Get organized (tips for the flight or train ride home)
Who this exercise is for: anyone who just closed out a conference or training event and has tons of ideas, resources, tipsheets, toolkits, tweets and notes to make sense of before returning to the office.
What you need: all of your physical and digital artifacts from the event. Did you tweet about the event or post about it online somewhere? Did you take notes, either digitally or physically? Collect all of your materials that may be useful in the future like tipsheets from panels or links from speakers.
There’s no right or wrong way to organize your ideas. Here’s a few methods to get you started:
1) Take 10 minutes to skim through everything you’ve got and just see what jumps out at you and crosses your mind as you review your notes and thought. If you took physical notes, you can take a highlighter and circle key ideas or themes that you want to bring back to work with you. If you took notes digitally, use a colored text or bolded font to track these ideas.
- Make a list of 3-5 key themes or big ideas that stood out to you from the event that you think would be valuable in your newsroom.
- Under each item consider:
- Why is this idea or theme valuable to your newsroom’s goals?
- What would be needed to bring this idea/theme/skill, etc into your workplace in terms of staffing, time, other resources?
- What’s a next step you can take this week to get the ball rolling?
2) Another option would be to use a list of questions as prompts to help you dig through your notes and artifacts. For example try to answer as many of these as you can:
- What was the best session you attended?
- What was the most interesting thing that you learned?
- What did you learn that was surprising?
- Name 5 new story ideas you thought of during the event
- Who did you meet at your event? What did they say?
- What did you see or hear about from another newsroom that you think you can try in your newsroom?
- What cool projects inspired you?
- What do you still have questions about?
- What do you still want to learn more about?
- Which of your projects did you talk most about?
- Was there any aspect of your newsroom that you felt like you were bragging about during the event?
- How do you think your day to day work will change as a result of attending this event?
- What’s the singlemost important idea, tool, resource or practice you would like to see in your newsroom in a month, in a year?
3) Did you attend the event with other colleagues? Try collaborating in a Google doc so that you can all be on the same page when you return to the newsroom.
- Use the big ideas/themes framework to see where your notes and learning overlapped.
- Brainstorm ways together that you can share this knowledge with each other and with others in your organization: maybe you’ll host a skillsharing session for a small group, or just sit with someone 1:1 for a tool or resource demo, maybe you’ll send a list of resources and links around that you curate together, maybe you’ll host a series of brownbags based on the skills and ideas you all acquired.
- Pitch new ideas and internal changes to management leadership. Maybe you all fell in love with a new tool, or you saw a cool project you’d like to try in house. Rally together and prioritize your asks and pitches so you can maximize support.
This resource is part of the OpenNews After Party toolkit, developed by Emma Carew Grovum. It’s meant to help you get the most out of SRCCON—or any journalism event—and share what you learn with your own organization. The toolkit is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0, and we’d love to see you use or adapt it for your own event—all we need is a link back here.
We’d also be thrilled to hear how you put what you learn into practice, so please tweet us at #OpenNewsAfterParty, or if you have any questions, let us know!