Best Practice: Spaceship Media

Building news savvy: Best practices

▸Engagement

Dialogue Journalism

WHAT IS IT?

Working with news organizations, Spaceship Media brings together communities in conflict for deep conversations. Its technique: dialogue journalism, in which journalists encourage listening and empathy, and respond to any impasse in the conversation with reporting that provides a shared set of facts. In 2016, Spaceship partnered with Alabama Media Group to select and convene two groups of women, Trump voters from Alabama and Clinton voters from California, in a Facebook group for a month-long conversation.



WHO’S BEHIND IT?

Co-founders Eve Pearlman and Jeremy Hay launched Spaceship Media in 2016. Pearlman was the founding editor of the Patch website in Alameda in 2010 before supporting the company’s engagement efforts nationally. Hay was a reporter with daily newspapers and national magazines. He was a 2015 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.

DOES IT WORK?

Research-proven indicators such as those identified by The Trust Project are embedded in dialogue journalism. News organizations learn to assemble communities in conflict and design constructive “conversation experiences.” Spaceship studies the people and nature of the conflict, moderating and supporting the conversation and allowing it to evolve and develop according to the needs of the participants.



HOW TO DO IT

See if Spaceship Media can help with a pilot. News organizations learn to assemble communities in conflict and design constructive “conversation experiences.” Spaceship studies the people and nature of the conflict before letting the conversation go where it may. Rather than journalism starting conversations, these are conversations that provoke journalism. One piece of advice from Pearlman is, “Do it for them, not for you.”


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