How it Began

In June 2000, thanks to a lead from Cole Campbell, Stephen Silha, Peggy Holman, and Chris Peck had a conversation about the future of journalism. It ended with an invitation from Chris: what did we think about a national conversation among journalists about the future of journalism?

That question launched an ambitious idea: Let’s engage the people involved with the news in examining their craft — its fundamental purpose, how it is done, what it means to be a watchdog, to serve the public interest. In other words, do something rarely done by the industry — reflect on the purpose and practice of journalism so that the stories told serve us well.

We spent much of the next two years seeking foundation funding to convene conversations, sponsored by the APME (Associated Press Managing Editors) in every US state.

Here is a version of that paper: Journalism that Matters Background paper

Who has been involved in Journalism that Matters?

  • Mainstream Media
  • Independent Media
  • Editors, Reporters, Publishers, Producers, Broadcasters
  • Media Reformers
  • Media Educators
  • Journalism Students
  • Audience members
  • A Wall street analyst
  • Technologists

Activities to Date

Rebooting the News – Philadelphia

On October 23-25, 2008, 67 teachers, researchers, journalists, students, and media activists joined together to find common ground on news literacy.

New Pamphleteers/New Reporters: Journalism that Matters – Minneapolis

On June 4-5, 2008, 107 placebloggers joined with mainstream journalists and others to consider their “passion for place”.

NewsTools2008: Journalism that Matters – Silicon Valley

On April 30-May 3, 2008, 156 journalists, bloggers, technologists, media activists, journalism educators, journalism students, and others came together on the Yahoo! Sunnyvale campus to look at

What is possible at the intersection of journalism and technology that serves democracy?

Journalism That Matters: The DC Sessions
On August 7 and 8, 2007, The Media Giraffe Project at UMass Amherst and the Journalism That Matters Consortium co-hosted a structured dialogue at George Washington University among media educators, activists and industry veterans. One highlight was a way of thinking about journalism education:

From Mainstream to New Media: Finding Common Ground to Grow Participatory Democracy

On January 11 and 12, 2007, The Media Giraffe Project at UMass Amherst and the Journalism That Matters Consortium co-hosted a structured dialogue among media activists, industry veterans, innovators and researchers. “From Mainstream to New Media: Finding Common Ground to Grow Participatory Democracy.” The gathering overlaped — but was independent of — the Third National Conference for Media Reform at the Memphis [Tenn.] Cook Convention Center. Click here for a summary of the meeting.

Journalism That Matters at the Media Giraffe Conference

On June 30 and July 1, 2006, 30 people (editors, academics, students, bloggers, reporters, foundation executives) participated in a highly condensed exploration of “The New News Ecology” as part of a conference on the future of journalism at the University of Massachusetts. For details, see http://www.mediagiraffe.org/wiki/index.php/Summit_topics

Journalism that Matters: The New News Ecology

On April 19-22, 2006, twenty-two people passionate about journalism – professionals from print, broadcast, new media, both mainstream and independent, citizens, educators, a funder and a student – convened in St. Louis to consider “What is the next newsroom and how do we create it?” The report.

And the session notes.

2010: Journalism That Matters For the 21st Century

On October 6-9, 2005, twenty-nine people in journalism (print, broadcast, new media, citizen activists, educators, a student, a funder and a Wall Street analyst) convened at the Fetzer Institute’s Seasons Retreat Center to consider the future of journalism. The report.

And the session notes for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (illustrated).

Newsroom Summit at 2001 National APME Conference
Editors and journalism students held a conversation in Open Space.

on Journalism that Matters that was a conference highlight for many. Here’s the story and the proceedings.

Associated Press Managing Editors (APME) board
We piloted a conversation using Appreciative Inquiry and Open Space.

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