How to answer the SRCCON call for participation
by Erika Owens
This year we updated up our tickets and session proposal process so we want to give you all the information you need to fill out our call for participation form and potentially join us in Minneapolis on June 28 & 29.
So, quick recap. This form is the one place and your only chance to tell us all the ways you’d like to participate in SRCCON, whether that be as an attendee or session facilitator. Plus, it includes our travel scholarship application. It’s your one-stop shop to tell us what you’d like to bring to SRCCON, and what you want to take home. You have till Friday, April 13 at 11:59pm ET to fill in this form and we’ll get back to you by the end of the month.
We’re really psyched to hear from you, so here’s a question-by-question walkthrough of the form!
- Name - whatever name, or version of your name, you would like to share. If you’re proposing a session, your name will be listed with your proposal on the SRCCON website.
- Email - this is not shared publicly, but is how we will communicate with you.
- Organization - let us know where you work. We’re interested in making sure that a variety of news organizations are well represented at SRCCON, especially smaller-market and non-coastal news organizations.
- Twitter handle - if you have one and you’re proposing a session, we’ll list it with your proposal, if neither of those things apply to you, no worries!
- City you’re based in - this helps us understand geographic diversity of attendees.
- Have you attended SRCCON before? - we aim to make SRCCON welcoming for returning participants and new attendees alike. This question helps us ensure that there’s a good mix of SRCCON experience levels.
- Demographics: Do you identify as a: - this question is strictly optional and confidential. We aim to have a mix of SRCCON participants and want to ensure that people of color, women, and members of other underrepresented groups in journalism tech are well represented at SRCCON.
- Group(s) underrepresented in journalism or technology: - if you selected the “Member of a group underrepresented in journalism or technology, details below” option on the previous question, then this question pops up. We know that gender and race are not the only dimensions of identity, and this is a place to share any other details you feel comfortable sharing that may be relevant to your experience in this field and at a conference.
Participating in SRCCON
How would you like to participate in SRCCON? - this is where you tell us how you’d like to contribute! You can select any or all of the options. These checkboxes also correspond to questions later in the page.
I’d like to attend - we guess that everyone filling out this form is interested in attending, so you’ll get those questions to answer no matter what!
I’d like to facilitate or co-facilitate a session - if you want to pitch a session yourself or with a co-facilitator, or you’re open to teaming up on someone else’s session idea, check this box.
I’d like to help out in another way - if you want to participate outside of sessions, whether that be fun activities, a walk, a field trip, an external event, you’ll get a chance to tell us a little about it.
I’m not sure/please help me figure it out - if you have ideas that don’t fit into any of the above or just want to talk things through, click this and we’ll follow up with you.
Would you like to be considered for a SRCCON scholarship? - if you answer yes to this question, a bunch of scholarship-related questions will appear later in the form. This scholarship exists to help people—in particular members of underrepresented groups and staff of smaller/non-coastal newsrooms—afford to attend SRCCON. Your answer to this question will not affect the review of your session proposal or whether you will be invited to participate.
You and SRCCON
These questions relate to “I’d like to attend” and are how we’ll figure out who will receive an invitation to attend. Your answers help us to ensure there is a mix of experiences and backgrounds present.
- What do you do in journalism? - this is just to get a sense of your work, both in and near journalism. And what you “do” is not limited to your day job at all. Many folks either out of interest or necessity take on side projects, second-shift diversity work, and network building that is a big part of what they do in this field.
- What’s something you’ve been doing recently that you want to bring to and explore at SRCCON? - here, we’re curious about how you connect something you’ve been doing with what we’ll tackle during two days together. It’s ok if you don’t know what to expect at SRCCON, we’re more intersted in learning about what’s taking up space in your brain recently. What do you really want to share, showcase, or talk through with other people? It really can be anything. It can be something challenging, something exciting, something at the intersection of the personal and professional. Whatever you feel comfortable sharing, we’re here to listen, and create space together to get into it.
Facilitating a session
Here’s your chance to pitch a session, or tell us about your interest in co-facilitating.
What would you like to do with a session at SRCCON? - there are a few ways to facilitate sessions and this helps us make sure you see the right questions.
I’d like to propose a session. - are you here to pitch a session yourself? Fantastic. You’ll get all the questions. If you have or want a co-facilitator, there will be questions about that, too.
I’m a co-facilitator of a session someone else already submitted. - we’ll just ask you for the session title so we can sync up your name with that session. You don’t have to re-enter all the session data.
I’m available to help someone with a session who needs a co-facilitator. - sometimes people pitch sessions and ask to be paired with a co-facilitator, so it’s awesome to know if you’re up for that pairing!
Session title - think, persuasion. The session title is your first impression. It’s a chance to intrigue, invite, alarm. Your session title doesn’t have to be funny or provocative; it’s always a fine choice to default to descriptive. This title will show up on the proposed sessions page and on the eventual SRCCON schedule. If you’re nervous about your title-writing skills (I personally hate writing them), you have plenty of other chances to wow us with your idea, which brings us to…
- Session description - tell us what you want to tackle. What’s the question you want to wrestle with or technology you want to work with? Descriptions are typically a few lines long: what you want to cover, how you want to approach it, what you hope people will learn. Along with the sesion title, this information appears on the SRCCON schedule and helps attendees figure out which sessions to attend, so this is a chance for your excitement to really shine through. Why are you interested in this session? Why do you want to facilitate a session on it?
