Friday, October 3, 2014

What if Journalism Was Built for Inclusive Community Participation?

Medium reporting:
A talk by Larenellen McCann, given at the Code For America Summit
(Forked by Josh Stearns, with permission. Words in BOLD are my addition or tweaks to her original transcript. A video of her original talk is at the bottom of this post.)
At the risk of creating a massive existential crisis, I want to start my talk by asking, “What is community?” Who gets to decide what a community is? Who’s involved? What skills you need to get in the club?
And for that matter, what’s a “journalism community?” What definition of journalism are we using to describe the “news sector,” the “journalism sector” — all of us, here in this room?
We need to be able to answer these questions concretely, even though it’s so easy to refer to them in the abstract because “communities” are groupings of individual people, and you can’t really serve people if you can’t define who it is that you’re trying to serve.
And if you can’t define who it is that you’re trying to serve, you also can’t identify who you’re not reaching.
This is something we were thinking a lot about in my fair city, Washington, DC, earlier this year when we had the opportunity to organize the “DC journalism community” (whatever that is) to participate in a massive cultural festival: a Funk Parade.

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