As we reach the end of the year (decade!), I wanted to reach out briefly to ask for your support and share some highlights of our work together.
Become a sustainer
In 2019, so much happened (and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, even in the final days), and yet, somehow much did not change. Even as funding models have crumbled, journalism’s power structures have remained nearly impervious to change. Almost all respondents to ASNE’s diversity survey are more white than the cities they serve, and as we head into a year for the Census and presidential election, many newsrooms don't operate from a vision of how to meet the basic needs of their communities.

This year, I felt a shift. A move from “what could we do when we’re in power?” to “how do we wield our power now?” And we’re beginning to map out what that will take—redefining what success looks like (and what we prioritize in journalism), getting through intense news cycles without defaulting to constant crisis mode (and maybe even taking breaks), and creating structures and systems to support each other, not expecting us to bear the fight against systemic injustice as individuals.

Systems, not just self care

photos of post-its from SRCCON:LEAD
I co-facilitated a session at SRCCON:LEAD with Erik Reyna and the many Post-its (some pictured above!) from that session made clear that this community is building a vision for what needs to change, and how we’re going to build systems to do it, together. The talks, sessions, and hallway chats at SRCCON:LEAD built on one another and showed how, as one attendee put it, there’s a choice to be made to align leadership tools/models with values, and I can hold myself and others accountable for which models we choose.”

At SRCCON:LEAD, our goal was to for participants to leave ready to push for change and feel like they had the tools, and the network of support, to make it happen. This year we also created a peer data review experiment to see what kind of system would help data journalists at smaller organizations get support from the wider news nerd network, without them needing to figure out how to navigate that on their own. That program matched 12 journalists with peer volunteers, and taught us so much about how some light structure can get a lot done. (Check out Ryan’s detailed documentation of the program, if you’re thinking of any type of similar project.)

Sustaining this work

You know OpenNews. Our work is all about connecting people and what we’re able to do collaboratively that we could never do alone. Last month, we launched a founding sustainer program as a new way to concretely support our work. Please consider joining us as a sustainer as we work to meet our year-end goal.

Our sustainer program is flexible—you can signup monthly, quarterly, or annually at whatever level works for your budget. We’ve launched this program because we know that it’s possible to work from a place of collective abundance, not austerity, and ongoing support helps strengthen the long-term stability of OpenNews.

Stacy-Marie Ishmael has also provided a $500 match as we announced this program! That means that her match will double the amount of your sustainer contribution until the end of the year. Or, if you’re not able to sign up as a sustainer at this time, stacy-marie would like to use this match to cover the first year of your sustainer contribution. Reply here and we’ll get you signed up. Thank you, stacy-marie, for this and the many ways you support this network.

Supporting one another

We know that community contributions take many forms. From session facilitation to asking questions on community calls, and answering questions on News Nerdery and advising through peer data review and documenting projects on Source, there are so many ways we’ve showed up for each other this year. And you can be sure that this community will continue to have your back if and when you need it.

As a little sneak peek:
  • our ticket+travel scholarship program will be back next month, in time for NICAR and funded by both grants and community donations,
  • we’ve got so much SRCCON goodness for you in 2020 and lots more info about it in the new year, and
  • with all of this plotting and organizing for change, you know we’ve got a lot more announcements and activities to come.
Thank you so much for an incredible year, and one that continues to surprise and overwhelm me with what is actually possible when we band together.

Best wishes in the new year.
—Erika, Ryan, and Lindsay

Become a sustainer
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