NewsTrust Baltimore Meetup: Good conversations about local journalism
We stepped away from our computers Tuesday evening and headed down to Teavolve in Harbor East for our first meetup with the NewsTrust Baltimore community: partners, journalists, members, and Baltimoreans invested in good journalism. We wanted to celebrate the extension to the pilot and to have the chance to just chat with each other about Baltimore, journalism, and our role as members of the broader community.
NewsTrust's founder and executive director, Fabrice Florin, was in town, and he was thrilled to attend the event. He’s a fearless photographer and arranged a photo project where each person was asked, "Why does Baltimore need good journalism?" Fabrice took photos of each person holding a card with their answer, and over the course of the evening, we noticed some key ideas kept recurring.
Kevin Moreno, Baltimore Community Foundation program officer and blogger for Unsung Baltimore, wrote, simply, "We deserve it." There were several people, including Hal Malone, Spanish services coordinator for Friends of the Family, who agreed that good journalism is critically important.
Watchdog coverage of government was a popular theme. Gina Davis, who works in media relations for McDaniel College, wrote: "Keep ‘em honest." Tim Hill, online editor of City Paper, expanded on the subject and wrote: "When power know it's not being watched, it consumes the powerless."
Focusing on our role as consumers in the news ecosystem, Michele Baylin of the Maryland Humanities Council wrote, "Because an informed public leads to a more 'civiclly' engaged public!"
We gathered informally in small groups to discuss the ideas and to make new connections. I talked with Gordon Steen about the changing trends in journalism and the value of providing links in online news to give the full story, and with Amy Kozak about the need to practice thoughtful civic dialogue.
Our local editor, Mary Hartney, talked with Towson Patch’s Tyler Waldman about how his friends in Japan are faring after the earthquake and tsunami, and she also spoke with Christopher Siple about his interest in local government and nightlife coverage.
Andrew Hazlett, NewsTrust Baltimore's writer and researcher, had great discussions with Bmore Media editor Neal Shaffer and Baltimore Sun community coordinator Steve Earley about the project's benefits to journalists and news outlets.
Unlike our national parent site, NewsTrust.net, which draws members from across the globe, we are fortunate to be a local community and to have opportunities to connect with each other face to face. Each time we meet with our friends, partners, and reviewers, we gain insight about the project and find ourselves re-energized. We look forward to more meetups and great conversations in the future! Thank you to those who attended and gave us valuable feedback about the project.
For more photos, check out our new photo page on NewsTrust Baltimore.