SRCCON:POWER - Two days to reconnect and bring transparency to how we work
by Erika Owens
At OpenNews, we’ve repeatedly seen the importance of bringing people together to share their work, dig into challenging questions, and strengthen their networks and their resolve to stay in this field. At SRCCON:POWER, we are gathering people for two days to understand the power dynamics that underlay our work in journalism and technology, and the responsibility we have to work together to make journalism the equitable, responsive institution we all need it to be.
There is much to be done for journalism to reach these aspirations. Columbia Journalism Review just devoted an entire issue to the unfinished business of confronting racism in our organizations. As that issue shows, and as the members of this community demonstrate, there is much work already being done to remedy and respond to decades of structural bias and incomplete coverage. At SRCCON:POWER, we’ll gather with some of the folks leading up these efforts for change on their teams, in their organizations, on journalism boards, in their communities. Together, 125 participants will share strategies and help set out plans for 2019 and beyond to shift power dynamics, to build the leadership of individuals and the capacity for change in organizations.
Next week, we’ll release the list of accepted sessions for SRCCON:POWER and the names of speakers who will share their experience and research. The topics we’ll cover over these two days come from a few places:
- Themes that arose in needs-finding workshops with journalists of color earlier this year. We convened three small discussions earlier this year, working with Gabriela Rodriguez to plan the agendas and scope of the program and with the support of Soo Oh as co-facilitator. These discussion brought together leaders in the OpenNews community who are also active in other networks as well, including NAHJ, NABJ, AAJA, the JOC Slack, News Nerdery, newsroom unionization efforts, and more. Participants shared their personal experiences and areas of opportunity to better support the networks they’re a part of, including efforts of mutual support, spaces to connect, structures for new groups, and a wide range of suggestions for changing workplace dynamics and supporting new career pathways.
- Areas of interest from the SRCCON:POWER call for participation form. In addition to soliciting session proposals, we also asked all participants: “What are some ways you’d like to see power operate differently in your newsroom, in journalism’s relationship with your community, and/or in the technology we use and make?” We expected answers might address all three of those dimensions of power, and while we did get a range of responses, the overwhelming area of interest was on seeing power operate differently within our newsrooms and journalism organizations. Namely around decision-making, transparency, and trust between colleagues and between managers and team members. The majority of sessions will cover different aspects of how we work together.
- How we band together to do this work. At SRCCON:POWER, we’ll focus our time together on how we can strengthen relationships with each other as a community so that we can work together collectively. To do this, we’ll work to build the capacity of each participant as teammates, community leaders, managers, and friends to collaborate and challenge our industry. We’ll also need to work to build capacity within organizations to welcome and scaffold the development of this leadership and change.
It has been a very trying time lately in many of our communities, with threats and active shooter drills making their way into newsrooms, too. We’re nearing the end of a long year and we know there is more work ahead. Let’s spend our time figuring out how to support one another in shouldering that responsibility, together.
In December, we’ll have two days to spend together, to reflect on challenges and fortify ourselves for future fights, while we heal from recent ones. A lot of power still resides within newsrooms. Many of us are understandably feeling dis-empowered, but we can’t neglect the power and responsibility we still have to our colleagues and our communities.
Want to be a part of this event? Our call for participation remains open as we confirm sessions. Tell us why you’d like to be there. We’re also still looking for sponsors to help make SRCCON:POWER an inclusive, accessible spaces. Consider sharing details about sponsorship with your company.