A celebration of the relationships and actions that move the news nerd community
by mago torres, on December 14, 2022
Analyzing a survey that gives us a portrait of our community is like looking into a kaleidoscope. Every turn is a reminder of the light that binds us, but that also reflects our diversity. We see how our personal experiences mold how we inhabit our professional space: how career trajectories, age, race, roles and gender intersect with systems and structures that are not set up to work for all of us.
The first highlights from this year’s News Nerd Survey, which had the participation of over 600 members of the community, are a reflection of these experiences. In this first update of the results, we share not the numbers, but some of the intangibles that speak to who we are as a community.
- Our connections (can) translate into collective efforts for everyone. One of the most beautiful aspects to see through responses of the survey is the constant recognition of the value of mutual support inside the news nerd community. And that this support and helping each other takes a lot of forms, from being available to answer questions in a Slack community, to offering peer support, advocating and mentoring (or sponsoring!), being present and active in spaces for hard conversations, and impromptu check-ins, among many others. Respondents with more tenure shared that one of the things they look forward to is offering support in the same way they got it and that helped move forward their careers.
- A question for further study is how this network can better strengthen relationships between its members, to make it easier to ask for and offer help?
- Where does the leadership of collective care fall? One notable shift from the previous survey is that we saw more women than men respondents. Does this mean that the balance in the community is changing? That is hard to answer. Does it relate to expanded efforts to create more equitable, inclusive, anti-racist news organizations? As the conversations and actions of this community, inspired by those earlier surveys, have expanded to focus on work environments where self and collective care are central, we wonder if this shift reflects who leads that work, and why. The survey is not a perfect census portrait, but it does help us understand who identifies as part of the news nerd community and the OpenNews network. In this latest survey, we asked about other areas of identity to learn more about representation and demographics, and we will share more about that in the future.
- As we continue reviewing the data, we’re considering convening a group to dig into the gender dynamics more deeply. If you’d like to be part of that, let us know.
- Tech and culture complement and nurture each other. As OpenNews’ work evolved in response to prior surveys, we began focusing on organizational culture change in addition to technical work. In this updated snapshot of the news nerd community, we noticed how these two threads are both distinct and interwoven: on one hand respondents value resources to strengthen their journalism + tech skills; and, on the other, they value being a part of efforts to make the industry more diverse, inclusive and equitable. While there is no right formula to create an equilibrium, what is clear is that one side cannot be without the other: both tech and culture are core for this community and for the future of journalism. These challenges cannot be solved by one, two, or three journalists alone, but must be handled collectively, by relying on the community that wants to be here for each other.
- One question that we want to continue exploring is how we can build together the formula for the balance between the two needs?
We close these highlights with the recognition that none of this would be possible without the effort that everyone puts in to continue and transform the news nerd community. We have clarity that leadership is not hierarchical, but shared and co-created. That the relationships that we build when we share the space to listen, talk and understand each other are at the heart of the transformation of our industry. Thank you for being present and collectively leading the way. We are looking at ways in which we can interrogate the data together. If you, like us, have questions that can help us to find more turns to this kaleidoscope, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll have further updates and analysis to share in early 2023.
This News Nerd Survey is the third iteration of a survey designed by Network Impact and informed by community input to understand more about the people who work at the intersection of journalism and technology, and how together we can strengthen and make better our organizations and work environments.
In the next couple of months we will share more detailed findings along with a specific analysis on salary, conducted by Dilcia Mercedes and edited by Soo Oh.
Mago Torres is working with OpenNews as Research Project Director to help with the News Nerd Survey analysis.
The latest from the OpenNews team
Read all our news in our OpenNews blog