Turning a Generative Lens on a Transformed School

Turning a Generative Lens on a Transformed School

“They told us it made them stronger:” documentary producer The Gazette Company CEO and president Chuck Peters

A just-released video documentary of the transformation of a once-failing U.K. primary school offers hope not only for our education communities, but also for the way we create the story of any community we care about.

 
  Chuck Peters

President and CEO of the Iowa-based media firm, The Gazette Company, Chuck Peters took the lead in directing and producing the documentary. Chuck brings a deep passion for creating what he calls Generative Education Communities.

He chose to approach the narration of the school’s journey using the elements of Generative Journalism put forward by Axiom News founder and CEO Peter Pula: presence, questions, essence, weaving and sensing.

“In doing this video with the school, we told them what we were doing and why, and how we intended to act,” Chuck says.

“And to a person they told us it made them stronger. They were doing their work, but they didn’t have time to reflect, they didn’t have time to create the narrative.”

Chuck came away from the experience with a deep sense that this kind of narration “is real work.”

“It’s a real-world deal, with real effects. . . . It’s not extracting from the community a minimal story that dimly reflects what they’re doing,” Chuck says.

“It truly is generative.”

Chuck describes having a new feeling “in my bones” of what it means to be generative as a narrator, which has to do with sensing into the next step to be taken. “What happens is, the community tells us (what that next step is),” he says. “(Their response is), ‘This is great, this really helped us, this solidified us, this gave me hope for doing this or that. Now here’s what I need next’.”

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Writer Bio

Michelle Strutzenberger's picture
Michelle Strutzenberger

Michelle Strutzenberger has been a Generative Journalist and curator with Axiom News for more than 15 years.

She's most grateful for the incredible people she gets to work with every day at Axiom News, as well as the many other amazing folks she's encountered through this work.

"I have always seen the opportunity to do this work as a gift," she says.

Michelle's writing has also been published by a wide variety of other organizations and publications, including the following:
- Abundant Community, an initiative of authors John McKnight and Peter Block to awaken the power of families and neighbourhoods
- PLAN Institute, a network dedicated to enabling families to create a good life for people with disabilities
-.New Scoop YYC, Calgary's news co-op practicing Generative Journalism
- The Canadian Community Economic Development Network
- Nieuwmakers, a Belgian news agency
- Restore Commons, an initiative of Peter Block and friends
- Academy for Systemic Change

Contact Michelle: 705-741-4421 ext. 27 or michelle(at)axiomnews.com.

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