Using Conversation to Build Collaboration Between Newsrooms and Communities

The Jefferson Center launched Your Voice Ohio in 2017, the second phase of an ongoing collaborative effort to help Ohio newsrooms better understand and respond to the needs of their communities. We’re looking at a variety of methods of engagement — both in-person and online — to find the most effective and sustainable approaches for local newsrooms. Here’s what we’ve learned so far (as of 2018).

Gather: The Art and Science of Effective Convening

Gather is a hands-on guidebook for all convening designers and social change leaders who want to create convenings that tap into a group’s collective intelligence and make substantial progress on a shared challenge. It provides simple frameworks for the questions that are often ignored: whether convening is the right tool to use to advance a strategic agenda, and how a convening can be used to achieve a specific purpose. It then helps readers understand how to customize the design to fit that purpose, laying out a clear series of steps for what is a naturally chaotic workflow.

Towards a Civic Communications Ecosystem for Thriving Community

What’s possible when the public and journalists engage to support communities to thrive? Engagement is about authentic connections, valuing people, and mutual exchanges so that what’s best for individuals and the community as a whole emerges. With both journalists and other community members present at Experience Engagement, some conversations also pointed towards a communications ecosystem that supports the civic health of communities. Beyond journalism, as we know it, this civic communications ecosystem would provide robust information, feedback, inclusive dialogue, strategy and action for serving community goals. Read more of this from co-author Peggy Holman.

The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change

This book describes a wildly popular approach to organizational change that dramatically improves performance by encouraging people to study, discuss, learn from, and build on what’s working, rather than simply trying to fix what’s not. Whitney and Trosten-Bloom use examples from many different types of organizations to illustrate Appreciative Inquiry (AI) in action. The authors have included a new chapter on the community applications of Appreciative Inquiry, as well as a host of new examples and other enhancements. More on AI here, here, and here.