About Dimensions of Difference
In journalism, we rely on our colleagues to help us hone our craft and to hold us accountable as we work through thorny coverage collaboratively. At Trusting News, we have been hearing from journalists who say that they are sometimes afraid to say what they really think in their newsrooms. They are hesitant to question the assumptions they see embedded in their colleagues’ coverage. At Spaceship Media, we are keenly aware that, as our society continues to change at a rapid clip, the ability to engage around all dimensions of our differences is challenging. Still, being able to do so within our newsrooms is essential to serving our communities.
In the service of hiring with diversity of experience in mind, Trusting News developed (together with partner journalists) a Dimensions of Difference Hiring Guide. Spaceship Media’s work centers around supporting citizens and journalists alike in recognizing their own views, values and ideals and discussing them with people with whom they disagree.
In the summer of 2022, Spaceship Media and Trusting News teamed up to develop a workshop designed specifically to support productive dialogue within newsrooms, so that each newsroom’s complex community was better reflected in their journalism.
Our pilot Dimensions workshop was a series of five online sessions, in which we guided teams of journalists from six newsrooms through an exploration of the world views and experiences represented on their teams. We worked together to identify dimensions of difference and to practice talking about those differences as they relate to news coverage. You can read more about that work and the results here.
Want more support? Our team offers this material in workshop formats, both online and in person with specific newsrooms. For more information on that, email info@TrustingNews.org.
Both the workshop and this guide are funded by New Pluralists as part of the Road to Pluralism initiative from Trusting News.
The people behind the guide
After almost 20 years as a working journalist, I now run Trusting News, where we help journalists and their communities understand each other. In my life and in my contributions to journalism, I try to avoid the flattening out of complex ideas and people. I know what it’s like to have assumptions made about me, and I work at not making them about others. I started Trusting News in 2016 after 12 years at the Missouri School of Journalism, where I created an audience engagement curriculum and a community outreach team in the newsroom of the Columbia Missourian and also taught web design and print design. Before that I worked in newsrooms in Florida, Kansas and Alaska. I now live in Sarasota, Florida. I can be reached at joy@TrustingNews.org.
After working in local news in the San Francisco Bay Area for the bulk of my career, in 2016, I co-founded the innovative journalism organization, Spaceship Media, with a mission to reduce polarization, restore trust in journalism, and build communities. Spaceship Media’s dialogue journalism process reconceptualizes reporting practice by putting convenings between divided or polarized communities at the heart of our journalistic work. We have partnered with newsrooms around the globe to convene and moderate difficult conversations. I have been lucky enough to reach millions with my TED Talk, How to lead a conversation between people who disagree, and a book, Guns, An American Conversation: How to Bridge Political Divides, Simon & Schuster. In 2022, Spaceship Media released a podcast called The Wedge, which tells the story of a mother and daughter who disagree vehemently about vaccines.