Session Transcripts

A live transcription team captured the SRCCON sessions that were most conducive to a written record—about half the sessions, in all.

Welcome to SRCCON 2016!

Day & Time: Thursday, 9:45am

Room: Commons

DAN: Hello! This is very low. Yes, I do. Hey, everyone. I’m Dan. And welcome to Portland, and welcome to SRCCON!


[ Applause ]

There are so many of you here! This is nuts. When we were figuring out this room, Erika said, you know, we need to have more chairs than people, so that there isn’t that last-chair-in-the lunchroom thing and we’re so close to last chair in the lunch room. There’s almost 300 of us here today. This is our third SRCCON, and by far, our biggest. This is actually twice the size of the first SRCCON in Philly.

We’ve put on SRCCON because we know the way that this community grows best is when it grows together. We’ve learned, in the years that we’ve run Opennews and that we’ve done SRCCON, that the biggest challenge facing journalism today is not technology, right? And it’s certainly not the Internet, right? It’s people. It’s understanding each other. It’s getting buy-in from above for the work that we do, it’s building more diverse and inclusive teams.

We know that the best tech stack means nothing if you don’t have teams and institutions that actually work. SRCCON is an opportunity for all of us to share our struggles and our triumphs and the talk, and to work, and to collaborate across newsrooms and across borders. It’s an opportunity to learn from each other, and to help strengthen this community. We’ve got two packed days. And a ton of things to think about. And I want to invite my colleagues up to talk a little bit more about how to think about the next two days. Ryan?

RYAN: Hey, SRCCON. I’m going to talk to you, real quickly, the structure of our days at SRCCON. We’ve really tried to build this event in a way that makes everyone feel like they can have a productive and inclusive experience. That all starts with the schedule. On each floor, you’ll find broad sheets that have, like, a loose description of the schedule. It’s also at You’ll notice we start a little later in the morning. There’s a nice long lunch break 30 minutes every session. We don’t want you to worry about when you’re going to find time to check email, find time to go to the restroom. A lot we want to you continue versusing those conversations on your way out on the sessions because you’re in that moment. You’ll also see a lot of meals on the schedule. We will feed you, we will feel you well, we will caffeinate you. We do not want you worrying about where’s my next meal going to come from, oh, God where is the caffeine? We want that out of your heads. We want you to feel present and focused on the conversations that you’re having. Conversations are a big part of SRCCON and that feeds into the structure of our day, as well. We have conversational settings during lunch today and tomorrow, and in the evening we want to make sure that we’re supporting open and honest talk among everyone here about the problems that we’re all working on. We also want to leave room for emergent topics. If you look at Tiff back there, there is a grid. That represents the conversational sessions that we have today during lunch, and tonight, and tomorrow during lunch. There’ll it is Post-It notes, and sharpies up there. And have a conversation that you want to have. Some of those conversations will take plays tonight, Thursday night. Our program is a big part of SRCCON, as well. We want to build stronger relationships in the community. And that means spending time together. Being relaxed, focusing more on the life side of the work-life balance. So we’re so excited to see you here. Before we start the Thursday programs, we have a few things. And I’m going to turn it over to Erika and she’s going to talk about to have a great session.

ERIKA: Hello. So sessions are where you can spend a lot of that time collaborating, and sharing with each other. And we’ve structured them to be interactive, to really allow you to share what you’ve learned, to learn from your peers, and rather than just having one person, or a panel of people at the front of the room speaking, pontificating, it’s an opportunity for you to learn, as much as those people at the front of the room as the other people in the room together. And to start building a network with each other. You don’t have to just ask a follow-up question to the presenter, you’ll have an opportunity to follow up with the people that you meet up in the sessions together. So we want to help the settings also to create that session create that space, and build that community, and space together guard. You’ll also see that there’s a mix of topics and types of sessions that we have, and that reflects that you probably don’t change do one thing in your job. You’re probably not just interested in one topic. So as people with lots of different interests. Lots of different roles that we play, the scale of the SRCCON schedule reflects those interests and needs that you have to talk about, and to dig into with your peers. So we also want to make sure that you’re able to participate in a lot of different ways. There might be some conferences where you go to, and you’re only speaking. Maybe you’re giving five sessions at some conferences that you go to, and don’t get to spend as much time learning from each other. So we’ve really tried to structure the sessions in such a way that you both get to teach, and get to learn, and then bring that information back to your newsroom, back to your organizations. And in thinking about that kind of full-human, full view of the work that you do, Erin’s going to go more into the structure behind that.

