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What We Do

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Our philosophy

Careful listening and empathy are vital to supporting meaningful civic dialogue and easing polarization and we believe journalism is essential in that process – which ultimately strengthens our democracy. To do that right, the best journalistic values — fairness, thorough research, accuracy — must be held to now more than ever.

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Our strategy

We go right to the heart of problematic situations by bringing people from communities in conflict – or that simply aren't communicating – together into a journalism-supported dialogue. We amplify that process by working with our news partners to tell the stories that arise organically from those conversations.

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We take action

We work with media organizations and others on several different levels. We design and manage engagement conversations from the ground up; we provide design and ongoing consulting support; we provide consulting around our engagement values and methodology and project visioning.

Our Work

We use Dialogue Journalism, a method we developed, to work with media companies across all platforms to support them in deepening their relationships with the communities they serve. In partnership, we design Dialogue Journalism engagements — Conversation Experiences — that start with listening and lead to content that reflects the rich experience of tackling tough issues and getting to know others as whole people. Our work is building community through audience engagement.

 

There are seven steps to Dialogue Journalism

1. The Build

We work with news organizations to identify communities

that aren’t talking or are in conflict and design a Conversation

Experience through which they can engage constructively.

2. The Gather

We explore with each of these communities what they

think of one another and what they would like to know

about the other.

3. The Welcome

We bring the communities together in an environment designed

to welcome people as individuals not simply as avatars of a particular

political, social or cultural position.

4. The Experience
We support an experience that revolves around the participants as much

as if not more than our aims or those of the sponsoring organizations;

it is a rare opportunity to engage deeply with others with whom they disagree.

5. The Carry

We moderate our conversations closely, helping people engage

respectfully with one another and using tested techniques to help

create a productive experience.

6. The Nourish

As conversations grow, we support them with reporting and research that

provides information to the participants, with the aim of establishing an

agreed-upon foundation of facts for their discussions.

7. The Share

With newsroom partners, we uncover stories generated in the conversation, including

ongoing questions and issues relevant to the community — this amplifies the

conversation’s impact and provides additional opportunities for engagement.

Spaceship Media Is...

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Eve Pearlman

Co-Founder/Co-CEO Eve Pearlman is a veteran journalist and community engagement strategist. She has worked with news and social media start-ups, including State, a London-based social media platform connecting people around shared interests, and AOL’s Patch. She holds a bachelor’s from Cornell University and a master’s in journalism from Northwestern.

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Jeremy Hay

Co-Founder/Co-CEO Jeremy Hay has reported for EdSource, The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Wired Magazine and The Tenderloin Times, among other publications. His work has been recognized by multiple awards, including a George Polk, for a project on globalization on which he was a lead reporter. He was a 2015 John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University.

Testimonials

"The Spaceship model has shown how divided people can come together to grapple

with difficult questions, and emerge with new insight about themselves and their

views. This is work that offers a new way to think about the role of journalists and

their capacity to serve communities, and improve the world through fact-based

inquiry, combined with courage and civility." 

-Michelle Holmes, VP of Content, Alabama Media Group

"This was a great, though challenging, experience. It's hard to hear and listen

to different points of view, but it does us all good. We could be a stronger,

less divided nation with more projects like this one."

-Chantal Clarke, San Francisco Bay Area

"I learned how much more there is for me to think and read and ask about the big

questions of this ongoing project we call our democracy. How do we welcome,

accept, defend and protect our shared values amidst all of our difference? How we

get to an understanding that this land is your land and mine too? That, to me, is the

challenge for us all in these years ahead."

- Helena Brantley, Oakland, California

"Eve and Jeremy inspired us to think a little less about what would be convenient for

us and more about what would be useful to the community. In a few short hours,

they gave us incredibly useful tools and tips about how to engage our audiences

more effectively, but also the space and freedom to generate our own ideas. I can't

tell you how glad I am that we hired them."

- Wendy Thomas Russell, Project Manager, Long Beach Media Collaborative

"'Engagement' is swiftly becoming a cliche in our industry, more social-media

marketing than genuine connection. But during Southern California News Group's

recent relationship, Spaceship Media arrived at results that felt more like an authentic

connection--to real people reaching out to one another over a volatile, heartfelt,

polarizing issue. At a time when it's easy to dismiss the population as too polarized to

compromise on anything, the 'Borders' conversation made a case that where and

how the conversation takes place can fuel quality communication."

-  Tom Bray, Managing Editor of Content, Southern California News Group

"We should meet the people we are told to fear, convening communities in conflict

into informed and civil conversation... Witness an experiment by the local Alabama

news site AL.com and the startup Spaceship Media, which brought together Trump

voters from the South and Clinton voters from the West on Facebook to meet, listen

to each other, find where they disagreed, and—here’s the good part—call on

journalists to help them combat misunderstanding with fact."

-  Jeff Jarvis, Director of the Tow-Knight Journalism Center, The Atlantic.

“Many approaches to engagement focus on getting something from the audience –

attention, insights, questions, stories, opinions, social media shares – and Spaceship

Media’s dialogue journalism model produced all of those for MPRNews’ Feeding the

Future project. But it also allowed us to give something to the community: a 

welcoming space to interact with journalists and with each other and to create

meaningful conversation. For a media company that values curiosity, empathy, trust

and transparency and is devoted to enriching minds, expanding perspectives and

strengthening communities, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

– Linda Miller, director of network journalism and inclusion, Minnesota Public Radio

Spaceship in the News

POYNTER

Can people be civil about polarizing topics?

NIEMAN LAB: THE MANY

Can 5,000 strangers have a productive Facebook dialogue?

MEDIASHIFT

Why ‘Dialogue Journalism’
Is Having a Moment

THE ATLANTIC

Why News Organizations Can't Go It Alone

QUARTZ

A Facebook experiment suggests beliefs are what really divide us

NIEMAN REPORTS

Rethinking the White House Beat: Newsrooms are changing

JOURNALISM.CO.UK

Using 'dialogue journalism' to enable productive conversations

KPIX

Spaceship Media’s Alabama/California Conversation 

Our Partners

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alabama media group
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