- How would you describe the purpose of your session? What would you love participants to leave with? - start with your takeaways. This question is not publicly shared. This question is here to get you really thinking about outcomes, something we take seriously at SRCCON. Pro tip: Once you’ve thought this through a bit, it’s a great idea to include a nod to outcomes in your answer to the previous “session description” question—that way potential attendees get a glimpse of your thinking, too.
- Sessions at SRCCON will last about 75 minutes. If you think your session needs a different or specific amount of time, let us know here: - each session will have 75 minutes on the schedule. If you have an awesome idea that would work best with more or less time, just let us know. We do have some flexibility in the schedule.
- SRCCON is a small conference, and we may receive more than one great proposal for some topics. If someone else proposes a session similar to this one, would you be willing to collaborate with another facilitator on a combined session? - we receive many more proposals than we have space for in the SRCCON schedule. Merging sessions on similar topics helps us involve more folks as facilitators. If we see an opportunity to merge a session, OpenNews staff coordinates with both parties and is on-hand to help make the collaboration easier.
Does this session need a co-facilitator? - would you like to plan and run your session with someone else? Unlike a panel presentation, you don’t need to have a whole bunch of people on your session to represent all possible perspectives—the folks in the room will bring that to the conversation. But a co-facilitator may bring a complementary experience or skillset to your session—maybe they love facilitation or have a lot of energy or always ask questions that your brain loves. It’s up to you whether you need, or would just prefer, to have a facilitator. If you would like one but don’t know who, we can help with that.
Nope, I’m all good - solo session, great!
Yes, and I have someone in mind who I have worked with on this proposal - partner sesion, great! We’ll ask you who your co-facilitator is, and that person needs to fill out this form, too (though not all the session details, you already did that).
Yes, and there’s someone I think would be a good fit but I haven’t chatted with them about it yet - are you submitting this session at 11:53pm ET on April 13? If so, maybe you didn’t actually talk to the person you’d like to co-facilitate with yet. Or maybe you’re just shy. In any case, it’s ok. It’s just helpful for us to know if your co-facilitator was involved with the session prep for when we communicate with folks next.
Yes, and I would like help finding the right person - you’ll get a followup question about what type of support you’d find helpful, and we have a bunch of participants to potentially pair you with!
I’d like to submit another session idea. - if you have another idea right now or think of one later, fantastic. We ask that you email additional proposals to us at firstname.lastname@example.org so you don’t have to re-enter all kinds of other data in the form.
- Tell us about what you’d like to do as a co-facilitator: - if you said you’re available to co-facilitate, we’ll just ask you a little about what you’d like to do, which will help us pair you up if someone else is looking for that perspective or those skills.
Participating in some other way!
- What would you like to bring to SRCCON? - SRCCON is more than the sessions schedule, and if you already have some ideas of activities or collaborations, let us know and we’ll be in touch in the weeks to come.
Helping you figure out how to participate!
- Is there anything you’d like to know about SRCCON that would help you figure out how to participate? - we’re here to help! Feel free to share any questions or ideas here, and we’ll follow up.
Travel scholarship application
These questions help us allocate the limited number of $500 travel scholarships we are able to offer.
- Are you able to receive any travel support from your employer? If so, what support will they provide? - answer this with your best guess of what your employer will be able to provide. This helps us gauge need.
- What travel costs do you expect you will have to pay for yourself? - standard scholarships are $500 plus a free ticket, but sometimes we can make slight adjustments, such as offering a ticket-only scholarship to people from Minneapolis.
- If you receive a scholarship, do you expect to be able to attend SRCCON? - we just want to double check that the $500 scholarship would be enough to help you attend so we can make sure everyone we offer scholarships is able to use them.
- If you receive a scholarship, are you ok with your contact info being shared with other recipients? - in the past, scholarship recipients have requested being connected with other scholarship folks. We don’t publish the list of scholarship recipients, but if you’d like to connect with other scholarship folks, just let us know.
- How did you hear about SRCCON? - this just helps us understand what works best in spreading the word about SRCCON.
- Would you be interested in information about free childcare? - it helps us to know how many folks might be interested in childcare, and we’ll have a bunch of info to share about it in the leadup to SRCCON.
- Would you like to join our mailing list for OpenNews and SRCCON updates? - totally optional to join our email list, but it’s a great way to stay up to date on what we’re doing and upcoming deadlines. Whether or not you sign up for this list, you’ll receive emails from us throughout the SRCCON process.
- Anything else that you’d like to tell us? - anything means anything—it can relate to needs for you to participate, or thoughts that didn’t fit into any of the other answers. If you have a question and would like a quick reply, you can always email us.
- Please confirm that you have read the SRCCON code of conduct and agree to follow it. - the entirety of SRCCON is covered by our code of conduct so we want to make sure you know about it and agree to it. We appreciate your support for making SRCCON a thoughtful, welcoming space.
Hit “submit” and your proposal is complete! You’ll get an email confirmation that we received your form, and we’ll see it in our review queue. The call for participation closes at 11:59pm on Friday, April 13. We will notify everyone who submitted a form by April 30.
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