Through Journalism That Matters, a nonprofit I co-founded, I was part of a research team that looked at explored the question:
What would journalism look like if it were generated from within community rather than FOR community?
I gave a keynote at the DONA International conference, an organization that trains doulas, on July 31, 2016. Given 2017 will likely be a year of disruption, it seems timely to share it.
Here’s the focus:
All change begins with disturbance. No organization, profession, community or person is immune to this powerful, naturally occurring catalyst for change. The question is – what will they, and more important, what will YOU do when you experience it? We each choose our responses. Sometimes resisting the unknown, at other times stepping into its creative potential. This session introduces the value of compassionately disrupting the status quo.
As with childbirth and parenting, welcoming disturbance and embracing mystery helps us discover what is both personally and mutually meaningful. You’ll take away profound but simple steps to move through complex issues and engage compassionately and creatively with yourself, your clients and your community.
How do you tell the story of a complex, emergent experience?
It’s a question I’m pondered for years as I’ve hosted numerous gathering using Open Space Technology, a process which supports people to self-organize around what matters to them. People consistently come away saying something like, “It was life changing! You had to be there to understand.”
Last October, I helped organized Experience Engagement, a gathering at the intersection of journalism and community on behalf of Journalism That Matters, a nonprofit that I co-founded with three journalists to connect the diversity of people who care about the role of news and information in communities and democracy.
As part of the work, we used a process, Developmental Evaluation, to get at that conundrum of the telling the story. The graphic above is a visual summary of what we learned. More of it is posted here.
I’ve spent this past year focused on a project of Journalism That Matters (JTM), a nonprofit I co-founded that hosts conversations to foster collaboration, innovation, and action so that a diverse news and information ecosystem can thrive.
My interest grows from a discovery I made a few years ago when looking for grant money for a project. I discovered that less than 10% of foundation funding for new journalism ventures was going to meet the needs of underserved communities. In other words, new media was even more white than traditional media! Seemed like a wakeup call was in order.
JTM partnered with the American Society of News Editors, working with three news organizations who are engaging their communities around issues related to diversity and inclusion. Their stories and more are at the Engagement Hub, a site we aspire to become a gathering place for those who see engagement as a means for making diverse voices more visible.
They’ve taken an approach to reporting that begins by listening to their community. For example, to look at affordable housing, they brought together government, nonprofit and people “in the system.” In the process, they not only found stories to tell but made connections to move the dial on this challenging issue.
Starting with a “listening tour” they have sparked conversations and working groups to address entrenched challenges around employment, education, criminal justice, and housing. In the process, they are building community coalitions and optimism.
By training community members in East Oakland to tell untold stories of where their neighborhoods, they are changing the relationship between the news organization and the community. The project is growing, working in Jackson, Mississippi and Sacramento, California.
Thanks to Jesse Lyn Stoner for inviting me to post Change Your Story, Change Your Organization to the Seapoint Center blog. It elaborates on five roles highlighted in the Berkana Institute’s Two Loops Model of Change.
Some reflections on the implications of these roles for journalists is on the Journalism That Matters site: Stories for Navigating the Waves of Change.
Enjoy this short video from the workshop that Tova Averbuch, Christine Whitney Sanchez, and I did of our workshop, Engaging Possibilities: The Art & Science of Radical Appreciation, in Israel this summer:
In the sixth post in my journalism series, I explore
How can you contribute to a healthy journalism ecosystem?
I first learned of the fledging aspirations of the National Dialogue Network (NDN) last year at the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation‘s Seattle Conference. NDN’s ambitious goal: to coordinate collaborative local conversations into mindful national dialogue.
After winning NCDD’s Catalyst Award for civic infrastructure, it has gone on to put its ideas into action.
Now, the National Dialogue Network wants you!!
Their inaugural topic is “Poverty & Wealth in America” and the process couldn’t be easier. You can:
Either way, you’ll help us all learn more about what it takes to create a civic infrastructure that serves the needs of each and all of us.
What the National Dialogue Networks says about themselves:
The NDN coordinates distinct individual and community conversations giving everyone a “sense of place” and voice within the larger national dialogue. NDN’s dedicated volunteer’s seek to revitalize and promote civic infrastructures within communities where all who choose to participate will impact the national conversation by:
Post #5 of my series on journalism is now up.
Innovation demands diversity, using our differences creatively.
Read the other posts in this series: