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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: Do you or your newsroom have experience with internal DEI assessments? 

  • OPPORTUNITIES: The AIR New Voices Fellowship application is due Friday, and Reveal seeks a digital engagement editor.

  • COMMUNITY UPDATES: Talking with your community about race, community advisory boards, difficult-to-find reporter contacts, long-term strategy for COVID newsletters, and more.

  • HOT READ: "Newsrooms Are in Revolt. The Bosses Are in Their Country Houses."

  • INTROS: Meet Francesco Zaffarano, senior social media editor at The Telegraph.

DEI Audits in Newsrooms


Last week, a Gatherer messaged me this question: 

“I would love to hear from other colleagues about how they’re doing DEI [Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion] audits. Doing them for my newsrooms (now and on an ongoing basis) is very high on my list of priorities right now, but I’m struggling to come up with the right rubric and process.”


I posed the question in #culturechange on Slack and to Gather’s ModSquad and steering committee. Reading through everyone’s responses revealed three key realities for conducting DEI assessments:

  1. There are many different processes a newsroom could decide to audit and track: Are you looking at your sources? Your current staff? Your newsroom’s leadership? Your hiring, promotion, and retention practices? Your story topics? Etc. “Each of these is a different process entirely to track and bear out,” says Emma Carew Grovum, a consultant and trainer on DEI matters (among other topics).
     
  2. It is a resource-intensive lift. I know this from my previous experience in social change nonprofits, and Emma mentioned that these processes nearly always need an outside consultant to guide and hold the process.
     
  3. The capacity and resource investment means there needs to be buy-in from the top. This is especially true when it comes to looking internally.  
I’m still digging into resources for newsrooms and will set up at least one lightning chat (perhaps a longer chat) soon. For now, here’s a starter list of DEI audit examples from various newsrooms: If you have resources, questions, or experience with DEI audits in newsrooms, DM me on Slack or on Twitter @AlishaSavson or drop me an email at alisha@alishasavson.com. Thank you!
 
Thank you to Emma Carew Grovum for informing much of what’s written above, and to Caroline Bauman, Laura Hackett, Laura Fillbach, and Joy Mayer for sharing your thoughts, resources, and experiences.

Alisha Savson, Gather community manager
 

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

As we take our time to be thoughtful about what we plan, here are two chats to look forward to:
  • Audience vs. Community
  • DEI Audits for Newsrooms
As always, feel free to email me with chat suggestions.
 


Jobs, Fellowships, and Funding


Shoutout to Tran Vu and David Rodriguez for posting these on Slack! Check out the #jobsandfunding Slack to see what other opportunities Gatherers are sharing.

New Voices Fellowship, AIR: “The 2020 New Voices Fellowship will be virtual this year to best support the needs of our underrepresented and emerging mediamakers in the audio industry. We will provide a $1,000 stipend to each scholar in addition to on-going mentorships, resources and networks.” Location: Remote. Deadline: Friday, June 19 at 11:59pm EDT. 

Digital Engagement Producer, Reveal: “You will play an essential role in our newsroom by publishing our stories and podcast to our website and packaging these stories for social and newsletter audiences. You’ll work to grow Reveal’s audiences across platforms, turning loyal readers, listeners and viewers into engaged subscribers and, ultimately, members.” Location: Remote. Deadline: Rolling, with encouragement to apply ASAP.
 


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
 
  • Talking with your community about race: Anna Bold shared this Google Doc for community managers with advice on moderating and responding to race-related discussions. See Annemarie Dooling’s Twitter for the link.                                                                                             
  • Community advisory boards: How do you ensure your community-focused boards and advisory groups accurately reflect your community? What models have you seen that work? Join the conversation.                                                                                                                           
  • Contact details for reporters: A Gatherer was compiling a list of journalists and realized a lot of news outlets’ websites make it hard to find staff contacts. What have you tried in opening up journalist contacts or experimenting with ways the public can get in touch? Share your experiences here.
     
  • Long-term strategy for COVID newsletters: A Gatherer is curious: “What are your thoughts about incorporating the series into your long term newsletter strategy? Will you phase it into something different?” What’s the best path forward? Join the conversation.
     
  • Advice on radio promo spots: A Gatherer is partnering with their local NPR affiliate and has 16 radio promo spots to fill. What are best practices for promoting their website and membership on air? Offer your feedback here.
     
  • Using SMS to build niche audiences: What advice on prep, marketing, and outreach do you have? Share your thoughts here.
     
  • Trust 101 for Educators: Trusting News is currently taking applications for this special version of their usual Trust 101 workshop. Learn more and apply here.

Hot Read: "Newsrooms Are in Revolt. The Bosses Are in Their Country Houses." by Ben Smith at The New York Times. (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 Francesco Zaffarano, this week's Featured Member.


NOTE: Francesco wrote this in mid-May; responses do not reflect the current moment.

Name: Francesco Zaffarano

What you do: I am a senior social media editor at The Telegraph.

Why you’re on Gather: One of the reasons that made me leave Italy was that I didn’t feel like I was surrounded by a community of like-minded media innovators. When I first met people in London who shared my enthusiasm and curiosity for the future of this industry, I realised I had finally found the kind of knowledge, inspiration and ideas I had been missing. Still, I keep searching for places where I can ask for new opinions, learn from someone else’s experience and share ideas to build a different kind of journalism. I really feel like Gather is one such place.

One thing you want to learn on Gather: I want to learn what is the next thing I need to learn to make my job meaningful, be it a new platform, a different approach to engaging with an audience, or a better solution to drive subscriptions. I am here to listen, first of all.

One thing you have to share on Gather: I believe that quality always wins over quantity. In journalism, this principle applies as much to content creation as to audience development. Over the last six years, I have managed to deliver great results with simple and essential solutions, with a mix of creativity and careful planning. That’s the secret sauce I am happy to share.

One thing about your work that gets you especially pumped up: When I get to understand the audience I am working on – when I really come to know what they want and need. It makes me feel like I know them, it feels more human than thinking simply about metrics.

Who or what inspired you to get into this work? I will be 100% honest – I didn’t choose to work in audience development and social media. I started as a journalist thinking I would write about politics. However, I happened to be first employed in a newsroom of 150 people where I was the only journalist born after 1990 (it was 2015, in case you are wondering). They needed someone who understood social media and, you know, I was the young one... Sometimes you find yourself doing something just because you are told to do it, but end up liking it way more than you expected. 

Would you rather work in chaos or quiet? I am a bit of a control freak – so give me chaos and I will organise it!

Links for ways to connect with you. You can find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and on my website. 
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