ERIKA: Hello, everyone.
ERIKA: Oh, that was nice. Okay. Thank you, Sven! All right! So just wanted to take a few minutes to kind of bring everything together, close out what might have been a somewhat intense two days. Maybe, maybe? So if you will allow me just a few minutes to share a few thoughts and a whole lot of appreciations. And there’s going to be a minute for you to do that, too, at the end. So thank you all so much for being us over the last two days.
Earlier today, Mandy mentioned organizing. And what organizing means can take many forms. I’m going to look at it in three different ways. So organizing can mean coordinating, it can mean coordinating a thing such as a two-day conference for 125 people, or coordinating the release of one of those major projects you pushed out before you came here this week, or that you’ve been working on in your time in between sessions.
Organizing can also mean structure as Jessica mentioned and if I could throw in one more reading recommendation, Tyranny of Structurelessness, google it. Amazing. It is one of my favorite things. A sense of isolation evaporated the first time I read it and saw that even decades ago, feminists were struggling with the same things that I was facing. And that realization of, oh, wow, I’m not alone has been so powerful for me and it’s a big part of what informs this work.
Another facet of that structure is information, bringing transparency. Like, to those invisibly-shifting org charts and we sought to do that with the News Nerd Survey which we released this week, you might have heard about it in your sessions, to understand who’s in the field, what we’re doing, and the changes that we want to see. And how are we going to make those changes? That’s where the final definition of organizing comes in. Organizing, as in “community organizing.” Banding together with the people near you. The more that we do this work, the more that I see, that is what many of us are doing in our work. If you look around you, the people around you are your neighbors, sometimes literally. Many of us came from some of the same cities as we also saw if had the News Nerd Survey results. We have so much power in this room, and no matter artificial roles, the wisdom and thoughtfulness in this room is the basis for which we organize and our ability to effect the changes that we seek, the changes that we need.
Enabling your organizing is why OpenNews exists, why we do events like these, and all of our programs from the survey to our website, Source, to other scholarship and community events. We do it all with a purpose: to intentionally bring people in rooms together where influence is shared, to build connections, and power within our newsrooms and field. One simple but effective strategy for sharing those connections is as Erin shared, kindness, and its companion, appreciation. So let’s close these two days with a set of appreciations. I have a long list, a lot of coordinating structure and organizing went into this event but in a moment I’m going to ask you to share appreciation of someone in the past two days with the person next to you, a moment, an insight, an understanding. So I’ll start us off and turn my page.
So these were long full days and a huge thank you for Cory for running our coffee and tea station and for our volunteers making sure that we had everything that we needed throughout the event. Also thank you to Stanley for helping us cover our live talks and have a record of sessions to come back to.
We would also like to thank the staff at the Chemical Heritage Foundation as our hosts taking care all of our AV needs. Again, Google News Lab was our lead sponsor and helped bring the News Nerd Survey into the world. So we thank you for starting these conversations. News Integrity Initiative brought 13 young journalists of color to the event and Democracy Fund, childcare. Our list of sponsors continue with Mozilla, the New York Times, and Group Nine who were all generous in their support. And thank you to the Knight Foundation and community partners for continuing to create community space like this.
Also, thank you to all of the facilitators who shared questions and engaging activities and created an open space for discussions, which includes many of you still sitting in this room. And thank you to our speakers for helping us try something that we’ve never done before. You helped bring shape to the themes of the places and spoke from deeply personal places. Thank you to each one of you who came and strategized and worked towards solutions with humility, and lots of laughs, and I think I saw a lot of hugs, too. So thank you. And, finally, this event was a team effort for staff and I want to tell you how much I appreciate everything they did to make it happen. Erik, our event planner has helped shape our SRCCON events since the beginning, bringing in expertise in our events and an understanding and empathy for attendees, beyond making sure that we have a place to talk and tasty food to eat, I appreciate how openly Erik and I are able to talk to one another, laying out how we’re feeling, what we need to do. My greatest hope for this event is that you are able to find moments like that, too. Also thank you to Ryan who led the vision for this event overall and shaped it from an idea of a topic to a structure for open, vulnerable discussions and relationship-building.
In particular, he devised the entire talks program and led it all the way from curation, communications, coaching, and MCing. And Ryan’s focus and thoughtfulness made the talks and this event what it is. BTW, thanks also to Ryan’s dad who helped develop the documentation for our support team.
[ Applause ]
Those inviting, thoughtful, comprehensive emails that Cordelia was doing, providing documentation where Cordelia dove right into two weeks of time for OpenNews for the event that we’ve been able to carry forward. In addition to a colorful queue of emoji tweets and more importantly followers from home, Cordelia has been able to anticipate your questions, and made sure you had the info you needed before you even realized you needed it.
Erin and Lindsay are, in fact, two separate people. But together they produced the Source Q&A Series which helped set the tone and usher us into this event. They also shared insights from our speakers with the folks who were unable to attend. Thanks also to Lindsay for serving us a backup coach to some of our speakers and to Erin for co-facilitating a needed session on a difficult topic during lunch today.
Finally, Dan. Dan isn’t here physically, but the folks I just listed reflect Dan’s presence here. Dan is director of OpenNews and set out a vision for this organization informed by this community. He built this team to make this vision real, evolve it, interrogate it, push it forward, all in constant conversation with you.
Dan’s ability to inspire a team that is able to knit together intention, action, and impact is the bedrock upon which this event was organized. So I took my organizers’ prerogative and shared a bunch of people. When we asked you two days ago to introduce yourself to someone next to you. Now we want to ask you to share someone who you appreciate and why. If you want to think for a moment and turn to your neighbor, which this time can certainly be someone you know, maybe even the person you appreciate, and tell them about your appreciation. I’ll call out after a couple of minutes so you can switch and hear your partner’s example, too. Do you want to take a minute and share an appreciation to the person next to you.
If you have haven’t switched with your partner yet, go ahead and swap appreciations. So thanks everyone for sharing your appreciations. I wish we had time to hear all of them as a full group but if you want to tell the person you appreciated — send them an email, tweet at them, just share the appreciation out of this room, that would be wonderful, as well.
‘Cause with these appreciations, you may have mentioned folks who have complementary skills to your own. This week, we’ve had many chances to recognize that we come together because while nobody has all the answers, we’re able to do more together than alone.
So thanks again, everyone. We spent this time talking about how to organize ourselves to do hiring that actually welcomes and puts into positions of authority, people from marginalized groups to create space and set processes to care for one another and to build structures to foster collaboration. You leave with new insights, community data, transcripts, plus you’re also leaving with a network, organized and empowered to make our newsrooms more responsive to our communities and healthier places to work. To do this, we need to make sure to take care of ourselves and each other. And we’re organized to do so. So as the SRCCON:WORK name suggests: let’s keep doing the work! Thank you.
[ Applause ]