as a Disruptor

Nieman Report explores the impact of dialogue journalism

A workshop for “Guns: An American Conversation” is one of the dialogue-based projects in which Spaceship Media has been involved. Photo by Seth Siditsky/Advance Local

Harvard’s Nieman Reports featured Spaceship Media’s work in an October piece, “Can Dialogue Journalism Engage Audiences, Foster Civil Discourse, and Increase Trust in the Media?” In the article, reporter Ricki Morell cites retired Knight Ridder newspaper executive Paula Ellis who calls organizations like Spaceship Media ‘disruptors.’  Writes Morell of Ellis’ views: “They don’t want to blow up journalism, but they do want to challenge some of the traditional orthodoxies that still govern it, such as valuing reports that highlight conflict and ‘he said/she said’ disagreement more than nuance and areas of agreement.” Read the story here.

Crossing the Line

Spaceship Media partnered with The Fresno Bee, Arizona State University’s News Co/Lab, and Bee reporter Brianna Calix to explore longstanding socioeconomic divides between the north and south sides of Fresno. The project, Crossing the Line, included asking how Fresno community members felt about the divide and safety in their community through surveys and polls, moderated community meetings, and a Facebook discussion group. “We see this as not an ending but a launching-off point for an even deeper future discussion,” wrote Fresno Bee editor Joe Kieta. Stories about the project are here.

Stories of The Many

Photo illustration by Adriana Garcia/Spaceship Media

The Many is a Spaceship-moderated, national conversation for women of all political leanings. Reporter Anahita Mukherji writes about how participants in The Many are benefitting from the conversation being for women only. Male voices often drown out women’s voices on the internet but not in The Many. “Women’s comments on the group show they have read and contemplated what others are saying, and aren’t just make a point,” says participant Tricia Nociti of Tennessee.
Mukherji also writes about how women in The Many felt about the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. “Conversations were visceral. Women wore their feelings on their skin. Yet they were grateful for the opportunity to talk to the other side,” she wrote.
Photo illustration by Adriana Garcia/Spaceship Media reporter Abbey Crain featured participants from The Many in her piece about Alabama women’s responses to Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court. Crain’s story captured the diversity of opinions that we see in The Many, and shows the many ways women in Alabama are united even if they don’t agree.

Spaceship’s Alyxaundria Sanford wrote a piece for PennLive focusing on the experience of black participants in The Many. “For some of the group's black members, The Many represents a chance to learn about voters from around the country — those in their own party and those across party lines,”  writes Sanford.

The Many Goes Local

Spaceship Media has launched two state-specific groups, just in time for midterm elections! Branching off from The Many, we have opened up smaller groups for women hailing from Alabama and Pennsylvania.The Birmingham Public Library and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh are also on board, helping us with reporting and research for the groups. You can read more about The Pennsylvania Many here.

Where We've Been

Eve Pearlman, Spaceship Media co-founder and CEO spoke at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics event “Platforms & New Tools: Friends and Foes” as part of IOP Pritzker Fellow Maria Ramirez's series, “How to Fight Polarization, Nationalism & Distrust in Media in Europe & the United States.” There, they discussed the future of journalism and ways Spaceship Media uses closed environments, like Facebook groups, to engage and connect with audiences to nurture meaningful dialogue and produce thought-provoking journalism.

Spaceship’s Alyxaundria Sanford and Kristine Villanueva, both alums of the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York, talked to the new cohort about ways moderation and community engagement fuels impactful journalism.

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