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Gather is a project + platform to support community-minded journalists and other engagement professionals. We’d love your feedback. What's useful? What's missing? Let us know

In this week's newsletter:

  • ETHICS: Engaging with communities requires more nuanced ethical guidelines. Help us craft those guidelines starting today.

  • JOB ALERT: PublicSource in Pittsburgh seeks an Audience Strategist, and Forum dot eu is looking for a Community Manager.

  • COMMUNITY UPDATES: Analytics on comments, responding to critiques of racism, back-tracking a link, and more.

  • HOT READ: "A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human?"

  • INTROS: We’re taking our time to update our backend processes. In the meantime, do you have experience setting up an intentional workflow to highlight your members?

Share your insights on “Participate & Collaborate” ethical scenarios

Earlier this year, we were set to launch a series of Lightning Chats to talk about how engaging communities presents unique ethical challenges for journalists doing the work. The global pandemic forced us to pause those Lightning Chats, but there's always a silver lining. 

Pausing helped us consider how to frame our next step to allow you to participate at your pace. So instead of asking for real-time participation, we are launching a series of written prompts in our Gather Slack to get your feedback and insights. 

Here's how it works. We’ve created the following temporary Gather Slack channels, each with their own theme, to generate conversation around three types of “ethics scenarios:”
  1. Now Live! #Ethics_participateandcollaborate (10 questions - see below)
  2. Launching Sept 16: #Ethics_useofcontent (4 questions)
  3. Launching Sept 23: #Ethics_advocacy (1 question)
From today through September 25, we invite you to react to these scenarios, and, specifically, we want to know if you’ve ever faced a similar ethical dilemma and how you resolved it. Or if you're willing, share lessons learned when actions negatively impacted the communities you were engaging with. 

Our goal for this project is the same as before the pandemic - to create a document that will serve as the beginnings of a “living guide” for the Ethics of Engaged journalism. Lynn Walsh, SPJ's Ethics Chair, will moderate the Slack discussions, analyze the outcomes, and draft the report for the Gather community (which will also be linked to from SPJ's website).

We value your and your communities' expertise and insights and look forward to learning from these Slack conversations throughout this month. Start with the 10 Ethical Scenarios on Participation/Collaboration today, and look for the next scenarios launching next week.

Andrew DeVigal, Gather executive director

10 Ethical Scenarios on Participate/Collaborate
  1. When engaging with community members, journalists should consider disclosing the following
  2. When launching an engagement project or asking for feedback from users, is it acceptable for journalists to target specific audiences because they know it could bring in advertising dollars, sponsorships or there is a potential for rating increase?
  3. Should journalists be inviting members in positions of power into conversations they are hosting (police, government officials, school officials, politicians, etc.)?
  4. Should community members participate in engagement projects where they perform aspects of journalism (newsgathering, creation/production, etc.)?
  5. Should we be compensating members of our community for participating in our conversations and investing their time to provide feedback?
  6. Should journalists partner with businesses, companies or nonprofits for events (online or IRL)?
  7. If you are embarking on a project (for example, police use of force) should you give appropriate credit to community organizations or activists who have already done the reporting, engagement, etc. on the issue in your reporting?
  8. Let’s say your newsroom is about to start working on a story and would like to get feedback from the community for it. What should you be considering before you launch the engagement project or start outreach?
  9. When hosting a conversation space, should journalists have community guidelines, comment policies?
  10. When thinking about what stories to cover and other coverage decisions journalists make, should community members be involved in the process or influence these decisions?

Lightning Chats

Discuss a shared challenge, brainstorm ideas for a project, or learn more about a case study! You can subscribe to a lightning chat calendar on Google calendar or on iCal or revisit past chats in the archive (login for full access). Here's what's coming up:

Sept. 15, 2pm ET // Media 2070 for media reparations: Free Press is launching “Media 2070,” an in-depth research essay and organizing hub that documents and analyzes the history of media harm. Join Alicia Bell from Free Press to hear about the origins and goals of the project, how they plan to engage their communities, and how you can join. Register on Zoom for a 30-minute conversation at 2pm ET / 11am PT. Click here to add this to your Google Calendar.

ONA SESSION - Oct. 16, 10:30am - 11:15am ET // From participation to collaboration: building power with communities: This session is designed for journalists looking to understand how to build power with communities. How do we move engagement beyond public participation and acknowledge and amplify the power that communities hold through journalism collaboration? Join Stefanie Murray of Center for Cooperative Media, Heather Bryant of Project Facet, and Alicia Bell of News Voices to discuss how we can strategize and re-imagine the relationships we build with the public we serve. Register for ONA 2020 to join.


Jobs, Fellowships, and Funding

Shoutout to Eba Hamid-Rivera and Thomas Seymat for posting these on Slack! Check out the #jobsandinternships and #grantsandfunding Slack channels to see what other opportunities Gatherers are sharing.

Audience Strategist, PublicSource: “The Audience Strategist will bolster our efforts to produce quality journalism that matters to our readers, listeners and community at-large and will allow us to continue building a membership program that is key to our sustainability​.” Duties include analytics, newsletter, social media and SEO, and community engagement. Location: Pittsburgh. NOTE: Links to Slack with a PDF of the full description. If you’re not on Slack, email me and I’ll send you the PDF.

Community Manager, Forum dot eu: “Forum dot eu is looking for a passionate and results-oriented Community Manager to be the first point of contact for Forum’s community and drive its engagement. You are self-motivated, enthusiastic, and keen to develop a career within a growing team while helping to shape the future and direction of Forum and the European public sphere.” Location: Berlin.

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. Sign up as a Gather member to join Slack.
  • Analytics for comments: Who out there is producing analytics reports on commenting? What do you measure? How do you adjust your work based on the data? Join the conversation.                                                                                                                                             
  • Responding to critiques of racism: If you manage a Facebook group where community members say coverage of a specific issue is racist, how can you respond as a moderator? Share here.
  • Back-tracking a link: One Gatherer asks, “Is there any way to work backwards from a link with a fbclid parameter to find out what Facebook post the link came from?” Have an answer? Pop it here!
  • Social media policy: A Gatherer is revamping their social media policy and looking for examples. Share yours here.
  • The Atlantic & trust: Joy Mayer points out how The Atlantic could have explained why they used anonymous sources on a recent story. Read more on the #trust channel.
  • An oops email: How do you respond when you accidentally send a random email? Acknowledge it? Don’t? Here’s one example response.
  • Email courses: Have you started an email course, or do you have a list of examples to share? A Gatherer wants to know.

Hot Read: "A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human?" by Artificial intelligence (AI) for The Guardian’s Opinion section. (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.) 

Asking for advice

As our Featured Members section is on pause, I’m looking for examples of how other communities designed their workflows to highlight their members in a more intentional and equitable way. Now that we have more than 2,000 Gatherers from the website and Slack combined, I’d love to build a better process for choosing who to feature here each week.

Do you have experience setting up an intentional workflow to highlight your members? I’d love to hear from you! Please DM me on Slack or email me.
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