Data, context and engagement were the themes of the Hardly. Strictly. Young. event at the University of Missouri Reynolds Journalism Institute this week, says Michael Maness, the Knight Foundation Vice President of Journalism and Media Innovation.
Also read a Columbia Journalism Review overview from fellow attendee, new friend and total asshole Craig Silverman, who takes the opportunity to poke fun at me. (I forgive him.)
Though I arrived on Saturday to couchsurf in St. Louis first, the confab kicked off with a welcome dinner Sunday night and was made mostly of rotating groups of us 30 members discussing implementation ideas Monday and presenting those ideas Tuesday. The goal was to create real ideas for implementation.
The Knight Commission Report on Informing Communities, released in September 2009, was the broad culmination of a year of hearing testimony and collecting insight, featuring 15 recommendations on ensuring American communities are better informed and engaged.
This week’s invite-only event was led by leather-jacket adorned, Spot.Us founder and current RJI fellow David Cohn, after he attended an Aspen Institute roundtable of media executives discussing how to implement the initiatives. Cohn felt perspective from a group of largely younger journalists, who are ‘creating their own centers of power,’ could be valuable. Despite the largely journalism-focused attendee list, it’s important to note that the Knight Commission report is more broad, including curriculum-based media literacy and universal broadband access.
Here are the primary nuggets from some of the proposals that came from the four rotating groups for each of the four recommendations that the event focused on:
‘Media’ Education at Various Levels
- Orange Team (led by Linch and Sinker): Report for America initiative — a year-long intensive fellowship for post-undergraduate students of various academic disciplines
- Red Team (Silverman and Lewis): Adopt a Wikipedia page — Have high school classrooms adopt relevant Wikipedia pages and update and monitor them for an academic year
Increase the sources of news providers
- Green Team (Boyer and Bachhuber): Create local best practices fund — Bolster a fund for (1) events that connect entrepreneurial journalists together to develop and share best practices; (2) digitize local government documents and services, perhaps in partnership with Google, and (3) develop software solution to use Knight’s community information needs assessment guide.
Expand Local Media Initiatives to Reflect the ‘Full Reality’ of Communities They Represent
- Blue Team (Thompson and Wink): C.A.T. Signal — Within a narrow test-case neighborhood or town, create a networked coalition of civic groups that will respond to a one-time-only request — a C.A.T. signal — granted to all residents. The scarcity and direct action will increase buy-in and solving problems will grow involvement. Yes, there is a website. Peep the slides here. Our rather smilingly self-indulgent trumpeting brought quite a bit of interest in the idea.