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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:

  • TELL US: Two questions from Gatherers who want to know your newsroom’s take on participating in protests and what moderators are experiencing right now.

  • JOB ALERT: Three engaged journalism jobs (The Trace, City Bureau, API). Apply by 6/12.

  • COMMUNITY UPDATES: A conversation for journalism students and educators, lessons from Ferguson in 2014, newsroom responses to #blackout posts, supporting your non-media friends to inform coverage, and free access to Metrics for News from API.

  • HOT READ: "Inside the Revolts Erupting in America’s Big Newsrooms."

  • INTROS: Meet Meral Agish, the Community Coordinator of Queens Memory.

What are you experiencing in your newsrooms?


Gather has been quiet lately. That’s understandable - you are all showing up for your communities and showing up for your colleagues right now as our society reckons with the impacts of structural racism built into our nation’s institutions. 

One article made me think about everyone in the Gather community: Margaret Sullivan, media columnist for The Washington Post, wrote, “What’s a journalist supposed to be now — an activist? A stenographer? You’re asking the wrong question.” You’ve likely read it, but this part is worth repeating:
 

“What if we framed coverage with this question at the forefront:
What journalism best serves the real interests of American citizens?”


Gatherers ask themselves this question all the time. And it’s a question not limited to doing engaged journalism, but doing good journalism. Period.

As you do good journalism to serve your communities’ needs, here are two questions from Gatherers who are curious about your experience:

  • What conversations are happening in your newsrooms about participating in protests these days? Writes the Gatherer: “I’m so excited to see more orgs putting out statements indicating that racism is not an issue that has “both sides,” and I’m hoping that extends to the expectation that staff don’t have to be “neutral” about what’s happening in the world these days.” Share your experiences here.
     
  • How are you holding up with moderation and community support for your audiences right now? From the Gatherer’s post: “We are getting reports of moderator exhaustion, burn out, wanting to meet the moment but not feeling prepared. Are you seeing something similar?” Join the conversation here.

A few resources that I want to lift up:
My Slack DMs and email are always open for questions, requests, comments, and critiques. Here’s a little goodness for the middle of your week.

Alisha Savson, Gather community manager
 

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

Two weeks ago, I asked the community to weigh in on some possible upcoming lightning chats. (Audience vs. community is a clear winner again. Getting on that.) 

Now, the world is standing in a different place. What conversations would you like Gather to host around the current moment? Off the top of my head - chats around engaged journalism and …
  • Reporting on structural racism
  • Organizing within the newsroom for diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Engaging with your community around structural racism and/or the protests (What works? What hasn’t?)
  • Steps your newsroom is taking to meet the moment
  • Doing a diversity, inclusion, and equity audit of your sources
  • Resources for anti-racism trainings for media organizations 
  • Something else?
What would be useful? Send me an email or DM me on Slack @AlishaSavson. Thanks!
 


Jobs, Fellowships, and Funding


Shoutout to Akoto Ofori-Atta, Gracie McKenzie, Darryl Holliday, and Shirley Qiu for posting these on Slack! Check out the #jobsandfunding Slack to see what other opportunities Gatherers are sharing.

Community Outreach Editor, The Trace: “As the only news organization exclusively dedicated to covering gun violence, The Trace has a responsibility to ensure that our journalism continues to serve the most affected communities. We’re looking for a talented editor who can help us do that better, especially as fatal shootings have persisted during the COVID-19 crisis, despite decreases in other types of crime." Location: Remote from 7 specific cities.” Location: Remote. Deadline: 6/12/20  

Documenters Program Manager, City Bureau: “Your role will be to cultivate partnerships that build an engaged audience around Documenters work in Chicago, to work closely with program participants to help them learn and become more civically engaged and to take a creative, iterative approach to program design.” Location: Chicago. Deadline: 6/12/20

