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SRCCON 2019: Updates on how we create space together for collaboration and new models of leadership

by Erika Owens

Creativity takes many forms at SRCCON.

Creativity takes many forms at SRCCON. (photo/Erik Westra)

At SRCCON, 300 people who care about change, technology, and journalism will gather on July 11 & 12 in Minneapolis to dig into challenging questions and discuss ways we can make newsroom tech teams, and journalism overall, work well for everyone.

We’ll open our call for participation on April 10 and wanted to share some process updates this year and some reflections about SRCCON.

In preparing for this year’s event, I went back and looked over some of our ample documentation related to SRCCON and counted up that:

  • participants have led 293 interactive, collaborative sessions on topics ranging from archiving and algorithms to management and self-care.
  • with the help of sponsors and community supporters, we’ve provided scholarships to 193 participants.
  • over the course of five SRCCONs, and SRCCON:WORK and SRCCON:POWER, we’ve welcomed 1,400 participants, with a healthy mix of new and returning attendees each time.

Through these events, we see how much this community supports one another and pushes each other to implement more inclusive policies, and do more sustainable and interesting work. We can’t wait to see what you want to dig into at this year’s SRCCON, which brings us to some updates in the process.

Continuing with the single CFP form

Last year we tried out a new approach to the session pitching and registration process for SRCCON, using a single form to apply to participate in any way. This approach worked well for SRCCON 2018 and SRCCON:POWER so we’re going to do it again! It streamlines the experience for you as an interested attendee, and for us, the information shared in these forms is tremendously helpful in creating a conference schedule that best matches what attendees need.

Key dates:

  • April 10: the call for participation form opens
  • April 24: the call for participation form for sessions and scholarships closes
  • May 10: date by which participants will be notified

Again, the CFP form will be the place for you to propose a session, apply to attend, request a scholarship, and tell us any other way that you’d like to participate! April 24 is the deadline for all session proposals and scholarship requests. As space allows, we will keep the CFP open past the deadline for applications to attend only. After that point we will review applications to attend on a rolling basis, so if you want to be sure you can attend SRCCON, your best bet is to apply before the April 24 deadline. Reviewing applications to attend allows us to be intentional about equitably distributing tickets and ensuring that there are a mix of perspectives and skills at SRCCON. The form will be very similar to last year and we’ll be available throughout the CFP to answer any questions and support you in pitching sessions you’d love to lead and sharing how you’d like to participate!

A new approach to ticket prices

While the CFP process will remain the same as last year, one area where we are making some changes is around ticket prices. We listen to your feedback after SRCCON every year, and one suggestion we received was to consider increasing ticket prices. Especially as a nonprofit that relies on community support, some community members suggested we ask folks to contribute more toward the actual cost of SRCCON. We really appreciate this encouragement and thought a lot about how to do this in a fair and accessible way.

We landed on the idea of a tiered ticketing system. This is an experiment for us, so we’re really curious for your feedback and to see how it goes this year. Also since this is an experiment, our budget is not reliant on people paying more than they are able.

Here are the tiers (plus Eventbrite ticketing fees):

  • $225: this was our ticket price last year and remains the base price for people who are paying their own way, from small newsrooms with fewer than 50 people or nonprofits with budgets $750,000 or less
  • $375: a new ticket price for people from medium-sized organizations of 51-250 employees, nonprofits with budgets $750,000-$2 million, and other similar sized organizations
  • $695: this ticket tier reflects very nearly the actual cost for each attendee of SRCCON and is for people from large organizations with more than 250 employees, nonprofits with budgets over $2 million, and other organizations that provide full professional development budgets for employees

Accessibility remains a core value for us, and this system is not meant to imply people should feel obligated to pay a higher price. Ticket pricing won’t come into the equation till we send out registration links to everyone invited to attend—it won’t be present on the CFP form at all—but we wanted to get you this information sooner for any professional development budget planning you may need to do.

These tiers will be shared on an honor system. We’ll ask attendees to pick the tier that best reflects their situation, with the descriptions as guidelines not requirements. We also share this information as part of our transparency in operating. The actual cost to attendees is what it takes to organize an event with 40 event scholarships, free childcare, live transcription, two lunches, dinner, and ample snacks and drinks, and the support of a skilled event team in preparing sessions and constructing a schedule that lets attendees focus on learning and talking together. We’re grateful for the encouragement to think of new ways to approach ticketing, and we’re hopeful this will be a fair way to share costs for the event.

Start your travel planning now!

As you’re thinking about attending SRCCON this year, we encourage you to look at your travel plans a little earlier than usual. We’ll let folks know about their sessions and tickets by May 10 to give you plenty of time to book flights. As a heads up, there will be a large event in Minneapolis that week so we’ve already booked a block at a nearby hotel for $169/night plus taxes. We’ll share details about that along with ticket information, but just know that things might sell out or go up in price more quickly than in the past. If you need any information to put in budget requests for professional development support or anything like that, please just let us know. We want to make it as easy to attend as possible. If you’ve been wanting to attend SRCCON for a while, let this be your year! The form opens April 10 and we can’t wait to hear from you.

SRCCON 2019 will take place once again in Minneapolis on July 11 & 12, and we’re excited to share updates on the process for this year’s event.

posted April 03, 2019 | posted in OpenNews 

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