As your point person for The Relevance Project, I inherited the framework of an initiative called the “Community Forum.” With the help of a consultant, a new mission for NAM members was proposed: “To define the new Community Forum for a better democracy and as a platform for local print advertising.”
That was presented in early 2019.
Zoom —no pun, intended — to today.
Both are urgent actions.
Few could argue that America and its states are in need of civil, civic discourse to guide positive change.
Many newspapers, cut off from revenue in the COVID-19 shutdown, also face cutbacks or closing. I’ve heard this over and over in my chats with executive directors of our associations.
But there’s this reality:
It’s impossible to approach the Community Forum strategy as a one-size fits throughout NAM. For starters, a consensus doesn’t exist.
So, I’m asking for help from you, our associations:
Who would work with me on exploring how newspapers can best lead their communities by being the forum for civil discourse that can lead to solutions?
I’d like to start there. And once a strategy is crafted, we can then focus on how to support it financially — that’s the “platform” for revenue mentioned in the mission above.
Do that quickly, I know, I know.
As publisher of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, I worked with a talented staff to organize 78 Public Squares — civil civic conversations about issues of importance to RTD readers and our communities in general — over 15 years.
Civil conversations are inspiring.
When backed with trusted journalism, they can make a difference.
They’re also needed now more than ever.
I just need one volunteer to get going.
Thanks in advance.