The people behind Journalism that Matters
Chris Peck is a former president of both the Associated Press Managing Editors and the American Society of Newspaper Editors and is now editor of The Commercial Appeal in Memphis. He oversees all news and opinion operations and directs a staff of approximately 180 reporters, editors and photographers. Peck came to Memphis in 2003 after serving for one year as the first Belo Distinguished Chair of Journalism at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Before that, he was editor of The Spokesman-Review, in Spokane, Wash. Under his direction, The Spokesman-Review was cited by Columbia Journalism Review as one of the 25 best papers in the United States.
Stephen Silha is a freelance writer, communications consultant, facilitator and futurist. A co-facilitator of Journalism That Matters, Stephen was a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor and The Minneapolis Star before becoming communications director for the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
He co-convened the first symposium on The Media and Philanthropy at the Chicago Tribune, and worked on the research project on community communications called Good News/Good Deeds: Citizen Effectiveness in the Age of Electronic Democracy (http://www.goodnewsgooddeeds.org]. Silha has worked with youth to get their voices in the media, and to facilitate youth-adult dialogues on Vashon Island, near Seattle, where he lives. He is immediate past president and a board member of the Washington News Council.
Peggy Holman convenes and hosts conversations that matter, inviting people and systems to gather around the issues most important to them. By growing their capacity to step into the seemingly chaotic by using generative processes that call forth the best of who they are and can be, Peggy has been honored to witness organizations and communities unleash the energy and wisdom to move dreams to action. The vastly expanded second edition of her book, The Change Handbook (Berrett-Koehler, 2007), co-edited with Tom Devane and Steven Cady, has been warmly received as an aid to people wishing to increase resilience, agility, collaboration, and aliveness in their organizations and communities. Over the last seven years, Peggy has worked with journalists in redefining journalism for the 21st century. She has an MBA from Seattle University. Her current inquiry is into how we take to scale the art and practice of engagement to shift our collective capacity for living well together.
Bill Densmore is director/editor of the Media Giraffe Project at the Univ. of Massachusetts-Amherst, and the New England News Forum. The MGP, launched in March, 2005, is an effort to find and spotlight individuals making sustainable, innovative use of media (old and new) to foster participatory democracy and community. Holding a degree in environmental policy and communications, he is knowledgeable on Internet information technologies and business models. A career journalist, he has been an editor/writer for The Associated Press, for trade publications in business, law and insurance; and freelanced for general circulation dailies including the Boston Globe. He has written for ComputerWorld Magazine. In 1993, after nine years owning and publishing weeklies in Berkshire County, Mass., Densmore formed what became Clickshare Service Corp., which provides user registration, authentication and transaction-handling for Internet web content sites (more about the concept). Densmore has also served as advertising director for a small, group-owned daily; and as an interim director of the not-for-profit Hancock Shaker Village. He has taught and lectured in journalism at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, in North Adams, Mass., and is a director of the Action Coalition for Media Education. Densmore Associates develops partner and other business strategies for independent media and print publishers, including newspapers and NewsTrusta initiative to create a consumer news-recommendation service. At the start of his career, Densmore worked briefly in public radio in Worcester, Mass., and Amherst, Mass.
Cole Campbell was essential in shaping Journalism that Matters. We honor his contribution to the field of journalism and miss his wit and wisdom.
Excerpt from Peter Levine:
Cole Campbell died in a car accident. Cole had been editor of The Virginian-Pilot and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where he introduced and developed the concept of “public journalism.” Cole and his reporters did not take for granted that there was a “public” (in John Dewey’s sense) for their work. In other words, they did not assume that there were people out there who showed interest in public issues, who talked with one another, and who belonged to effective groups. In fact, all such forms of political engagement were in decline–just as newspaper readership was falling. In response, Cole and other practitioners of public journalism created neutral forums for public discussion. They stimulated interest in civic participation by covering civil society (not just campaigns and politicians). They changed daily practices in the newsroom. For example, instead of automatically looking for controversies and problems, they would sometimes celebrate consensus and civic assets. They also found new sources: civic leaders who didn’t hold official titles. In short, Cole and his reporters redefined “the news” and redesigned the newspaper to promote civic life.