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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:

  • LET'S CHAT: One year in, Gather still has so much to talk about. What's on your mind?

  • CASE STUDY: Read how how Colorado Public Radio found common ground with the Bread Series.

  • JOB ALERT: Apply to be the Chief Audience Officer at CALMatters.

  • HOT READ: Journalist Sunny Dhillon decided to leave his job over matters of race.

  • INTROS: Meet Christine Schmidt, a staff writer at Nieman Lab.

What should we talk about next?

Gather’s first Topic of the Month, during our beta launch in October 2017, was Facebook groups. If you read from the bottom of this post on Gather, you’ll see observations, links and questions from your peers, plus notes from a lightning chat on Facebook groups.

(Long-timers will remember that our conversations were hosted on Gather itself before our Slack workspace launched in February. Join in with more than 500 of your peers on Slack.)

Since last fall, our monthly topics have been things like:

  • hiring for engagement jobs
  • hosting live events
  • measuring engagement’s success
  • funding for engagement work
  • engagement-related research
One of our goals is to help journalists, educators and students find each other, find resources and best practices, and find support and mentorship. The monthly topics have been a great way to do that. They’ve also helped us get a better sense for who we are as a community and what our needs are. We’ll continue to talk about things that matter to you with our lightning chats, newsletters, case studies and Slack conversations.

After a full year, though, it’s time to move away from that structure. We have more to say about some previous topics, and some of our new ideas might just warrant one conversation prompt, not a four-week focus.

So while we’re not introducing a new Topic of the Month for November, we have a huge list of things we still want to talk about. Here are a few, shared during a meeting of the Gather steering committee this month:
  • The ethics of engagement work (there are *so many* layers to this one)
  • Bringing communities together by engaging around sports journalism
  • Working with archive content (our own, our libraries, etc.)
  • Engagement in TV newsrooms
  • What we can learn from professional facilitators
  • Knowing what engagement projects to say no to

What’s on your mind? What should we talk about in the (newly unstructured) coming months? Reply to this email with suggestions. We look forward to hearing from you.

Also, we're a year old! Cheers!

Joy Mayer, Gather community manager

Case Study: How Colorado Public Radio Found Common Ground with the Bread Series

By Riley Stevenson

After the 2016 election, Colorado Public Radio (CPR) reporters wanted to know how they could help bridge conversation across party lines in an increasingly polarized political climate. So in May, CPR brought together a politically and ethnically diverse group of listeners to share a meal and engage in conversation. Since the project launch, CPR has hosted two dinners attended by a returning group of listeners from varying backgrounds and recorded two smaller break-off events. The dinner series, now dubbed Breaking Bread, has been well-received by CPR’s listeners and has resulted in several video and audio stories based on the stories of those seated around the table.

Read the case study on Gather.

You can now publicly share the 94 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.

CHAT REPLAY // Hyperlocal journalism on Nextdoor: In yesterday’s chat, we learned how two very different newsrooms have incorporated Nextdoor into their local strategy. Joe Lanane at Community Impact Newspaper is all about hyperlocal, and he's looking to build digital audiences in neighborhoods while enjoying huge success with print. Beth O'Malley at the St. Louis Post Dispatch is using Nextdoor when stories are of particular interest to certain areas of town (and she's also getting a window into parts of town they don't cover as much). Log into Gather to watch the video replay and read the highlights

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. Here's what's new this week:
  • Chief Audience Officer, CALMatters: "CALmatters is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, public-interest news organization that provides insightful and thought-provoking journalism about the major issues facing Californians, including education, environment, economy, health and human welfare. In three years, we’ve gone from startup to the largest media organization focused on California state politics and policy.

    The CAO will be a key member of our leadership team, report to the Publisher, and will drive audience growth, acquisition, insights, and brand awareness. You will play a critical role in developing innovative, actionable and efficient digital audience development campaigns that build awareness, drive traffic and membership. We need you to help us find, attract and cultivate relationships with every Californian who cares about the future of our state. Are you up to the challenge?" 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.
  • Let’s talk membership: Maddie Poore from WAMU and DCist has kicked off a new Slack channel on membership programs. Does your organization have one? Or are you considering it? Join the conversation.
  • Saying no: How do you decide what work to say yes/no to? Where you have flexibility to prioritize certain projects and decline others, do you have criteria that help you make that decision? Join the conversation.
  • PPPC in Chicago: There’s still time to register for the People Powered Publishing Conference, Nov. 15-16 in Chicago. Lots of your fellow Gatherers will be there (and our executive director, Andrew DeVigal, will be speaking about what we’ve learned here, along with project manager Alisha Saville and steering committee member Carrie Brown). If you sign up in advance for the Clinic track, you’ll get the chance to workshop a project idea with a team of seasoned engagement pros -- and you’ll also be eligible for a seed grant of up to $2,000 to help make that project a reality. More info here.
  • Hot Read: "Journalism While Brown and When to Walk Away" by Sunny Dhillon. (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 Christine Schmidt, this week's Featured Member.

Name: Christine Schmidt

What you do: I’m a staff writer at Nieman Lab, part of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. The foundation more broadly offers mid-career journalists fellowships to spend an academic year at Harvard — if you’re reading this, you should consider applying! At Nieman Lab we report on and analyze trends about the future of journalism and news on the Internet (you may have heard Facebook inflated some video numbers recently — my colleague Laura Hazard Owen had an excellent breakdown of the situation). My background is in local news, so I write about a lot of things but end up focusing on ambitious ideas for reviving local news, improving accessibility of information to people from different backgrounds, and Chicago media fun, which is where I’m from. The way I explain it to my family is that I pick the brains of really cool journalism people doing really cool journalism things.

Why you’re on Gather: My two nerdinesses constantly whirring in my mind are the future of news and how to make friends in adulthood. I love learning about creative ideas for building communities digitally and IRL, and Gather is especially helpful for keeping an eye on projects in progress and lessons learned in that space. It’s a truly pleasant community to have in my Slack.

One thing you want to learn on Gather: One example is how Gatherers have helped with contributions to our project analyzing Facebook group engagement data, and I’d like to continue learning more about what people are experimenting with on the forefront of engaged journalism.

One thing you have to share on Gather: I’m lucky that most people in our industry tend to answer Nieman Lab emails, so I can track down answers to questions about ideas like In the Dark’s donor-only Facebook group (though I promise I know engagement is about more than Facebook groups).

One thing about your work that gets you especially pumped up: After interviewing someone about their idea related to local news, they asked for my thoughts on the idea. I said I was impressed that in our entire conversation, they hadn’t mentioned blockchain once. We laughed, but I think what amps me up about our work is being able to share these nerdinesses and critique/potentially elevate ideas that could make a positive difference.

Who or what inspired you to get into this work: I’ve always been interested in journalism, but reading Melody Warnick’s book “This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live”  crystallized how to play a role in your (adopted or native) hometown as a community builder and appreciator.

Would you rather watch a movie, read a book, or listen to a podcast? Watch a movie so I can knit simultaneously, but only because I’m on a deadline for my current creation — reading a book is a close second!

Links for ways to connect with you. Twitter @NewsbySchmidt; The Nieman Lab Newsletter + my newsletter on making friends in adulthood (
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