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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:

  • NEW! A “Gather guide” to help you explain why engagement matters for better journalism.

  • JOB ALERT: Apply for two temporary contract positions at Electionland.

  • COMMUNITY UPDATES: Santa Cruz Local reaches 500 members, a guide on rehab by Reveal, SWI abolishes comments in favor of conversations, hyperlocal promo, and more.

  • HOT READ: “Winter is coming: Why America’s window of opportunity to beat back Covid-19 is closing.”

  • INTROS: We’re temporarily pausing our Featured Member profiles to better reflect the diversity of our community.

Gather Guide: “Start Here: Engaging Your Communities for Better Journalism”

Over the past few years, we’ve heard many of you express challenges with how to get (or give) a quick overview of what engaged journalism is, exactly. We’ve felt this struggle too. Speaking for myself, I’ve been trying to succinctly describe what engaged journalism is and why it matters since 2017. Most of the time I give a meandering speech that doesn’t quite create a full picture. (My latest attempt to explain led to this explanatory video - with toy dinosaurs.)

That’s why I’m excited to share our first Gather Guide, Start Here: Engaging Your Communities for Better Journalism.  

It’s a short, accessible overview of:
  • What is Engaged Journalism?
  • What’s the point of Engaged Journalism?
  • How do I start engaging with communities?
  • How do I know if I’m doing it already?
  • Tools and resources

Maia Laperle, an educator and graduate student at the University of Oregon, wrote the guide and illustrated it beautifully. Here’s what she has to say about the experience:
"It was challenging to write a guide about a practice that means so many different things to so many different people, but I loved getting the chance to dive deeply into the fundamentals of engaged journalism in this way. Spending extra time sitting with all of the wonderful resources available on these basic principles of engagement has deepened my appreciation and understanding of this work. I hope this guide will provide a tool for those who are just learning about engagement as well as those looking to reinforce their engagement foundations as the practice evolves. I’m also excited to see how the guide continues to evolve along with it through feedback from our community!"

Maia is creating several of these short guides for our community this year - an idea that came out of your responses to our 2019 Gather survey and informal listening sessions at conferences. If you have feedback on this Gather Guide, or suggestions for other aspects of engaged journalism that could use a short overview, I’d love to hear from you.

We hope this guide is helpful for educators, journalists, and others who want to offer a quick overview of what engaged journalism is and why it matters. Check out Start Here: Engaging Your Communities for Better Journalism, and share with anyone who asks you, “What is engaged journalism anyway?”

Alisha Savson, Gather community manager

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:

Aug. 25, 2pm ET // When to end a (beloved) print product - and what that opens up: Last month Scalawag announced the end of their print publication - a bittersweet decision that also opens new possibilities. Why did they make this decision, from an engagement and financial standpoint? How did they do it? And what engagement opportunities does this open up going forward? Join Lovey Cooper, Scalawag’s Managing Editor, to hear about their process. Register on Zoom for a 30-minute conversation at 2pm ET / 11am PT. Click here to add this to your Google Calendar.

Jobs, Fellowships, and Funding

Shoutout to Rachel Glickhouse for posting this on Slack! (Reach out to Rachel with questions about the job.) Check out the #jobsandinternships and #grantsandfunding Slack channels to see what other opportunities Gatherers are sharing.

Electionland Tip Desk (9/1 - 11/3), ProPublica: “ProPublica is looking for a journalist to join Electionland, one of the largest collaborative reporting projects in the United States. You’ll help local reporters identify voting trends in their area and across the country from data Electionland collects. You’ll package these as news tips, sending them to local reporters. You’ll also help local reporters research and report out their stories so that strapped local newsrooms can still facilitate quality elections coverage.” Part-time position also available. Location: U.S. remote. Deadline: 8/23

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.
  • 500 members: Santa Cruz Local just reached 500 members! CEO Kara Meyberg Guzman wrote about their accomplishments and how community engagement was key to their success.
  • Guide on rehab: David Rodriguez at Reveal shares how his engagement work around the podcast series American Rehab led to this quick guide to support families and individuals caught up in our country’s rehab system. Read his story on Slack.
  • No comments, yes conversations: Patrick Boehler shared how SWI is “abolishing comments” in order to focus on “starting conversations.” Has your org done something similar, or are you hoping to make that change? Join the conversation on Slack.
  • Hyperlocal promo: A Gatherer wants to know, “What are some hyperlocal newsletter promo strategies that don’t require social posts?” Share your tips here.
  • Advice on training: A Gatherer wants to talk with folks who “has rolled out training or social content production/storytelling for non-journalist teams.” Share your experience here!
  • Video views down: Did you experience a significant decrease in Facebook video views in July? Do you know what’s going on? Share here.

Hot Read:  "Winter is coming: Why America’s window of opportunity to beat back Covid-19 is closing" by Helen Branswell at STAT. (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.)


Temporary pause on Featured Member profiles.

As we have been making a variety of improvements to Gather, we have also been exploring how Gather can meet this moment and consider the ways structural racism shows up in our processes, and recognized the need for a “pause” in this section.

We wrote more about what led to this pause last week but for those who missed it, we are working to integrate a better system for featuring Gatherers that reflects the diversity of our community, and
 represent who’s part of Gather as a whole - and not just on Slack.

Is there a Gatherer you’d love to see featured? Please recommend them by emailing me (Alisha Savson) or DM’ing me on Twitter or Slack!
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