Community Managers (multiple), American Press Institute: “The American Press Institute is hiring community managers with some web development knowledge as independent contractors to support dozens of news organizations who will use API’s Metrics for News application to guide their elections coverage from now through November.” Location: Remote. Deadline, 6/12/20
 


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
  • Calling journalism students: Journalism That Matters is hosting a thoughtful, supportive conversation for students, educators, and media makers around this question: “In the midst of upheaval, what’s possible to prepare the next generation of journalists?” If you are a student and wondering about your place in the future of news, learn more & sign up here.                                                                                         
  • Lessons from Ferguson: Beth O’Malley shares some lessons the St. Louis Post-Dispatch learned when they covered the 2014 protests in Ferguson. Read more.                                                                                                                                    
  • Newsroom responses to #blackout posts: A Gatherer is curious how newsrooms responded to the #blackout posts on Tuesday, June 2. Share your experience here.                       
  • Supporting non-media friends who want to inform coverage: Say your circles are asking you (their journalist friend), “What’s the most effective way for me to share my questions, comments, and concerns with newsrooms?” What tips would you offer? Add them here.                                                                                                         
  • Free access to Metrics for News: API is offering free access to their analytics tool for 60 newsrooms who want to improve their election coverage. Apply by June 15.                                     
Hot Read: "Inside the Revolts Erupting in America’s Big Newsrooms" by Ben Smith at 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 Meral Agish, this week's Featured Member.


NOTE: Meral wrote this in mid-May; responses do not reflect the current moment.

Name: Meral Agish
 
What you do: Community Coordinator of Queens Memory, an oral history and community archiving partnership between Queens Public Library and Queens College CUNY
 
Why you’re on Gather: I heard about Gather during a Zoom call with engagement journalists and thought, “Yes, this is the group I need!” I joined the library last December after six years in documentary news and came to Gather to find support and ideas and to meet colleagues in the broader field of engagement.
 
One thing you want to learn on Gather: I would like to learn what others are up to in this new reality we’re all living, where engagement and community have taken on different forms or have moved to different places. My work with Queens Memory was previously very much in-person. We won’t be able to get back to that for some time, and I’m learning a lot from how others are approaching similar situations.
 
One thing you have to share on Gather: Up until pretty recently I felt like a professional magpie, with experience in the art curation, event planning, nonprofit fundraising, journalism, investigative research and oral history. Now, I’m in a position where all of those “past lives” come together into a coherent whole, so I’m here to share enthusiasm for all the hybrid identities, in and out of the workplace, that we bring to the work we do.
 
One thing about your work that gets you especially pumped up: Almost all of my work right now is focused on recording and documenting life in Queens during the COVID-19 pandemic. Queens Memory is in a unique position where we can open the archival floodgates and run numerous projects at once that have this shared goal. We have a crowdsourcing campaign around #QueensCOVID, webforms in numerous languages for direct story contributions in essentially any digital format, oral history gathering that’s all being recorded remotely by volunteers who are as far flung as the Bay Area, a podcast series in development, and several other projects we’ll be sharing soon. We’ve been able to respond to this crisis in creative ways that have also opened up accessibility to so many more people. Personally, this work has helped me make meaning of this time.
 
Who or what inspired you to get into this work? Like I mentioned earlier, I’m very much a magpie when it comes to my work and hobbies. But I owe so much to one particular experience. I was interning at an art gallery right after college and a photographer I met there mentioned she was taking an oral history class with an amazing teacher named Suzanne Snider at the New School. I signed up the following fall and it all clicked for me intellectually and emotionally. I brought the principles and ethics of oral history to my work as a journalist and now, more than a decade since I took Suzanne’s class, am in a position where oral history is a huge part of my work. For anyone who’s interested in learning more about oral history and its many applications, check out Suzanne’s Oral History Summer School. It’s a very special place.
 
Links for ways to connect with you.
Queens Memory COVID-19 Project: https://queenslib.org/covid
Queens Memory (redesign and rebranding to come this summer!): queensmemory.org/
@queensmemory on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook 
 
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