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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:

  • IT’S ONA AWARDS TIME: The ONA Gather Award has updated guidelines and revised categories this year. Check out the changes - and apply!

  • JOB OPPORTUNITY: The American Journalism Project is looking for a Startups Associate.

  • COMMUNITY UPDATES: New Slack channels for #trust and #asia, tracking real-world impact, engagement around misinformation, online facilitation resources, meeting COVID-19 info needs in Spanish, and mapping journalism on TikTok.

  • HOT READ: "How engaged journalists are serving communities throughout COVID-19."

  • INTROS: Meet Sarah Pineda, the Engagement Producer for the KQED Arts & Culture desk.

Apply for the newly updated ONA Gather Award!

Last year we were excited to debut the first-ever ONA award for engaged journalism, dubbed the ONA Gather Award in honor of this community. The seven finalists and two inaugural winners—Southern California Public Radio and City Bureau's—were highlighted for their committed and imaginative community-engagement work. 

We learned a lot from trying to define engagement for the award’s criteria - namely, how hard it is! We needed guidelines that were specific enough to reflect engagement’s values, but not so specific that they constricted which projects could be considered. This year we updated the language based on the judges’ feedback to get closer to the core of what defines engagement work.

Here’s the updated description for this year’s award:

This award honors people, projects, and processes that center community information needs and voices in the production of journalistic work. Entries should emphasize the following:

  • Which communities the newsroom was trying to reach with the submitted project and why
  • How decisions were made to best engage with these communities
  • How the project’s process met people where they are (geography, language, accessibility, identity, platform, etc.) and worked to understand what information communities needed
  • How the project established innovative pathways for communities to contribute meaningfully to the reporting

We’ve also amended the two award categories:
  • Overall Excellence: This award recognizes projects that exhibit the highest standards of effective community engagement and impact. This award is open to newsrooms of all sizes. ($2,500 prize).
  • Micro/Small Newsrooms: Limited resources can lead to some of the most creative engagement strategies. This award honors newsrooms of 50 employees or less in small markets and rural communities exhibiting outstanding effort to engage with hard-to-reach or underrepresented communities. ($2,500 prize).

We’d love to hear your thoughts. If you’re grappling with how your project might fit into these categories, let us know. The call for entries for the 2020 Online Journalism Awards is open through Thursday, June 4 at 11:59pm EDT. Pieces published between June 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020 are eligible to enter. Read more and apply! We’re excited to honor more imaginative and responsive engagement work this year.

Alisha Savson, Gather community manager & Andrew DeVigal, Gather executive director

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:

We’re working on setting up future lightning chats. In the meantime, have you learned something in your work that you want to share with fellow Gatherers? Are there engagement process pivots you've made during COVID-19 that you're especially proud of? Email me at and let's talk!

Jobs, Fellowships, and Funding

Shoutout to Gonzalo del Peon for posting this opportunity! (Gonzalo works at AJP and welcomes questions about the job.) Share other opportunities and relief resources on the #jobsandfunding Slack.

Associate, Startups, American Journalism Project: “The American Journalism Project is seeking an associate to join its startup team in researching local news markets, developing concepts for sustainable civic news organizations, and providing ongoing strategic and operational support to organizations as they launch. We are seeking someone who can thrive in a multifaceted role that requires quick study of new concepts, and who will approach research and problem-solving with creativity and tenacity.” Location: Flexible.

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.
  • #trust and #asia: Please welcome the newest channels on Gather slack! #trust is helmed by Joy Mayer (naturally) and Patrick Boehler is stewarding #asia
  • Tracking real-world impact: If real-world impact is part of your organization’s mission—say, getting a law changed—how can you track that beyond inconsistent anecdotes? Join the conversation.
  • Engagement around misinformation: Several Gatherers shared examples of how media outlets are engaging their communities around misinformation. Check it out.
  • Online facilitation: If you’re looking for some excellent facilitation resources (plus a Zoom hack for breakout rooms), the #advocates channel has got you covered. Start with these links.
  • Meeting COVID-19 info needs in Spanish: Read Madeleine Bair's reflection on how El Tímpano has pivoted to meet community information needs in Oakland.
  • Journalism on TikTok: Gatherer Francesco Zaffarano is compiling a “crowd-sourced directory of publishers, journalists, and orgs” on TikTok. Here’s the growing list and you can submit your account here.
Hot Read: "How engaged journalists are serving communities throughout COVID-19" by Melissa DiPento on Medium. (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 Sarah Pineda, this week's Featured Member.

Name: Sarah Pineda

What you do: Engagement producer for KQED Arts & Culture desk (Bay Area’s NPR/PBS affiliate).

Why you’re on Gather: There’s this popular Lady Gaga meme video of her listing what she loves about Ryan Murphy: “Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before, unafraid to reference or not reference...” And I 100% feel this towards everyone on Gather. All the Gather members are doing such great work in and around engaged journalism and I love learning and meeting all these inspirational folks.

One thing you want to learn on Gather: I’ve been working at KQED for a little over a month now, and the majority of my job is focused on social media strategy. I want to learn more from the social media folks on how they do things in their newsrooms/organizations and how I can continue to get better in my work.

One thing you have to share on Gather: I have experience building callouts on different engagement platforms and how to efficiently share them out online through different mediums. It’s always important you are intentional with the community you are trying to hear from and avoid parachuting.

One thing about your work that gets you especially pumped up: I’m originally from Southern California, so I’m excited to learn, hear, and share the stories of folks from the Bay Area. We collaborate with many independent artists who have such inspiring stories connected to their communities in the Bay that I’m excited to learn more about.

Who or what inspired you to get into this work? I decided to pursue journalism because I felt there was a need for stories about people who look like me by people who look like me. I started my engaged journalism career at KPCC/LAist when I got to work with the amazing Ashley Alvarado, and I can’t see myself doing anything else.

Would you rather watch a movie, read a book, or listen to a podcast? Watch a movie, or tv show. I’ve binge watched “The Office” a hundred times now (and will continue for a hundred more) but my go-to quarantine show at the moment is 90 Day Fiancé.

Links for ways to connect with you. 
Send me an email at, find me on Twitter and Instagram.
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