Let's work together!
The OpenNews community is building the future we all want for journalism, and we can help you do it, too. Our small but impactful team has backgrounds in editorial, technology, product, and audience. Whether you’re planning a small event or building a cross-functional team, let us handle the details so you can focus on what you and your team do best. Send us a note to get started.
What we offer
We sweat the small stuff, because it’s not small. We work with care and intention to create meaningful experiences that people look back on for years to come, and support the people who are driving newsroom transformation from all parts of the org chart.
We offer coaching, consulting, and facilitation to bring decades of newsroom experience into projects related to data reporting, product development, community building, audience engagement, and newsroom organization and operations. Our approach is always rooted in doing work that leads with equity, anti-racism, and peer support.
We design thoughtful, memorable events that emphasize care and belonging.
We can help you:
- Lead a team retreat where colleagues get to know each other better, understand how their working styles interact, and find alignment on organizational values.
- Create small events that pull developers out of their day-to-day grind to collaborate on new tools, or help decision-makers figure out the details for their next big project.
- Plan and program a conference for your community that connects people to learn from each other and develop relationships that last.
RESEARCH, DOCUMENTATION and PUBLISHING
We synthesize information, record processes, and work with you to share your ideas.
We can help you:
- Organize research for your project, connecting with a community of journalists so you can be confident your work answers real needs in the field.
- Document reporting and journalism support projects in ways that amplify your work, with storytelling that shows the impact of your organization or awards program.
- Document team workflows and the other internal processes you need to bring clarity and build operational resilience across your organization.
We work with newsroom leaders to find satisfying solutions to your toughest problems.
We can help you:
- Design application forms and processes that are welcoming and inclusive, from outreach to review to reply.
- Develop a product team or product strategies for your newsroom.
- Develop workflows that help small teams move quickly, making recurring work more efficient and less stressful.
We develop processes and programs that will change your notion of what’s possible.
We can help you:
- Structure teams in ways that promote collaboration, empowerment, and progress toward your newsroom’s goals.
- Build a conference program that delights and meets the most pressing needs of your community, helping speakers prepare sessions that make a difference.
- Audit or design DEI efforts to ensure you’re making meaningful progress toward goals, and providing the kind of resources that make this work more than just promises.
Who we work with
Here are some of our recent projects and collaborations:
- We helped the News Product Alliance develop, manage, and produce their annual Summit. Hundreds of product thinkers gathered for 47 sessions across three days—master classes, topical workshops, and social conversations designed around deepening peer relationships, learning new skills and co-creating best practices for product work in the news industry.
- We partnered with the Center for Journalism & Democracy and the Ida B. Wells Society for The Data Institute, a free, intensive workshop that teaches journalists how to use data, design, and code. OpenNews managed program development and the application and review process and also designed a cohort experience for 15 journalists who spent two weeks at Howard University to dive into data journalism together.
- We worked with the Center for Journalism & Democracy again, providing program and speaker support for their second annual Democracy Summit.
- We collaborate with the Data-Driven Reporting Project to help the newsrooms they work with tell the stories behind investigative projects. The documentation is designed to amplify impact, helping journalists replicate important work and sharing takeaways that give them a head start on projects of their own.
- We coordinate large-scale DEI efforts—like an open, public letter to Press Forward—with our partners at Vision 25, the Online News Association and the Maynard Institute, while also hosting the DEI Coalition for Anti-Racist, Equitable and Just Newsrooms, a group of more than 1,000 journalists from across the world who connect via a Slack community in support of wholesale DEI changes in our field.
We’ve loved working on all of these projects, with each of these partners. If you’d like to talk with us about a project where we can help make a difference in your work, please reach out!
What our partners say
Here are some more examples of projects we’ve take on:
Community design coaching
We coach and serve as thought partners to journalism or journalism-serving organizations as they design community-oriented events, communities, and cohorts. If you’re trying to build a sense of community or foster a stronger bond with your community, we can help you identify people’s needs and figure out how you can best meet them, from creating or honing programs, to hosting events, to creating community spaces.
