NewScoop’s Sarah Arthurs (front left) and Naomi Robinson (standing) doing some generative work with attendees of Telus Spark’s Adults Only night in May.

Generative Journalism Co-op Energizing New Talent
NewScoop YYC team members drawn by opportunity to step into their gifts, co-create a new story for their city

Hope and possibility is stirring in Calgary as a Generative Journalism co-op called NewScoop YYC draws an array of new talent sensing a life-giving space in which to step into their gifts and animate a new story for their city and society.

“What’s energizing me is this different approach to writing stories,” says Tamara Lee, who connected with NewScoop several weeks ago. She brings an eclectic mix of gifts — technical writing, placemaking artistry and a degree in biochemistry.

  “What energizes me is that I feel we’re really filling a need for people. I think people are hungry for a different type of media”
— Naomi Robinson

Tamara says she’s especially drawn to the idea of creating news in a way that is generative — where the story-gathering process itself sparks new possibilities for her community.

Naomi Robinson echoes Tamara’s interest in cultivating a different kind of media.

“What energizes me is that I feel we’re really filling a need for people. I think people are hungry for a different type of media,” says Naomi, who has been with NewScoop since November and hails from a background in both journalism and community development.

In the works for about three years, New Scoop is slowly carving out a place for itself in Calgary as an innovative news entity.

‘We’re Co-creating the Story’

“Generative Journalism starts with what we’re choosing to tell stories about,” says NewScoop’s founder and chief visionary Sarah Arthurs.

“We are being courageous citizens in terms of taking it upon ourselves to define what we think is life-giving and then we’re going out there and looking for things we think embody that.”

Among the editorial choices NewScoop has made: linking with the co-operative movement and working with people involved with that to tell their stories. NewScoop has also recently been part of the co-learning and narrating around the citizen-based movement of neighbourhood work coming alive in Edmonton.

Sarah Elliott, who connected with NewScoop about two weeks ago, joins as a communications student at the University of Calgary. She’s just completed her first NewScoop story.

  “What I’m excited about is the idea that even in selecting the stories we select, we’re co-creating ‘the story’.”
— Sarah Elliott

“What I’m excited about is the idea that even in selecting the stories we select, we’re co-creating ‘the story’,” she says.

Generative Journalism’s creator, Peter Pula, speaks often of journalism holding not only a storytelling function, but also shaping a community. This shaping happens both through choosing which stories to tell and in the way those stories are discovered and shared.

“By the questions we ask and the intention we hold, we can intentionally provoke and cultivate a future that wants to be born,” Peter says.

The Possibilities in the Co-op Model

Mike Simoens has been touching in with the NewScoop team since shortly after the initiative launched. With a background in computer science and degree in humanities, Mike brings a curiosity about NewScoop’s co-op design and how that design might shape the manifestation of the organization’s mission.

“To answer the question of how do you make an organization that is capable of doing Generative Journalism, you have to address the motivations that have, over time, corrupted the existing media system. And so we need to design (that organization) differently,” Mike says.

The co-op model holds promise as a structure for more fully realizing Generative Journalism’s possibilities, Mike suggests.

What’s Next?

“I’m really excited about digging into the future of organizational design and using NewScoop to test things and learn from what works,” Mike says.

“I’m starting to move in the direction of telling stories that have meaning to me, which I’m very interested in as a writer,” Tamara says. “(I want) to tell stories of people or events or projects that I already know about that I feel passionate about and figure out how that works with NewScoop.”

Sarah Elliott says she looks forward to learning more about Generative Journalism, the art of asking powerful questions and being present.

From Energy to Energy

For Sarah Arthurs, who’s been carrying the flame for this work for some time, the energy of those around her is fueling her own at this time.

“What energizes me at the moment is the people that are in the room right now, the people that aren’t in the room that are part of NewScoop and the fact that they think this is useful work to be doing in our community,” says Sarah.

To become a member of the growing NewScoop team, click here.

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