propose a reader callout?” Answer here.
     
  • Multiple FB accounts streaming Zoom: Can multiple Facebook accounts broadcast the same Facebook Live event from Zoom? Join the conversation.
     
  • COVID newsletters: A Gatherer is thinking about the usefulness of COVID-related newsletters, especially when information is buried or context isn’t easy to discern. They ask, “What key facts are you sharing each day? What is the basic info that you’re collecting and how are you putting it into context?” Answer here.

Hot Read: "Remembering the Nearly 100,000 Lives Lost to Coronavirus in America" by The New York Times. (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 Heaven Taylor-Wynn, this week's Featured Member.


Name: Heaven Taylor-Wynn

What you do: My title is “Multimedia Reporter” for MediaWise, but I run our social media and oversee our ambassadors program. Periodically I will produce a fact-check video or complete interviews with students studying media or folks who are interested in learning more about the project. 

Why you’re on Gather: @Josie introduced me to this Slack channel! When I’m brave enough, I intend to reach out to a few folks for mentorship. Thus far, I’ve gotten a lot of insights about social media and methods other newsrooms are using.

One thing you want to learn on Gather: I’d like to know more about audience development. We’re trying to reach teens and they can be an elusive group. Would love to connect with anyone who’s on a teen-facing publication. 

One thing you have to share on Gather: I’ve spent a lot of time on Facebook ads lately and would be happy to share more about that. 

One thing about your work that gets you especially pumped up: There’s no one in our space doing what we’re doing quite like we are! 

Who or what inspired you to get into this work? I had an amazing experience as a PolitiFact intern while in college a few years ago. A few months before graduation I saw the job posting and decided it’d be fun to return to Poynter and work on a project with a similar goal. 

Would you rather work in chaos or quiet? This is funny because I recently discovered brown noise (search it on YouTube). and I’ve been listening to that while working from home. It’s a I feel like it’s both quiet and chaotic? Lmk what you think if you check it out! Probably chaos though.

Links for ways to connect with you.
My LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/heaventw 
My twitter: twitter.com/h_taylorwynn (not super active) 
Email: heaven@poynter.org 
Follow MediaWise @Heaven -- MediaWise on everything!
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