Engaging Emergence: Advancing the Future of Journalism for All

PhillyCam, Philadelphia’s community media center, produced the video that recaps our time together.


Engaging Emergence: Advancing the Future of Journalism for All (EE3) convened 120 journalists, community organizers, educators, researchers, and others interested in transforming journalism to be more inclusive, community-powered, and relevant to all. Thanks to our hosting partners Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University and the Online News Association, the 3-day event on August 21-23, 2023 aimed to advance “the future journalism for all” through engaged practices centered on building trust, redistributing power, and sparking collaborations. Click “Read the Report” on the right column to access a report prepared by University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Sue Robinson.

EE3 used Open Space Technology to organize small-group discussions around an agenda set by participants. Themes from the conversations included increasing accountability and transparency, embracing positive change, and valuing mental health/self-care.

Advancing community-powered journalism – many participants expressed optimism about the potential to radically evolve journalism into a more democratized, constructive force by redistributing power and platform to communities. The challenges to overcome include closed mindsets in the industry, lack of training and resources, and resistance to change in legacy news outlets.

Proposed strategies to advance community-powered journalism include:

  • Networking and infrastructure building; 
  • Training in engagement practices; 
  • Modeling inclusive behaviors; 
  • Securing flexible funding; 
  • Collaborating with non-journalism groups; and 
  • Leading with compassion, care, and an ethic of listening.

Actions already underway – Post-event survey responses showed participants:

  • Building partnerships, 
  • Seeking training, and 
  • Implementing engaged journalism learnings around solutions-focused coverage, community conversations, inclusive sourcing, and more. 

Despite challenges, a sense of purpose and the possibility of transforming journalism emerged. Participants created the following synthesis at the close of the conference:

Community-Powered Journalism


We transform journalism by listening to and responding to community needs for a better world.

Principles & Qualities

  • Be grounded in an Ethic of Care
  • Listen actively & deeply
  • Amplify community well-being
  • Co-create and collaborate
  • Honor Kinship – we’re members of communities
  • Be Rigorous – hold ourselves accountable, seek truth

Strategies for adoption

  • Tell the bigger story – don’t just parachute in
  • Partner with non-journalistic organizations
  • Convene community to facilitate communication
  • Identify infrastructure in journalism and invest in network organizing
  • Develop training & challenge norms, individually and as networks
  • Find resources to change newsrooms

In conjunction with the OJA Gather Award in Community-Centered Journalism, Agora Journalism Center and Journalism That Matters hosted an ONA23 pre-conference and brought together journalists and allies for a participant-driven exchange of information and ideas.