#PINCamp13, What does news as a conversation really mean?

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How do we keep our journalism focused on and collaborative with our audiences?
Presentation to Public Insight Network Camp, June 2013, at American Public Media

Published in: News & Politics, Business
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  • Explanation is here: http://joymayer.com/2012/04/07/wheres-the-mouse-my-favorite-shirkyism/
  • Such a key principle of PIN – how can people interact with and inject themselves into what we do? How are our processes and products social? Collaborative? Open?
  • Diagram from Meg Pickard describes the attitude at the core of the Guardian’s invitations.This is at the core of how my team and I now approach journalism.
  • It’s a conversation, not a lecture. Less about “stories” that get published. More about an ongoing back and forth. That bottom left is key for the strategies of PIN.
  • Three Little Pigs ad: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/video/2012/feb/29/open-journalism-three-little-pigs-advertBe a change agent. Get people in your newsroom to open up. Ask the question for so many stories. How can this approach get to better journalism?Changing attitudes in the newsroom. Get the buy-in. Culture. Find the like minds and point to the success. The kind of journalism that’s possible through it.
  • Key turning point in that video is when a user tipped the newsroom off about the inhaler video. That happens best when there’s a standing invitation to interact – when journalists are accessible and open.How can we build invitations into more of what we do, not have them as a separate element?
  • How often, and how specifically, do we ask readers to tell us what they want to know? What if we were more structured to answer existing questions?The flip side, though, is that we have to be ready for what we get. What if we get questions we don’t want? What if users misunderstand what we’re asking? What if we have to chase things we don’t think are interested or important?
  • Following a story on social is a kind of feedback.
  • Huge success on one level – she took me up on my offer to get in touch with ideas.But also so, so inconvenient, and not at all when I intended when I invited story ideas.
  • Do we really want to know? Are we asking the right people?Too often, we pat ourselves on the back for having issued the invitation.
  • And sometimes, invitations go nowhere, when we’re sure they should have worked. Are we willing to let go?
  • Speaking of community, ProPublica is creating them, not just joining them. For meaningful crowdsourcing and continued conversation.There are FB groups locally, to focus on specific ideologies, priorities, interests, etc. If they meet in person, we feel obligated to listen. Why not online?Seattle Times doing it with people who graduated from high school in a certain year, for an economic impact story.
  • Future audience. They shared our stories. They let a few of us into their group. They’re planning to submit a story for From Readers. They feel heard and connected. This is where they talk. The new shoe leather reporting – find the community.
  • The next slides are two examples of what happens when you open up discussion with no idea what will come next. Show up and listen. Be willing to hear from them.Can they help solve a problem? (And how could I have gotten them in the PIN?) The “how could” questions from yesterday.
  • #PINCamp13, What does news as a conversation really mean?

    1. 1. What news asa conversationreally meansJoy Mayer | @mayerjoymayerj@missouri.edu
    2. 2. “Here’s something four-year-olds know: a screenwithout a mouse is missing something. Here’ssomething else they know: media that’s targeted atyou but doesn’t include you may not be worthsitting still for. … They will just assume that mediaincludes the possibilities of consuming, producing,and sharing side by side, and that thosepossibilities are open to everyone. How else wouldyou do it?”— Clay Shirky, Cognitive Surplus
    3. 3. Where’sthe mouse?Consume. Produce. Share.
    4. 4. “Mutualisation” at The Guardian= a constant invitationModel from @MegPickard
    5. 5. “Mutualisation” at The Guardian= a constant invitationModel from @MegPickard
    6. 6. Our invitations tendto be segmented.
    7. 7. How can we makeour invitations …continual?specific?genuine?easy?
    8. 8. Is the interaction —inviting, talking andlistening —really part of ournewsroom culture?
    9. 9. If we tell users we wantto hear from them,are we prepared to follow up?Are we willing to share our agenda-setting duties?
    10. 10. Shared control.Vulnerability.(like a real relationship?)
    11. 11. Are we asking for feedback?
    12. 12. And do we really want it?
    13. 13. But what if users want totalk about somethingwe’re not prepared for?
    14. 14. But what if they have needsthat don’t line up with ours?
    15. 15. But what if their ideas orsuggestions are …bad?
    16. 16. What if they don’t want what wethink they should want?
    17. 17. Are we as focused onmeeting their needs aswe are on enabling themto meet ours?
    18. 18. What will happenif we hand themthe microphone?
    19. 19. “Covering” youth crime
    20. 20. “Covering” youth crime
    21. 21. “Covering” youth crime
    22. 22. “Covering” youth crime
    23. 23. “Covering” youth crime
    24. 24. How do you make the mousemore obvious?How do you help your newsroomssee the value?Is your newsroom ready to listen?

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