Drawing from years of both theory and practice, the New/s initiative is designed to help journalists reimagine themselves as “future architects.” Dot Connector Studio’s Jessica Clark heads up the project, and has been writing a series of posts about how this Guild of Future Architects (GoFA) initiative is evolving and how journalists can plug in.  

Here are some highlights from the 4 article series:

How will the New/s initiative help journalists reimagine themselves as future architects?

GoFA defines a “Shared Future” as “a potential reality born from the bold vision and dedicated stewardship of future architects seeking long-view and transformational impact to advance justice, inclusion, and shared prosperity.”

Clark introduces the New/s initiative, funded by the Ford Foundation, as “three-year project to support diverse journalists in collaborating on projects designed to make news more representative and actionable,” and “nurture the ideas and talent of those who are already constructing tomorrow’s journalism.”  This will be achieved by working with the GoFA team and its community of practice to refine the learning programs that the Guild debuted in 2020 to support their flagship incubator.

How will we put the “new” in “news”?

graphic comparing Shared Future versus Startup with highlights such as community model and business model

Clark discusses how this incubator model will support the New/s initiative’s goals: “By encouraging intersectional collaboration, the Guild of Future Architects (GoFA) allows for knowledge exchange across ecosystems that can spark new discoveries. Allowing news innovators to step back from the daily grind of deadlines and examine their own assumptions — not just about journalism but how history and power function — will uncover previously unseen dimensions and possibilities.” 

What can journalism learn from collaborative futurism?

graphic of GoFA's project New Literacies featuring a collage of 4 people with planets over head and mountains below on an orange background and text asking "How will we move from a crisis of destabilizing information into an age of trust wisdom?"

This initiative will explore “speculative journalism” as well as “predictive journalism.” Clark asks: “How are reporters taking responsibility for the ways in which their stories might influence people’s lives? And how do audiences interact with and find uses for both frightening and hopeful stories of events yet to come?” 

She explains that the New/s initiative will engage with journalists within the Future Architecture discipline, developed by GoFA’s founder, Sharon Chang. In this framework, the Guild “brings individuals together to collectively imagine how society might transform to become more just and cooperative.” See GoFA’s report: Portals to Beautiful Futures: Trends to Watch in 2021 and Beyond to see these methods in action. 

The New/s initiative: Minding the gaps

venn diagram with Journalism, Futurism, and DEI in 3 circles and the New/s Initiative in the middle showing it is meant to fill gaps in journalism.

In the final post of this series, Clark writes in depth on how the initiative and GoFA’s community and programs might fill current gaps in the journalism field, including:

  • A gap in long-term-visioning: too often journalism has a focus on the now (or tomorrow), but leaves a gap in the long-term or even historical context. 
  • A gap in mission focus: objectivity and bias shuts out diverse reporters who aim to contribute to social progress. The Guild is value-based, removing those biases and leaving room for journalists “to strategize around these tensions.” 
  • A gap in belonging: it goes without saying that journalists of color, LGBTQIA+ and female reporters struggle to fit into this profession. “The Guild is an intentionally diverse and inclusive community” that aims “to make the New/s initiative both welcoming and representative”. 
  • A gap in system thinking: “Systems thinking is central to Future Architecture”. 
  • A gap in embodied experience: this incubator model allows for personal reflection and somatic practice along with the tools for ideating, and developing. 

Read the series in its entirety here.