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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:

  • SEE YOU IN CHICAGO: Find out where your Gather colleagues are meeting in person next.

  • CASE STUDY: Learn how WBEZ launched Curious City and started the Curious City project.

  • JOB ALERT: Free Press is looking for a Campaign Manager to help them expand their local-journalism project on a national scale.

  • HOT READ: New York Magazine's websites are going behind a paywall.

  • INTROS: Meet Peter Pula, founder of Axiom News.

Connecting with Gather colleagues in person

Slack is great and all, but there’s nothing like shaking actual hands and looking into actual eyeballs.

Some of the Gather community will be connecting in person in Chicago this week at the People Powered Publishing Conference. Here’s a link to the schedule. Those of us who are going can use it to plan our time, and the rest of us can browse wistfully and imagine all we’d learn if we were attending.

You’ll notice some familiar names on Thursday morning’s lineup. Gather executive director Andrew DeVigal, along with project manager Alisha Saville and steering committee member Carrie Brown, will be talking about what we’ve learned through the work of Gather.

One takeaway: Engagement journalists and storytellers are hungry for real-time connection in this often isolated work. We heard that and pivoted to Slack as our conversation space; we've also heard that Lightening Chats offer much needed (digital) face-to-face connection. (Reminder: While we’re thrilled you can now share links to case studies publicly, a bug currently requires members to click the Sign In link in the yellow box.)

Folks who will be in Chicago have been connecting in this Slack thread. Be sure to say hello to Andrew DeVigal or another one of these people in Chicago to get your free Gather sticker. We have them for both name badges and laptops. And help us spread the word about what Gather offers.

We’re thrilled to be connected to the People Powered Publishing Conference, which aligns beautifully with Gather’s goals. They describe their mission in part this way: “This conference aims to provide a space for journalists, civic-engagement practitioners and community storytellers to work together on a shared goal: strengthening the connections between news organizations and the people they cover, in order to create a more collaborative and equitable news and information landscape.”

If you’re hungry for in-person connection, we have another suggestion. Have you checked out Gather’s People Directory for people who live near you? Sort by state/country instead of by institution type, and you’ll find your nearest Gather neighbors.

Of the nine people in Florida besides me, I personally know only three of them. That’s six potential new friends I’ve started to reach out to.

I know there are lots of other Floridians on Gather who just haven’t filled out their profiles yet. Get right on that, would you? Sign in to Gather. Then hover over your name in the top right of Gather, and go to your site profile.


Joy Mayer, Gather community manager

How WBEZ Launched Curious City and Started the Curious Project

By Bridget Thoreson

Jennifer Brandel wanted to know: what would happen if the public was brought in to the editorial process? As an independent producer and reporter at WBEZ in Chicago, the question had weighed on her, and in 2012 she founded Curious City through an initiative with the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR). The one-year experiment solicited questions from the public, which were curated and voted on. The people who asked the questions that were chosen for stories then joined journalists during the reporting process. At the end of the year, WBEZ decided to continue Curious City, and its success led Brandel to start Hearken in 2015.

Read the case study on Gather.

You can now publicly share the 94 case studies and featured projects on Gather with friends and colleagues. Take a look through, and then recommend projects you’d like to see us dig into.

Lightning Chats

Discuss a shared challenge, brainstorm ideas for a project, or learn more about a case study at Gather's lightning chats. You can also subscribe to a lightning chat calendar on Google calendar or on iCal.
  • Revisit some favorites: While we work to plan future lightning chats, take a stroll through the notes and full video from previous chats, which are posted on Gather. Find the full list here. At the top of the list you’ll find October’s two social media-focused chats, looking at how your Gather colleagues use Reddit and Nextdoor as part of their journalism.
Note: The Nov. 29 chat we sent out last week was in error. In fact, it happened last year! If you want to learn about applying to engagement jobs, here’s the chat recap.


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. Here's what's new this week:
  • Campaign Manager, Free Press: "The campaign manager will help expand Free Press’ local-journalism project, News Voices, on a national scale. This will entail exploring and running state-based campaigns to transform local news; coordinating collaborations and workshops with newsrooms and community groups; and building a network of organizations, journalists and activists who work in journalism and community engagement. 

    The campaign manager will be responsible for creating and executing campaign strategies, training reporters on cutting-edge community-engagement strategies, and fostering relationships with Free Press’ growing list of 1.4 million members, hundreds of national and statewide allies, and the broader public to transform how communities stay informed and civically engaged. Our outreach and organizing activities prioritize working with people of color, women and youth." Learn more.

Community Updates

If you haven't joined the Gather Slack community, you're missing out on a lot of brainstorming, advice giving and collaboration. Join here.

Meet Peter Pula, this week's Featured Member.

Name: Peter Pula

What you do: I founded Axiom News almost two decades ago and with that team co-created a practice of Generative Journalism. As far as I can tell we coined the phrase. Then in 2015 I founded a community dialogue initiative in our hometown called the Peterborough Dialogues. Our aim was to bring dialogue and media making together to cultivate generative communities. As it turned out we then had, in Axiom News, a trans-local media work, and in Peterborough Dialogues a local dialogue work. So the dialogue and media were kind of two ships passing in the night. So the job of bringing the two practices together wasn’t quite done. The Peterborough Dialogues though were super successful and have contributed to the deepening of democracy in our city. We’ve since purchased Electric City Magazine with a view to bring engaged journalism and community dialogue into partnership. During our recent municipal election season we hosted six All Citizens Meetings in which we surfaced a generative image of the future shaped by community members.

In the meantime, Axiom News is soon to be reinvigorated as we turn our attention back to trans-local new narrative contributions. We are working on launching a Dialogic Media Making series on Generative Education and Reimagining Democracy. I am also co-founder and a director of the Resonance Centre for Social Evolution. So, all this stuff is in an increasingly interdependent ecology.

Why you’re on Gather: Inspiration. Every time I receive the Gather newsletter I get a lift. I feel excitement about all that is going on in the network and the abundance of giftedness and possibility at work. I feel less crazy. I send the articles to people in my network to cultivate a new narrative with them. From what I can see, Gather is the community leading journalism to its most generative future.

One thing you have to share on Gather: Having had been part of a democratic newsroom working from generative practices I guess I would like to share our experiences and what we’ve learned. I would also like share spaces with anyone who is working on things I care about. It would be fun to collaborate to create a trans-local, federated news network to cultivate a new narrative, to work alongside others to discover the generative story people in communities are living into.

One thing about your work that gets you especially pumped up: Resonance. I love hosting deep dialogue that creates resonance between and amongst people. I get shivers when it happens. There is this moment when you can feel the shift in the room, as people suddenly connect on deeper and higher planes than what everyday discourse offers. That’s the part of the Work I personally feel most drawn to, energized, and nurtured by.

Who or what inspired you to get into this work: It took me a long time to understand this, but a Sacred Wound. I feel called to host hospitable dialogue and discovery spaces in which shy souls are welcomed and held in safety enough that they come out and play, are received in their giftedness, and so find their way to community and contribution that is life giving, nurturing, and fulfilling for them. I have found that most souls are shy, from seemingly on-top-of-the-world executives to people who are imagining their way out of poverty and/or in from the margins. There have certainly been people along the way who have offered those gifts to me. Michelle and Yvonne from the Axiom News team. Folks in the Appreciative Inquiry community. Peter Block. Chuck Peters. Griet Bouwen. And especially my life partner, Jocasta Boone.

Would you rather work in chaos or quiet? I’d rather work in a cycle of rich community connection followed by a reflective, quiet, and sense-making period than be in the same modality or energy consistently.

Links for ways to connect with you.
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