Collective support that shows up: Reflecting on 2022 and "looking beyond"

a refraction of stars through the hubble telescope.

This year we embraced our chance to look beyond the usual. (Photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

As we wrap up 2022, let’s take a look at the ways we showed up for each other and what care and intention we’ll be carrying into the new year.

Facilitating and distributing leadership

At SRCCON 2022 and SRCCON:CARE, we had the chance to practice the world as we want it to be: co-creating inclusive spaces where we get to learn and grow together with peers. By learning from each other, we have the chance to reconsider how we do things, as An Xiao Mina described. Participants at SRCCON 2022 shared concrete strategies on how to implement changes in our practice, on everything from countering polarization in science reporting to considering security of sources when reporting on abortion. With SRCCON:CARE, participants shared how care shows up in all areas of life and how to distribute networks of support and care. By stepping into different modes of leadership, whether it be facilitating a session, volunteering, asking a vulnerable question, or pulling together a support spreadsheet, community members demonstrated different ways to facilitate care and change making.

"I’m very grateful this space exists. Thank you to the ideators, the organizers, the resource bearers, and the volunteers! It's really hard to carry the torch of care against the tides of this industry and its posture of reactivity that perpetuates crises."

Strengthening networks, building skills

Each time we get to learn together or collaborate is a chance to get to know each other better and fortify this growing network. One concrete way we help make that happen is through our Scholarships+ program. We gave out 52 stipends to journalists to attend conferences, trainings, leadership development programs, and get focused 1-on-1 support. These learning opportunities are not only a way to build skills, but also a chance to form new relationships and share that all back with their networks.

In addition to supporting individual community members, in 2022, we got to intentionally build our relationships with peer organizations as well. With Vision 25, we got to collaborate on a number of events related to pay equity with the Online News Association and Maynard Institute (with Aspiration Tech’s facilitation support). We also got to work together with the News Product Alliance on another amazing NPA Summit, the Ida B. Wells Society and ProPublica on another fantastic (virtual) Data Institute, and the Center for Public Integrity and Tara Health Foundation on an exciting new event about reporting on working-class women as part of our consulting practice. We love how this is another area where our flair for facilitation shows up: helping people design what they want and get what they need.

"This is my first SRCCON, and you've all made me feel so welcomed and part of the conversation, even as someone who is not-exactly-a-journalist-but-works-with-journalists-and-cares-about-journalism. This is the best professional event I've ever attended and I am just overwhelmed with the joy and love of it all."

Turning learning into action

And we know that it will take all of us to get what this industry needs. The DEI Coalition ushered in its second year as a space to find over 1,000 other peers working to make the industry an anti-racist, equitable, and just place. On Source, P. Kim Bui and Emma Carew Grovum convened Sincerely, Leaders of Color as a place to learn stategies to improve journalistic workplaces and better support journalists of color. In addition, Source continued to be a space where community members document data processes and shared story recipes to help other journalists replicate their work. This interest in data also relates to understanding ourselves as a community: more than 600 community members responded to the return of the News Nerd Survey, with early highlights showing a celebration of our collective support for one another.

Amidst all of these activities, we’ve also been doing organizational planning and self education, seeing sparkles of insight for journalism in philosophy, community groups, business writings, and you would not believe how many journal articles, academic papers, podcasts, and other dry but edifying sources of information.

Over the history of OpenNews, we’ve seen how important news nerds are in their organizations, bringing tactics from tech into journalism, translating journalism onto the web, demonstrating how this journalism-tech-data intersection has actually been active for decades. In preparing this piece, mago torres reflected “so many people talk about the industry and never look beyond.” A lot of spaces in journalism only look to the big names in media for answers, when often the wisdom we need is found in another field or a conversation with a neighbor or in the question from a new staffer that got ignored in that meeting.

But in the OpenNews community, we get to create (and model!) another way: the path of listening, of taking care, of asking questions (of ourselves and each other, not just sources!).

Thanks for another year in this work together. If you’d like to help sustain this work, please consider making a donation. We look forward to seeing the ways we’ll show up for each other in 2023.

posted December 20, 2022 | posted in OpenNews