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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:

  • LEARN: How did the ONA Gather Award finalists' work come about?

  • SURVEY RECAP: What is a topic, skill or project type that you would like to see Gather address?

  • JOB ALERT: The Marshall Project is looking for a Director of Audience Strategy.

  • HOT READ: A. G. Sulzberger, publisher of The New York Times, shares his perspective on the state of journalism worldwide.

  • INTROS: Meet Molly Stier, a growth editor at Quartz.

Sit up and take notice of these impressive projects 


Most of us would probably say we’d like to spend more time on developing and expanding our skillset. Especially with a field as new as engaged journalism, we HAVE to keep learning from each other and evolving our own best practices. 

That’s certainly one of the principles that stood out in early conversations (back in 2015) about what would become Gather. How can we help the people working in this space to connect with and learn from each other? How can we build on what we collectively already know, so we advance the practice of this important work?

Well, now’s a good time to invest in your own learning. The work of you and your peers was just in the national spotlight, as the Online News Association gave out the first Gather Award in Engaged Journalism. How about taking this opportunity to hear what went into this journalism? 

The links below will take you to descriptions of each submission. We’ve also hosted lightning chats with the people behind almost all of the work, and we’re linking to those video replays and text summaries for you to watch or read. (As always, Gather links require a login. Request one here if you don’t have one.)

Portfolio Finalists:

Project Finalists:

These projects provide meaningful examples of how important engagement work is to this industry. We hope they can serve as inspiration, as blueprints and as evidence for skeptical colleagues. As City Bureau’s engagement guidelines state: “We believe community engagement is a pillar of journalism — it’s not a tool, single job, one-off project or a means to saving traditional news institutions.”

Joy Mayer, Gather community manager

Survey highlight: What is a topic, skill or project type that you would like to see Gather address?

This summer, we asked you to tell us about yourself, how you use Gather and how you’d like to see this community evolve. Each week for awhile, we’ll share some highlights from what we heard. 

Q: What is a topic, skill or project type that you would like to see Gather address?

  • Money: Business models, sustainability, marketing, budgeting
  • How to get things done with small newsrooms/limited resources 
  • Workplace buy-in and culture change 
  • Metrics: data and how to learn about our audience 
  • Mental health and self-care 
  • Engagement fundamentals, best practices and explaining what we do
  • Engagement for TV newsrooms
  • Engagement in niche media (i.e. science)
  • Grant writing
  • Engagement lessons from outside journalism
  • Careers: Education, skill development, career paths
  • Engaging remotely
  • Diversity in sourcing and engagement
Do you have a suggestion for addressing these topics, or something you’d like to add to the list? Reply to this newsletter.
 
 

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.
  • Thursday, Oct. 3, 2-2:30 pm ET // THE CITIZENS AGENDA FOR ELECTION COVERAGE: What if you based your election coverage on what your community has told you they actually want candidates to be talking about as they compete for votes? Join Brittany Schock of Richland Source, Bridget Thoreson of Hearken and Joy Mayer of Trusting News as they talk about what that process actually looks like and what they hope it achieves. (Read more about The Citizens Agenda here.) Join us on Zoom, and get more details in this calendar event.
 


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.

Director of Audience Strategy, The Marshall Project: “The Marshall Project seeks an accomplished audience development expert to help us understand our readership, attract new audiences and deepen our engagement with them. We hope to enlarge the number of people who care about criminal justice reform and to create a sustainable stream of revenue from our audience. This person in this position will serve as the digital leader for the business side of The Marshall Project, reporting to the president, with a dual report to the editor-in-chief and close ties to the newsroom.” Location: NYC
 


Community Updates


If you haven't joined the Gather Slack community, you're missing out on a lot of brainstorming, advice giving and collaboration. Seriously. Join here.
  • Brainstorming the archives: Teddy Amenabar asked for examples of great projects involving archive photos, and the resulting thread is so much fun. (Time machine newsletter, anyone?) Join the conversation on Slack.
     
  • Growing pains: As our Slack workspace grows (we just passed 1,100 members), we’re considering how to keep it manageable and are looking for inspiration from other communities. Are you in other large Slacks? Tell us about that experience here.
     
  • Newsletter publishing: Do you put your newsletters on your website? What factors should you consider as you decide whether to do that? Join the conversation on Slack.
     
  • Social media resource: Adriana Lacy gave a talk to college students about how to leverage social media for reporting and personal use, and she shared her slides on Slack.
     
  • Outreach opportunity: The News Literacy Project is looking for journalists willing to be connected with teachers and students for conversations about how journalism and journalists work. Apply here to be a journalist volunteer, and if you have questions about the program, email journalists@newslit.org.
     
  • Hot Read: "Opinion: The Growing Threat to Journalism Around the World" by A. G. Sulzberger, the publisher of 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 Molly Stier, this week's Featured Member.


Name: Molly Stier

What you do: I'm a growth editor at Quartz, which means I do lots of different things every day to reach new readers and strengthen our relationship with our loyal ones. While social media and audience work has always been my one true love, I have a background in reporting, editing, and fact-checking.

Why you’re on Gather: To learn about how other smart folks navigate this weird, wonderful, innovative, experimental, newish world of audience growth and engagement in a digital space.

One thing you want to learn on Gather: I'd like to learn how to pump editorial teams up about useful data they can take with them to inform and guide their work—without inhibiting their creative processes. Numbers can be intimidating, boring, and/or scary, but my goal is to tell a compelling, motivating story by using those figures as a guide.

One thing you have to share on Gather: Communities like Gather are so important. Many times our jobs are confusing and misunderstood, so it's empowering to validate each other's work and foster a collaborative space in an already challenging industry.

One thing about your work that gets you especially pumped up: I love that I work in a space that allows me to experiment. Starting and following one big project from beginning to end and tracking its progress throughout is deeply satisfying—even if the results always aren't. It's a privilege to work in a field where failures are viewed as a productive part of the process.

Who or what inspired you to get into this work? My introductory journalism professor started the first day of class by criticizing objectivity and making us watch Jeff Daniels' opening monologue from the pilot of The Newsroom. (An excellent monologue! The rest of the series is...polarizing for good reason.) From there, I was hooked.

Would you rather watch a movie, read a book, or listen to a podcast? I'm a podcast junkie. My current favorites are The New York Times’ 1619, The Dave Chang Show, NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, and Vox's Switched on Pop. Send me your recs!

Links for ways to connect with you.
Email: mstier@qz.com or molly.stier@gmail.com
Twitter: @mollystier
 
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