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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:

  • SIGNING OFF: Joy's farewell as she steps down from the Gather staff.

  • HELLO: Alisha Savson is excited to be Gather's next community manager.

  • JOB OPPORTUNITY: The Trace is hiring a community outreach editor.

  • COMMUNITY UPDATES: The biggest news newsletters, best practices for social conversions, fact-checking for non-journalists, and managing audience development at big organizations.

  • HOT LISTEN: Check out This American Life's Pulitzer-winning story, "The Out Crowd."

  • INTROS: Meet Alisha Savson, Gather's community manager.

Thank you, Gather


When my career shifted to focus on engagement work about a decade ago, I spent a lot of time explaining what my job was, what my vision for journalism was and why it felt like it mattered so very much. I spent a lot of time requesting respect and a seat at the table. I dreamed of having colleagues with a similar vision and got ridiculously excited when I talked to another journalist who GOT IT. 

That was life before Gather. In those days, I had no idea how to find someone to explain a Facebook setting, or to guide me as I fumbled my way through community callouts, comment moderation, and hosting events. 

It’s been three years (not 4.5, as I somehow typed in last week’s newsletter) since I wrote a Medium post about Gather’s upcoming launch. In it, I wrote about my “belief that this emerging community of practice deserves a place to connect, learn, share and grow.”

Thank goodness for Andrew DeVigal and his vision to create that place. Thank goodness for our early steering committee and the participants at Elevate Engagement for shaping the vision and creating something real. And thank goodness for all of you who showed up. I don’t have to dwell on life before Gather. I can just be grateful that I’m less lonely, more connected, better informed and more confident in my engagement work because of what I continue to learn from all of you. 

I founded Trusting News the year before I started working with Gather, but it was just a part-time project at the time. I was thrilled to work on both endeavors. As Trusting News has grown, I’ve worked hard to make time for Gather. But the time just isn’t there anymore, and Gather deserves someone who can give it more than I’m able to these days. 

I’m sad (and sappy) that today is my last as Gather’s community manager. But I’m also excited for Gather’s future, which is in great hands. I’ll continue to be a member of Gather’s steering committee, and I look forward to continuing to chat with you all on Slack. 

Thank you, sincerely, for making my engagement work less lonely.
 

Joy Mayer, Director of Trusting News

Hello from Gather's next community manager


This is cheesy but true: My life shifted three years ago (this month!) because of a chance encounter. I was on the national outreach team for a documentary, and in 2017 I supported Rocky Mountain PBS to use the film in a civic dialogue series. When I told my contact Amber Rivera that I lived in Oregon, she said, “There’s a great event happening soon called Elevate Engagement.” She paused. “Want to come?”

I was nearby and intrigued, and it was affordable. (Thank you, organizing team!) I attended on a whim.

I didn’t expect to find my people at Elevate Engagement. Folks who believed that journalism was one “vital organ in the public body” and who wanted to transform journalism’s relationship with community to become more relational, more equitable and more about possibility.

The people I met and ideas I encountered have shaped the last three years of my life. That’s why I applied to the U. of Oregon’s master’s program in Multimedia Journalism (Andrew DeVigal co-directs the program) and why I’ve been able to work on Gather behind-the-scenes with Joy and Andrew since 2018.

I’m honored and excited to be Gather’s next community manager. I look forward to supporting you to connect, share, learn and grow, just as Joy has for three years, and to help ya’ll deepen these connections.

Reach out with questions, ideas, or hellos anytime at alisha@alishasavson.com.

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. Here's what's coming up:
  • Tuesday, May 12, 1pm ET // When civic conversations need to go digital: The Local Voices Network (LVN) supports resident volunteers to host mainly in-person civic conversations. With the pivot to digital, Max Resnik and Parisa Parsa of Cortico share what they've learned about hosting meaningful small-group civic conversations on Zoom. Join us on Zoom at 1pm ET / 10am PT for a 30-minute chat. Click here to add this to your Google Calendar.


Jobs, Fellowships, and Funding


Shoutout to Akoto Ofori-Atta for posting this opportunity! (Akoto is the managing editor at The Trace.) Share other opportunities and relief resources on the #jobsandfunding Slack.

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. Deadline: Friday, May 8.
 


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.
Hot Read: "The Out Crowd" by This American Life. This story won the 2020 Pulitzer for audio reporting. (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 Alisha Savson, this week's Featured Member.


Name: Alisha Savson

What you do: I’m Gather’s new community manager & a graduate student in Multimedia Journalism at the U. of Oregon. (Though based in Ithaca, NY.)

Why you're on Gather: After a career so far in arts education, community organizing, and documentary engagement, I know transformative change starts with deeply listening to, seeing and connecting with people — and that journalism can play a powerful role in this. I deeply believe in the work ya’ll do.   

One thing you want to learn on Gather: I’m cheating and saying two! First, I’m a process nerd and love seeing how ya’ll facilitate your civic conversations, design your projects and envision engagement strategies to best honor people’s attention, energy and lived experience. Second, I’m very curious about the intersections between: engaged journalism and multimedia production, EJ and social practice art, and EJ and Asian diaspora narratives & mental health.

One thing you have to share on Gather: A simple explanatory video that explains EJ to a total layperson - with toy dinosaurs.

One thing about your work that gets you especially pumped up: Seeing how ya'll share your generosity, knowledge and creative energy with each other and with your communities.

Who or what inspired you to get into this work? Everyone I met who attended Elevate Engagement in 2017 (including Andrew DeVigal and Joy Mayer) + Community: The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block and Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown.

Would you rather attend a huge party or have a small, intimate gathering? The only large groups I love are dance parties (where the point isn’t to talk) or structured games or performance art pieces. Otherwise give me one-on-ones or small gatherings any day. I want to chat about your nerdy delights, ‘impossible’ dreams, and ideas that give you energy!

Links for ways to connect with you.
alisha@alishasavson.com
Instagram (a personal account) @alishasavson
Gather Slack @alishasavson
(I technically have Twitter but its true purpose is for listening.)
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