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Posts Tagged ‘Oakland Tribune’

Dori Maynard

Dori Maynard

I was on a diversity panel with Dori Maynard a couple years ago, and opened by saying it was like being on a watchdog journalism panel with I.F. Stone. I said if Dori and I happened to disagree during the discussion, people should follow what Dori said because she would be right.

We lost Dori to lung cancer yesterday, and I am heartbroken.

Dori was the conscience of journalism. She was a wonderful combination of fierce, gentle, patient and persistent, and an absolutely outstanding teacher. She constantly reminded and taught us that diversity is more than a social issue, it is a journalism value, a matter of accuracy. We need to reflect the diversity of our communities in our coverage to cover the community accurately, Dori would say. And reflecting the diversity of our communities in our staffs would help us achieve the goal of accurate, diverse coverage of the community.

Whatever your excuse for failing to achieve diversity goals — and journalists and newsrooms always have excuses about diversity, because we nearly always fall short — Dori had an answer. Not a combative answer that called bullshit (though you knew she was calling bullshit), but an answer that explained why and how you needed to do more. An answer that made you want to do more. And an offer to help you do more.

I can’t think of anyone in journalism who more consistently called on our profession to do better and be better and helped us do better and be better. (more…)

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People gather for a reception at the Oakland Tribune’s downtown community newsroom Thursday evening. The Community Media Lab where the refreshments are served is usually set up with computers for community use. In the background is the Tribune’s newsroom.

I heard it again and again Thursday evening: “I’m glad to see the Tribune back in downtown Oakland.”

Martin Reynolds emcees Thursday’s opening reception at the Oakland Tribune’s downtown community newsroom.

Yes, the Tribune is back. I went out to Oakland for a reception to celebrate the return to downtown and to welcome the people of Oakland to a community newsroom with computers and meeting space for public use.

As companies like Digital First Media seek to develop a business model for the future, the brand names of newspapers are valuable assets to build upon. But the Oakland Tribune stands out for its rich heritage and emotional connection with its community, giving it almost iconic status.

When I worked for the Des Moines Register in the 1970s and ‘80s, it was a similar icon, delivered in every county in Iowa and covering statewide news like no other newspaper in the country. The Register won Pulitzer Prizes for agricultural reporting and gained national prominence for our coverage every four years of the Iowa caucuses that launched presidential campaigns. The Register had a brand identity throughout Iowa that was hard to measure and impossible to match. As a reporter, when I showed up in a small Iowa town, the Register name commanded respect (even from Iowans who considered our editorials too liberal) and persuaded people to talk unlike any other brand I ever worked for. (more…)

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I was pleased Thursday evening to attend a reception to celebrate the opening of the Oakland Tribune’s downtown community newsroom. My schedule won’t permit me to finish a full blog post until possibly this weekend. But I wanted to note the event here now. Update: Here’s the full post on the Tribune’s return to downtown Oakland.

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Oakland Voices correspondents (from left) Michael Holland, Edward Cervantes, Debora Gordon and Katrina Davis discuss their stories Wednesday evening with Christopher Johnson in the Oakland Tribune community newsroom.

I hope to see more community engagement projects like Oakland Voices.

At many of our Digital First Media newsrooms, we organize networks of people already blogging in the community and offer to help people launch blogs. Oakland Voices, a project of the Oakland Tribune, trains and pays people to tell the stories of communities in the East Bay area.

I led a writing workshop Wednesday for seven community correspondent/bloggers from Oakland Voices Wednesday at the Tribune’s new community newsroom in downtown Oakland. I’ll be speaking briefly this evening at a reception to celebrate the opening of the downtown newsroom.

Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson, a former NPR reporter and producer, directs the project, funded by a grant from the California Endowment. Martin Reynolds, Digital First regional engagement editor, is executive director of the project, a partnership with the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. This is the second group to go through the nine-month project, which started in 2010.

The correspondents are highly motivated to tell the stories of their communities, neighborhoods in East Oakland, Christopher said.

“They feel almost to a person that Oakland is getting a bad rap,” he said. “They know a different city than they are reading about, seeing on TV.” (more…)

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