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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:

  • DEI AUDITS: Three suggestions if you’re starting from square one.

  • OPPORTUNITIES: KTOO and The Salt Lake Tribune are hiring Digital Editors.

  • COMMUNITY UPDATES: Financing listening without big grants, demonstrating experience with designing trainings, creating newsletters as educational tools, and more. 

  • HOT READ: “In countries keeping the coronavirus at bay, experts watch U.S. case numbers with alarm.”

  • INTROS: Meet Michelle Faust Raghavan, the West Coast Region Manager at the Solutions Journalism Network.

DEI Audits: Three small ways to get started

Two Gatherers generously shared their experiences with DEI assessments in their newsrooms after last week’s newsletter covered the topic.

One person is from a midsize public media newsroom that is about to conduct their first source-and-content audit. She and a few colleagues decided to pursue the project after attending a grant-mandated diversity training in June 2019; it took a year to research examples, make the case to leadership, and design the scope of the audit. 

The other is Caroline Bauman from Chalkbeat; the nonprofit newsroom recently finished their first audit of two recurring features and is thinking about how to better incorporate these assessments into their ongoing workflow. The project began when Editor-in-Chief Bene Cipolla made these assessments a priority more than a year ago; Chalkbeat  subsequently assembled a DEI taskforce and decided to continue tracking the two specific series while exploring how to also expand the scope.

Both offered three easy ways to get started:

  1. Find 1-3 collaborators. It’s much easier to think through ideas, make plans, and build momentum when you’re not the only one invested in bringing DEI audits into your newsroom. That said, it does help to have one person steering the work. 
  1. Revisit your mission statement and strategic plan. You can point to your newsroom’s written commitment to diversity, equity, and/or inclusion as you start conversations to build buy-in. At the end of the day, these audits are about better serving your communities.  
  1. If it’s just you, start looking at your stories for one month. This is a great, bite-sized way to test the process. Compare your results to the demographics of the place you’re trying to cover, identify what DEI questions you want to answer for yourself, and share what you learned and how it connects to the newsroom as a whole. This can help you make the case for further investment.

As you get going, remember to start small. “It’s interesting how overwhelming it feels to do a source audit,” says Caroline. By starting small, you can build on your successes and gain momentum for bigger, more structural change. “An audit is a first step,” says the Gatherer at the midsize public media newsroom. “It’s hard to have a meaningful conversation [about DEI] if you don’t know exactly where you are.” 

Alisha Savson, Gather community manager

NOTE: I’m out of the office this week. Have ideas or feedback? Please reach out to Gather’s executive director Andrew DeVigal by email or Slack DMs.

Lightning Chats

Discuss a shared challenge, brainstorm ideas for a project, or learn more about a case study during Gather's video lightning chats. You can also subscribe to a lightning chat calendar on Google calendar or on iCal

Stay tuned for chats on:
  • Audience vs. Community
  • A DEI Audit is a First Step
  • Incorporating DEI Audits Into Your Workflow 

Jobs, Fellowships, and Funding

Shoutout to Alex Veeneman for posting these on Slack! Check out the #jobsandfunding Slack to see what other opportunities Gatherers are sharing.

Digital Editor, KTOO: “KTOO is looking for a talented and curious digital journalist to help our Juneau, Alaska-based newsroom shine. About 50% of your time will be spent posting and sharing news content online. The other half of the job will be spent working on a digital focus that you will help define.” Location: Starts remote; eventual relocation to Juneau, AK. 

Digital Editor, The Salt Lake Tribune: “The Salt Lake Tribune is looking for a digital editor to guide our online strategy, dive deep into our analytics and work closely with journalists in all facets of our exciting nonprofit organization. This vital employee leads a team that shares our journalism through our homepage, mobile apps, social media, push notifications, newsletters and more.” Location: Salt Lake City.

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
  • Financing listening without big grants: A Gatherer shared The Oaklandside’s inspiring recap of their startup process, and another member voiced admiration along with a question: “I just wonder how other, local endeavors to build better community engagement can be financed, if they can't rely on such a big grant?” Do you have experiences or examples to share?
  • Demonstrating experience in designing trainings: A Gatherer asked “How can I ‘show my work’” with designing training programs or leadership programming? “I don't know how to present my portfolio in this area and was recently asked to demonstrate my teaching experience.” Join the conversation on Slack.                                                                                     
  • Examples of newsletters as an educational tool: A Gatherer inquired, “My organization is interested in putting together a newsletter series as an educational tool to showcase some of our older, evergreen articles. I’m a fan of Voraciously, the Washington Post newsletter “lesson” series on vegetarian cooking, and am wondering if there are other examples of that format.”’ Do you have suggestions? Join the conversation on Slack.                                                                                         
  • Timing virtual events to optimize audience engagement: A Gatherer asked, “Any best practices on timing of virtual events with readers? Will folks come during a workday for a none B2B-type event? We’re on the West Coast, so it makes things a little tricky. (Have someone join you from Europe and it gets even trickier!) Thanks in advance for any advice you might be able to pass along!” Chime in on Slack.

Hot Read: "In countries keeping the coronavirus at bay, experts watch U.S. case numbers with alarm" by Rick Noack at The Washington Post. (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 Michelle Faust Raghavan, this week's Featured Member.

Name: Michelle Faust Raghavan

What you do: I train and support newsrooms in the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Nevada and Washington in best practices for solutions journalism.

Why you’re on Gather: I believe engaged journalism and solutions journalism can elevate the relevance and reach of our reporting. Good engaged and solutions journalism can also highlight the voices of parts of the community that journalism has traditionally ignored.
I also see a need for a public square for journalists to come together and share what is (and is not) working. Gather is a forum for these things.

One thing you want to learn on Gather: I’m always interested in what is working to connect newsrooms with the communities they serve. Especially during a pandemic and in times of civil unrest, we need to share and help one another to refine and improve our journalistic practice. As an industry, we must be a better neighbor and advocate for our communities.

One thing you have to share on Gather: I can share a decade of public media reporting experience most of which was on the health beat.

One thing about your work that gets you especially pumped up: Solutions journalism is a vital part of the work and mission of journalism. Reporters who effectively use the tools of solutions journalism will gain and maintain their audience’s attention and trust. We must pay attention to ways our communities can improve and growth, as well as recognize that all communities have agency and power and strive to be better.

Who or what inspired you to get into this work? Kermit the Frog was the first reporter to get my attention as a child. As I matured, strong journalists of color who paved the way for me to be in this industry were the ones I admired, people like Ray Suarez and Gwen Ifill. Now, many of my colleagues continue to inspire me. 

Would you rather be able to talk with animals or speak all foreign languages? I would love to be a hyperpolyglot and be able to talk to whomever I encountered. I love to hear and tell stories. If language were no barrier, I could experience so much more of the world’s possibilities.

Links for ways to connect with you. I’m @MicheReports on pretty much all social media platforms.
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