How We Built the Schedule for the Global Voices Newsroom Staff Meeting

The Newsroom Editors’ Team in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo taken on Dec 1, 2017. Photo from author's archive. Used with permission.

On November 28, 2017, a day before the full group of 130 Summit participants gathered for the Global Voices internal community meetings in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 40-plus staff members–newsroom editors, Lingua editors, project members and core staff–got together for a day of reflections, brainstorming on our future, and team-building exercises.

We spent some time all together as a group, and we spent some time apart in our own sections. For that newsroom-specific time together, how did we decide what to do?

Well, that process began a whole six months before the summit!

It was important for us to give careful consideration to what we would do with our precious time together, because we only meet face-to-face every two to three years. It's a rare opportunity.

So in June 2017, we asked our newsroom editors to share what they expected from an in-person staff meeting.

Editors’ answers fell into three large buckets: Strategy and Mission; Support, Community and Team-building; and Stories.

Lauren Finch, GV's News Editor, and I tried to take inspiration from each suggestion below to build a schedule that allowed for reflection on our existing systems, and that was also forward-looking in terms of solutions for tricky areas and the changing media landscape.

Strategy and Mission

  • Discussion on GV values (our contribution to making things better worldwide)
  • Discussion on our target audience (in terms of size and localization)
  • Is there a GV bubble?
  • How can we make GV even more in touch with grassroots movements?
  • Discussion on our west/American-centric tone and ways we can be global
  • Is the GV structure working?
  • Is there enough transparency in the organisation?
  • Our funding future?

Support, Team-building and Community

  • Meet all the other editors (in-person)
  • We need to get to know each other and build stronger ties! I'd be great if we could spend a whole day in a team building activity (this, for me, is the most urgent and important matter) and another discussing. I feel the editorial team is still a disperse “team”, we may know each other by name but that's about it.
  • More interpersonal communication, share each other’s work, difficulties we faced etc and innovation in our work.
  • How can I have more balance between meeting my weekly targets and publishing long posts that are well-researched?
  • Ways to engage the community (would like to hear how editors from other regions do this)
  • Ways of getting training?
  • Goodness, hardships and learnings of editing for GV.
  • Self-care and how to not go insane.
  • How can we empower our authors, make them better writers, keep them motivated and also safe
  • Community building

Stories

  • Figure out ways to make cross-regional posts
  • I think we could discuss coverage of specific events (GV events calendar?)
  • Growing our credibility with readers
  • How to increase social media impact and get more people to share/like/retweet our posts.
  • Creating compelling, accurate, balanced stories that attract diverse audiences.
  • Our narratives and storytelling techniques. Commonalities and discrepancies
  • Distribution and marketing needs (our brand needs to get stronger).
  • Are we happy with editorial processes such as the Bridge?
  • How to respond to breaking news and what kind of breaking news we should respond to?
  • Should we, and how can we, trim down our coverage scope?

As you can see, there were a lot of expectations, ideas, and many hopes!

On the day of the staff meeting, we started and closed with a group session for all staff, including the core team, Lingua editors, NewsFrames leads, and Threatened Voices members.

During the middle part of the day, Lingua editors and newsroom editors split off into their own sections; many NewsFrames and Threatened Voices team members joined the newsroom activities too.

For most sessions, editors teamed up in pairs of two to facilitate.

Lauren and I tried to encompass as many of the newsroom editors’ hopes as possible in what turned out to be a tight schedule. Some of their ideas, such as examining GV's mission, support and stories, were shared across the wider community, and so also became part of conversations that happened during the three-day internal community meeting (more about that in an upcoming series of blog posts!)

Here’s the result of those efforts:

Staff Meeting Schedule

All staff
ACTIVITY Who is a GVer? Post-it exercise
WELCOME An introduction to the summit and to each other. (Ivan)
ACTIVITY The story behind your name (Rezwan and Endalk)
ACTIVITY Who is a GVer? Brainstorm (Lova and Marianna)
Newsroom staff 
ACTIVITY Online or IRL: Who are we? (Joey and Taisa)
ACTIVITY + DISCUSSION Opinion spectrum on GV mission
PRESENTATION Top 8 GV stories of the year (Nevin and Eli)
DISCUSSION What was your favorite GV story of the year? (Filip and Janine)
DISCUSSION Our place as a group of mentors/editors in the current polarized media ecosystem (Sahar and Lauren)
Newsroom and NewsFrames and Threatened Voices staff *
ACTIVITY Find your emoji party! (Sana and Mong)
FRAMING Five GV stories we want to tell in a polarized world (Sana and Mong)
BREAKOUTS Five GV stories we want to tell in a polarized world
PRESENTATIONS Five GV stories we want to tell in a polarized world (Afef and Amanda)
DISCUSSION The stories we want to tell in a polarized world (Chris and Ellery)
ACTIVITY Match a theme to a story (Chris and Ellery)
All staff
DISCUSSION Breakouts with RV, NewsFrames and Advox
DISCUSSION Security (Ellery and Afef)
DISCUSSION Community nurturing (Gabriella and Andrea)
DISCUSSION Closing and next steps

*Attendees: Afef, Amanda, Andrea, Asteris, Chris, Ellery, Eli, Filip, Joey, Janine, Lauren, Lova, Mong, Nevin, Rezwan, Sahar, Sana, Taisa, and Arash (Newsroom); Connie, Belen, and Iria (NewsFrames); Jessica, Murad and Vaibav (Threatened Voices).

In the next few posts, we’ll go into more detail about the various activities and discussions. Stay tuned!

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