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How Diverse Thinking Produces Better Reporting

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This is a presentation I made at the 2017 National High School Journalism Convention to help scholastic journalists leverage cognitive diversity to improve their news and opinion planning and reporting.

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How Diverse Thinking Produces Better Reporting

  1. 1. How Diverse Thinking Produces Better Reporting with Margot Carmichael Lester © 2017 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  2. 2. Why We Care About Diversity in the Newsroom •Our work should reflect our community •Multiple perspectives drive better reporting and coverage © 2017 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  3. 3. Kinds of Diversity • Racial • Personality (intra/extravert) • Geographic • Gender/Sexual Identity • Economic/Class • Cultural/Ethnic • Cognitive • Age © 2017 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  4. 4. Photo by bachmont - Creative Commons Attribution License https://www.flickr.com/photos/8845870@N07 Created with Haiku Deck Racial Diversity The percentage of minority journalists was 17% in 2016. Source: The American Society of Newspaper Editors More than 33% of Americans are Latino or non-white.
  5. 5. Photo by bachmont - Creative Commons Attribution License https://www.flickr.com/photos/8845870@N07 Created with Haiku Deck Gender Diversity Women reported 25% of TV news, 38% print & 46% digital. Source: Women’s Media Center 2017 Study Women are 51% of the U.S population.
  6. 6. Cognitive Diversity •Differences in perspective or information processing styles •How individuals think about and engage with new, uncertain and complex situations. Source: https://hbr.org/2017/03/teams-solve-problems-faster-when-theyre-more-cognitively-diverse
  7. 7. Cognitive Diversity Perspective: Whether we prefer to rely on own expertise or gather ideas and expertise from others Knowledge Processing: Whether we like to rely on existing knowledge or find new knowledge Source: https://hbr.org/2017/03/teams-solve-problems-faster-when-theyre-more-cognitively-diverse
  8. 8. Multiple Perspectives Drive Better Journalism by 1. Identifying new or different topics & angles 2. Empowering deeper reporting & broader coverage 3. Uncovering biases 4. Reflecting our community more accurately © 2017 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  9. 9. How Multiple Perspectives Drive Better Journalism 5. Helping reporters ask better questions 6. Integrating first-person experiences of editors and reporters 7. Supporting source diversity © 2017 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  10. 10. Photo by shareski - Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License https://www.flickr.com/photos/91312924@N00 Created with Haiku Deck Tools for Deliberation and Decision-Making
  11. 11. Photo by Brett Jordan - Creative Commons Attribution License https://www.flickr.com/photos/55497864@N00 Created with Haiku Deck
  12. 12. Guiding Principles •Strike a balance between applying what you know and discovering what you don’t. This helps us identify different approaches and iterate or create new options. Source: https://hbr.org/2017/03/teams-solve-problems-faster-when-theyre-more-cognitively-diverse
  13. 13. Guiding Principles •Apply your and others’ experiences, expertise or perspectives. •Step back to see the bigger picture. This improves our ability to see things differently & clearly.Source: https://hbr.org/2017/03/teams-solve-problems-faster-when-theyre-more-cognitively-diverse
  14. 14. Run a Better Budget or Editorial Board Meeting • Solicit input from each person. • Note all opinions & options. • Gently challenge assertions & point out biases. • Focus on the goal. © 2017 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  15. 15. The Goal Fair and accurate reporting that serves and reflects the community. © 2017 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  16. 16. Make Better Assignments • Explore multiple story ideas and angles. • Solicit questions & sources from other team members. • Add perspectives with analysis, op-eds or additional reporting. © 2017 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  17. 17. The Goal Giving readers the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies and their governments.Source: www.americanpressinstitute.org/journalism-essentials/what-is-journalism/purpose-journalism/
  18. 18. Photo by shareski - Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License https://www.flickr.com/photos/91312924@N00 Created with Haiku Deck Tools to Deal with Conflicts
  19. 19. Make & Keep Small Agreements • Agree on the problem. • Agree on or revisit your goal. Every time you make and keep an agreement, your team gets stronger. Source: http://www.slideshare.net/stevepeha/the-culture-engine-humanpowered-change-for-high
  20. 20. Guiding Principles •Safety: Have compassion for yourself and others. •Respect: Hold everyone as able. •Ownership: Be responsible for your results and perspectives. Don’t blame others. •Intention: Be clear on the results you want to create. Source: http://www.slideshare.net/stevepeha/the-culture-engine-humanpowered-change-for-high
  21. 21. Conflict Resolution Strategies The Decider Protocol 1. Someone offers a concise and actionable proposal. “Let’s write an op-ed supporting gender- neutral bathrooms.” 2. Everyone votes. Thumb up: Love it! Thumb sideways: I’m OK with it Thumb down: No way! 3. Anyone voting no must make a counter proposal. http://www.mccarthyshow.com/online/.  
  22. 22. Conflict Resolution Strategies Dot Voting 1. Someone jots a concise and actionable proposal on a board or chart paper. “Let’s write an op-ed supporting gender-neutral bathrooms.” 2. Everyone votes. Place a dot sticker next to the option they like best 3. The option with the most dots wins. Source: http://dotmocracy.org/what_is
  23. 23. So? Diversity isn’t a buzzword. Tapping into the diversity of your newsroom team makes you a better journalist and makes your paper or show a better product. © 2017 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  24. 24. with Margot Carmichael Lester Twitter: @word_factory Blog: thewordfactory.com/our-blog Instagram: @beabetterwriter Thanks for attending © 2017 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com How Diverse Thinking Produces Better Reporting

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