Welcome to the 2021 NJ Local News Summit
The Center for Cooperative Media is committed to creating an inclusive, equitable and safe environment at the NJ Local News Summit.
We’ve heard again and again that people want a space to support and share with each other on the topic of collaborative local journalism in New Jersey.
That means confronting the roles that implicit bias, structural and systemic racism and years of inequity play when organizing these kinds of events. We’re excited about the thought-provoking panels and captivating sessions during our time together, so we wanted to share our commitments when it comes to creating a space for those conversations and give you an idea of the kind of support we can offer to each other in the process.
The following commitments are adapted from the Speaker Rider for Meaningfully Inclusive Events, created by Jan Diehm, Sisi Wei, and Erika Owens at OpenNews and The Pudding. These commitments are also informed by the Center’s work participating in Yancey Consulting’s 6-month training series, which wrapped up this spring, titled “Learning to Applied Practice: Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression.”
- We commit to being anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and meaningfully inclusive across all parts of our event. We draw from Yancey Consulting’s guidance and glossary of terms in our view of anti-racism and anti-oppression; you can read those at the bottom of this page.
- We will respectfully gather speaker demographics and make the data accessible before the Summit, updating it as our speaker roster is finalized. We will also gather attendee demographics.
- We commit to recruiting diverse speakers and we will actively prioritize minoritized and marginalized voices.
- We commit to ensuring an accessible, inclusive and welcoming space. We have an enforceable code of conduct with a response plan (see below).
- We will pay attention to the language we use and will respond respectfully and empathetically to criticism or recommendations for improvement.
- We are learning and welcome feedback.
CODE OF CONDUCT
All attendees at the NJ Local News Summit must agree to:
- Be considerate in speech and actions, and actively seek to acknowledge and respect the boundaries of fellow attendees.
- Refrain from demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior and speech. Harassment includes, but is not limited to: deliberate intimidation; stalking; unwanted photography or recording; sustained or willful disruption of talks or other events; inappropriate physical contact; use of sexual or discriminatory imagery, comments, or jokes; and unwelcome sexual attention. If you feel that someone has harassed you or otherwise treated you inappropriately, please alert any member of the conference team in person, via the team phone/text line, or via email.
- Take care of each other. Alert a member of the conference team if you notice a dangerous situation, someone in distress, or violations of this code of conduct, even if they seem inconsequential.
If any attendee engages in harassing behavior, the conference organizers may take any lawful action we deem appropriate, including but not limited to warning the offender or asking the offender to leave the conference. (If you feel you have been unfairly accused of violating this code of conduct, you should contact the conference team with a concise description of your grievance; any grievances filed will be considered by the entire CCM team.)
Our code of conduct covers the entirety of our time together for the NJ Local News Summit, including evening activities. We understand there could also be experiences or interactions that happened before, and independent of, our event that may affect your capacity to participate fully. We request that if you have such concerns, and feel comfortable doing so, let us know about them in advance, during, or after the conference.
During the Summit, we will publicize a contact email and phone number, in addition to pointing out our staff members and LNS helpers so you know who to contact if you see or experience an issue. We welcome your feedback on this and every other aspect of the NJ Local News Summit, and we thank you for working with us to make it a safe, enjoyable, and friendly experience for everyone who participates.
Inviting others into your conversation
Many of you have mentioned that you enjoy meeting other people who are also working on the kinds of issues and challenges you and your newsrooms are facing. With that in mind, remember the following:
- We are here to meet and learn from one another. Do you see a group of people you don’t know who sound like they’re having an interesting conversation? Say hi!
- Keep space open for others to join. Follow Eric Holscher’s Pac-man rule: “When standing as a group of people, always leave room for 1 person to join your group.”
Taking care of yourself
- Listen to yourself. If your body is telling you something, listen to it. We encourage you to listen to other needs you may have too—feeling an urge to stretch? Feeling your neck tense up? Need to turn off your camera and take an impromptu walk? Go for it.
- You don’t need to ask permission to meet your own needs. At this conference, we follow “the rule of mobility.” The rule goes like this: If you aren’t participating in a session, or no longer want to participate, you can and should go to a session or somewhere else where you feel like you can contribute. You don’t have to ask or apologize or delay. Just get up and go!
- We are here for you. You’ll probably find plenty of people here who are facing similar challenges and are available to strategize or distract, if that’s what you need. You can lean on this community and network – and our staff. You are not in this alone! If you need someone to talk to, our team is here for you and you can reach us through our help line or find one of us in person.
Taking care of each other
We hope you’re in the mood to take care of your own needs and to connect with others. With that in mind, remember the following:
- Hear others. None of us knows everything, but together we know a lot. We’ve got a wonderful opportunity today to listen and learn from one another. Listening is a chance to hear invitations and boundaries that allow us to better understand one another.
- “Speak from the I, name the we.” It can be helpful to be explicit about sharing from your own perspective: When “speaking from the I,” you’re clear that you’re sharing from your own personal experience. If you use “we” language, please name who you are referring to in that group. Is the “we” you are a part of in that statement your team, your news organization, your neighborhood, your social group? Being explicit about these perspectives can help ensure the listener understands what you’re saying and doesn’t have to guess.
- We all have support. The entire event is backed by our code of conduct and safety plan, and our support team is available to help us take care of one another, too.
Portions of the above text are licensed CC BY-SA 4.0. Credit to Citizen Code of Conduct, the Django Project’s code of conduct and Theorizing the Web code of conduct, from which we’ve extensively borrowed, with general thanks to the Ada Initiative’s “how to design a code of conduct for your community.”