“I found that OpenNews added tremendous value to our design process. Their team was able to skillfully and purposefully listen during our design sessions and extract nuances from our conversations that allowed us to deepen our reflection process and build out thoughtful next steps. I found their team to be extremely knowledgeable, flexible, and engaging collaborators.” - Shawn Mooring, Program Director, Lenfest Institute for Journalism
Event experience and program design
We at OpenNews have very strong feelings about the art of event design. We believe there’s a huge difference between putting on an event, and designing the event experience. Events always have a goal: It could be making sure attendees get the training they need, or that people connect and share with each other. We design events so that people get to focus on that goal—learning or connecting or sharing—and are pleasantly charmed by everything else. Interested? You can hire us to do a part of your event, or to design and execute all of it.
“What I love about SRCCON is how much it changes my notions of what's possible. I feel like I can dream and aspire to making journalism better—more inclusive and more equitable—because I see a community of people working to make that change” - SRCCON 2020 participant
“We loved working with OpenNews on the News Product Alliance Summit and are enthusiastic about working with them again. From the early planning stages to the day of the event, Erika and the OpenNews team ensured everything ran smoothly. With their help, we built an inclusive, diverse and welcoming virtual event space for our community to connect, share knowledge and learn from each other.” - Becca Aaronson, interim executive director, News Product Alliance
We believe that good facilitation can be the difference between a productive, satisfying conversation, and a chaotic, confusing one. You can hire us to facilitate—for company meetings, grantee gatherings, cohort meetings, etc.—or you can hire us to coach you through it. We’ll talk to you about your goals for the meeting, such as building trust between a new cohort of people, or needing to come out of a multi-part meeting with a clear, new strategy document, and then we’ll help you design a facilitation approach, script, and agenda to accomplish those goals.
“The OpenNews team are very good facilitators that helped our team think through strategic priorities, answer our own questions where we could, and make the path more clear when the answer was ambiguous. They also were great at documenting the takeaways from each conversation and distilling it into a final document that could be shared with stakeholders. I'd highly recommend them for helping with strategic planning for projects.” - Cheryl Thompson-Morton, Newsroom Culture Transformation
For newsrooms that are genuinely interested in improving their culture to be more anti-racist and equitable, we can help. We offer equity audits on your hiring, retention, staff evaluation, and communications processes, and provide you with direct recommendations on where you can create immediate change, as well as an explanation of why existing issues are problematic. You can also hire us to implement our recommended changes and train your staff.
“[OpenNews’s annual conference, SRCCON] was crucial to the equity, diversity, and inclusion work ahead for me in my organization, and really the only space for me to go and understand how these issues intersect with journalistic thinking. It energized, excited, and inspired me.” - SRCCON participant
1-on-1 executive coaching
We coach newsroom leaders as they navigate challenges, transitions, and periods of evolution. Together, we talk through challenges and help you think about communications, strategy, and planning. For us, the most successful type of coaching is collaborative—we will never act as if we have the “right” answer, but rather work with you side-by-side, merging your experience with ours to find the best strategies and solutions.
“[OpenNews] worked with me on leadership development, with a focus on leading through transition and changing organizational culture. They are empathic, strategic and supportive, and brought tremendous expertise on newsroom dynamics to our work together. They helped me refine organizational goals and work through challenges with an equity lens in mind. They also encouraged me to be mindful about burnout and helped me reprioritize and delegate to more effectively lead.” - CEO, news organization
Referrals to training and education by our community
Our community members have decades of experience tackling tough challenges in journalism. They provide training and education on topics such as leadership coaching, anti-racism education, newsroom audits, communication coaching through difficult conversations, web scraping, and FOIA 101.
If you’re interested in hiring someone to help you tackle topics like these, let us know and we’ll ask people in our community if they have capacity to help.
Get in touch
Please reach out to talk more about how we might be able to help your work!
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