SRCCON 2020 will be different, as journalism must change, too

group of people talking around a table at a conference

We won't be able to gather around a table this year, but you can bet there will be lots of notes and online chat. (Photo by Henry Kenyon)

SRCCON 2020 will be fully online on July 15-17 and in the midst of both a global crisis and a reckoning within journalism. We expect that in some ways, it will be unlike any event we’ve held before. What we do know, however, is that SRCCON 2020 will remain a unique, accessible, and inclusive event that hosts frank, challenging, nurturing, and creative conversations that need to be had.

If you’d like to be there, let us know now: Our call for participation form is how you can tell us that you’d like to attend, pitch a session (either about work or a hobby you’d like to share), or apply for a participant stipend. We’re reviewing entries to attend on a rolling basis and if you’re pitching a session, the priority deadline for submissions is June 24. We’ll begin reviewing and selecting sessions the very next day.

Helping connect online

This year will be our first digital SRCCON, and we’re building an online space based on what we collectively value about the physical experience. We’re excited to think about new ways for us to connect, and especially how we can include folks who haven’t been able to attend SRCCON before. Here are some of the ways we’re thinking about access for this online version:

  • Financial access: We have a limited number of free scholarship tickets and a limited number of participation stipends available to help people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend. To apply for a stipend, just let us know on the call for participation form.
  • Language access: SRCCON will be conducted in English, with all talks and a portion of sessions transcribed by a professional stenographer. We’re also exploring automated closed captioning for other sessions. As there is attendee interest, we’d be thrilled to support small group meetups in languages other than English. Let us know about any meetup ideas by email or in the call for participation form.
  • Timing access: We’re planning a mix sessions you’ll be able to participate in live and asynchronously (that’s right! more on that later as we nail down the logistics). Sessions will take place largely between 9am-9pm ET, to make it easier for people from a variety of time zones to participate as well as for all participants to manage attending sessions alongside other responsibilities. If you need to take care of the popsicle your kid just dropped on the floor or step away for an urgent call, we want our session timing to make that possible so that everyone can participate, especially given the complexity of this moment.

We also heard from prior participants how important socially connecting with others at the event have been, so there’s a whole section in the call for participation form to help us learn a little more about you, so we can match you up directly with other participants! We’re also researching how other virutal conferences are handling social events, platforms, and program planning, and if you’ve seen or participated in any great events, please let us know.

What to expect this year

SRCCON programs are built by participants, and previous attendees have already expressed interest this year in talking about topics like: leading during crisis, nurturing staff remotely, navigating uncertain career paths, reshaping team workflows, and organizing collective action to address the systemic racism in our industry. We can’t wait to hear what you want to talk about.

There’s a bunch of ways to be involved, from proposing a session to just sharing a bit about what’s on your mind. Throughout SRCCON, you’ll have the chance to:

  • be part of hands-on workshops that reimagine newsroom tech, teamwork, leadership, community, and journalism itself —not panels where you sit back and listen, but sessions where you participate and learn.
  • connect with people who share your hopes and dreams for journalism—not just making professional acquaintances, but creating personal relationships that last.
  • bring who you are into a conference that thinks about the program, the schedule—even breaks and activities—as ways to celebrate everything you have to share.

Sound interesting? Let us know you’d like to be there.

How to join in

We keep SRCCON events intentionally small, and this online event will be no different. We’re planning for about 300 participants. Even though a physical venue isn’t constraining the size of the crowd this year, the collaborative, interactive nature of SRCCON just doesn’t scale in the same way a talks-only conference can. The relatively small size of SRCCON 2020 means we need to be intentional about equitably distributing tickets and ensuring that there are a mix of perspectives and skills at SRCCON 2020.

We are going to review the call for participation forms on a rolling basis, and within a few business days we will let people know whether they will be invited to attend. If invited, you will have the chance to purchase a ticket starting at $125 plus fees. Last year we began experimenting with a tiered ticket-pricing system. Accessibility remains a core value for us, and this is our attempt to balance the actual costs of our events with keeping prices as manageable for attendees as possible. We adjusted our pricing structure a bit in response to going virtual this year and are offerring tiers of $125, $275, and $450, plus a free scholarship tier. We have a limited number of free scholarship tickets set aside for people who otherwise would not be able to attend, with priority for Black journalists, Indigenous journalists, and journalists of color.

Here’s the most important thing to know about these ticket prices: We want you to choose the one that makes sure you can be at SRCCON 2020. We don’t review who pays what, and we won’t follow up with any questions. If you work for an organization where budgets have already been set or there’s not support available to you, choose a lower price and join us. By the same token, if you budgeted for travel costs you no longer have to spend and are able to purchase a ticket at a higher tier, please do. In addition, if you would like to pay for someone else’s ticket, email us and we have a process to make it happen.

We’re really excited to get to spend three days together and to see what this community is interested in discussing. So if you want to be a part of it: fill out the form now. And if you have any thoughts, questions, or other feedback, email us and let us know.

posted June 17, 2020 | posted in OpenNews,  SRCCON