It’s time to Gather, and we hope you’ll join us

Community engagement in journalism has become a recognized specialty. Everyone’s doing it, or wants to be. And its practitioners need ways to connect and grow.

Welcome to Gather.

A group of engagement professionals, professors and evangelists has spent months, with the help of many of you, building a place we hope will serve as a valuable resource in your professional growth. (Meet our steering committee here.)

Here’s an official description and intro:

Gather is a project + platform to support community-minded journalists and other engagement professionals. The mission: make journalism more responsive to the public’s needs and more inclusive of the public’s voices and diversity, by helping journalists, educators, and students who share these values find each other, find resources and best practices, and find support and mentorship.

Join us by requesting an invitation here.

Gather doesn’t aim to replace any existing tools or resources. Rather, we want to be a hub of learning and connection. We’ll focus on what’s important, not just what’s new. We’ll honor the work that’s been done by making it searchable and findable. And we’ll connect people across a spectrum of media types and experience levels who share a desire to learn from engagement colleagues.

We will likely post about Gather quite a bit in the Experience Engagement Facebook group, and we invite you to join us there. But Facebook too often feels like a stream of consciousness. Gather will invite and curate conversation and insight in a way that cuts through the noise and the urgency.

Here’s what you’ll find on Gather, and what we hope you’ll do.

  • Case studies: See other organizations’ engagement projects, and learn from their successes and challenges. Suggest a topic for a case study, and volunteer to report one you’re interested in.
  • Resources directory: Search through descriptions of tools, training opportunities, research and events. Especially popular so far have been the job and fellowship listings.
  • Conversation: Gather hosts structured conversations that we call “lightning chats” — 30-minute video discussions on specific topics or projects. Find highlights from past chats and a list of upcoming chats. You’ll also see comment threads on any topic of interest to our community. We hope you’ll join and initiate threads that are interesting to you.
  • Topics of the month: Each month, we’ll focus on a specific topic, with related case studies, resources and conversations. Up first for October: Using Facebook groups in journalism. Who? When? Why? How?
  • Connection. Fill out your profile. Then search for people who work at an organization you admire, live near you, or share your engagement specialty. Say hi in a message on their profile, and make note of their contact information for future collaborations.

A few previous posts will help catch you up if you’re new to Gather.

Ready to join us? Sign up here. An email invitation will follow shortly, and you can also opt to start getting our two weekly newsletters — one that’s a round-up of upcoming events, featured case studies, new job listings, and other Gather community updates, and a second that is a Nuzzel aggregation of the engagement-related stories being shared most often by our community on Twitter. For now, Gather requires an invitation. As FMYI’s technology develops, we hope to make parts of the platform accessible without an account.

If you’ll be at this year’s Online News Association’s annual conference this week in Washington DC, we’d love to say hello and get you signed up. Visit our University of Oregon booth in the main exhibitor ballroom to learn more.

Questions? Suggestions? Contact Joy Mayer, Gather’s community manager, at joy@joymayer.com or on Twitter at @mayerjoy.

The Community of Practice Platform for Engaged Journalism (aka Gather) is a collaborative project led by the Agora Journalism Center, the gathering place for innovation in communication and civic engagement. Project funders include the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Democracy Fund.

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