Now that the new year is upon us, we wanted to reflect on what the Dot Connector Studio team did in the fall. It’s been a whirlwind!

In September, director Jessica Clark went down to Austin attend one of our favorite conferences, ONA18. There she attended panels on journalism futures and rising platforms such as augmented reality:

Later that month she participated in the Collective Wisdom Symposium hosted by MIT Open Documentary Lab’s Co-Creation Studio. Our publication Immerse served as a sponsor for this in-depth examination of participatory methods in documentary and storytelling, and will be featuring highlights from a related report in 2019.  Immerse is published by Dot Connector Studio, edited by Jessica, produced in collaboration with the MIT Open Doc Lab,  and supported by the Fledgling Fund and the Ford Foundation.

Continuing our focus on engaged journalism, Michelle Polyak, assistant director, stayed local and attended Klein News Innovation Camp at Temple University. The unconference-style event held sessions on how to build membership programs, and the benefits of collaborative journalism (with Resolve Philadelphia as the prime example), among many others.

In November, Michelle co-presented a new suit on business models for news for our Impact Pack at the People-Powered Publishing conference in Chicago with Ben Whitelaw of the European Journalism Centre. The session was cited in the Democracy Fund newsletter, The Local Fix . Check out the slides with useful tips on revenue and engagement. Meanwhile, Jessica demonstrated the new suit for attendees at the News Foundry.

And, finally, in December, co-founder Katie Donnelly participated in Good Pitch Philadelphia, where she connected with a range of participants who gave three-minute pitches for media projects. And, Jessica co-presented a session at SRCCON:POWER with Molly de Aguiar from the News Integrity Initiative on what a more equitable relationship between funders and applicants/grantees could look like.

Also: Immerse!

Between all those events, we published two more issues of Immerse:

In issue #20, Eran Hadas discusses creativity in constraint, and producer Ingrid Kopp returns with another installment of Beacon, which shines a light on people, collectives and organizations doing wonderful things. Also in this issue: David Parisi’s take on “inevitable haptics.

In issue #21, we explore sound in emerging media. Three MIT Open Doc Lab fellows discuss how audio, memory and space play key roles in their work. Francesca Panetta of the Guardian reflects on her  experiences in producing “audio AR” for nearly a decade in “Sonifying the World.” Ellen Pearlman recounts the process of launching Noor: a Brain Opera, a first-of-its-kind immersive experience in which a performer triggers sound and video using her brainwaves. And Joe Shepter profiles artist Beatie Wolfe.

Commissions provide compass for change

Meanwhile, our Director of Strategic Initiatives, Nancy Watzman, continues her work as outreach editor for the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy, a group of 26 experts organized by the Aspen Institute in partnership with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Read her post on the Trust, Media and Democracy publication on how such commissions can provide a compass for change:

At their best, commissions can explain past failures with an eye on influencing the future. Alberto Ibargüen, president of the Knight Foundation, often describes this as providing a “compass, not a roadmap.” A commission can explore problems and point to a future direction, but it’s up to citizens and leaders to figure out the details and forge the path forward.

The Commission will publish its final report and recommendations in February 2019. Get involved by reading more on Medium and posting your comments there. (To learn how to post on Medium, click here.) Or, tweet your thoughts using the tag #knightcomm.