[ Applause ]

ERIN: There’s so many of you. Yeah, so we work on inclusion and set expectations for conduct here so that everybody can do what Ryan and I are going to be talking about, focusing on the sessions, focusing on the conversations, be present. Especially for folks who may not have had great experiences around the world, or at work events, or other of those things. So the most obvious piece of this is our code of conduct. You’ve seen our emails, we talk about it a lot. It’s on the front page of our website right now. Every piece of what we send on you. So do take a second to read it. I will also do the TL; DR for you. Which is, watch out for each other, take care of each other, and actively respect boundaries. Everything else is written down in there. So take a look. Talking about boundaries. The kind of thing we mean are on the lanyards that we’re all wearing. You know, you heard about this stuff. Those will be respected by anyone who’s taking pictures for us, officially, also, if you are taking pictures unofficially, keep an eye on that. Our videographer, who’s over here, this is Paul, hey! He’s great. He’s going to be taking video. But not audio. Your conversations are safe! And if you get trapped in a shot, he will edit it out later if you are wearing a red or yellow lanyard, so don’t worry about that. We also have things like pins, pronoun pins this year to help folks communicate how they want to be addressed. There is an off the record process that your session facilitators will talk through if you don’t want something to be transcribed, or tweeted, or recorded in any way. Say, “I’d like to go off the remember to say that I’d like to go back on the record later so that isn’t lost. But we want that open process. My colleague Erika will be talking more about things like the food but if you’ve noted that you have a food allergy, or you have any kind of special dietary need, we’ve set yours aside, so no one eats them by mistake. So speak to us, our awesome catering folk. And underlying all this stuff, that is the part that shows under the water is, underneath is the safety plan which we’ve done with our staff, the volunteers, catering, everyone in the building, which is the way we keep honest. I mean, we can give you a code of conduct, but the safety plan work that we do is what — so we have a process. If you come to us, we will be able to help you, or we will be able to get you help.

So please don’t hesitate. There’s, on the back of your badge, there is our help line. You can text or call at any time throughout SRCCON. That also means at night. It means when you leave the building. When you are at a bar, if something happens, when you, presumably are with other SRCCON folks. You can still let us know. So our code of conduct everything from now until we are done and Dan Sinker says, “Go home.” So keep that in mind. Talk to anyone of us, with SRCCON on our shirts. We will either help you on the spot, or find someone who will. Now to talk about the many details of this amazing space and everything that comes with it is my colleague, Erik Westra.

ERIK:. They’ve all welcomed you. I will also welcome you. It’s really amazing to have you all here. Especially so many new people here. For those of you who have been to SRCCONs in the past, our goal, when we’re looking for spaces is to find spaces that appeal to humans. Like, we’re not looking at hotel conference rooms because they make me really sad…

[ Laughter ]

I just imagine that that is a universal meaning. So our goal in that search is to find interesting places. For instance, like look, there’s light, natural light in here. Which is amazing. And almost all of the rooms have natural light. The only one that’s a little iffy is the boardroom but you can still see through these windows. It’s a really beautiful space and we’re really excited to be here. This is not the kind of event that usually happens here. So that’s something that I want people to keep in mind. This is a functioning art college. So there are actually classes happening while we are here. This is not our space. We are using part of the space and I’m very excited that this is happening alongside all of these other pieces. There’s people who are on staff and students here who are very excited to have us here. But I want to make sure that we keep in mind that, um,, you know, to have respect for that. When you’re walking through the hallways, especially in the classroom section of the — so the third floor — there are other classes happening. They know we’re here, and I want you to know that they’re here. So when you’re walking through the hallways, just respect that.

And also, it’s kind of funny… but when we were doing our setup yesterday Bee, who’s our contact here at PNCA told us, even if you think you understand, always try to ask yourself, “Is this art?” And she told us a story that she was in a meeting, and there was, like, a big, like, yellow, sort of, stain on the wall that went down to the newer. And she was about to call to get it cleaned up. And she was like, “Is this art?” And it turned out to be… art. And so it was a good way that she didn’t clean it up. So down in the Innovation Studio, you’ll see, like, there’s some beams on the ground and I thought they were just for, like, setup but no. It’s not. It’s art. So that’s really exciting to me. So just keep that in mind when you’re cruising around in the space. There are really amazing actual things up in the museum — the galleries downstairs, that’s the word I want, “Galleries,” that you’re welcome to go and look at. If something looks cordoned off, don’t go in there. If it looks like doors are closed to you, or has a sign that says, you know, “class in session,” don’t go in there. So we just want to be respectful of this space because we’re very happy that they’re letting us do this here because it is such a cool fit for what we are doing. We have these gigantic news paint posters which are maps of the space. They’re only maps of the floors that you need to worry about. There are a lot more spaces and floors. But these are everywhere. And they have little fluorescent “X’s” on the maps next to where you are, if you’re thing trying to figure out how to get to someplace. In addition to that, there are volunteers working everywhere. They have the lighter red shirts on, and staff have the maroon, the darker red shirts on. You can come up to any one of us, and we will help you to get to where you go. And I want to stress this: We’re here to help you not have to worry about things other than participating, enjoying, being a part of this event. I don’t want you to worry about the other stuff. So for dietary restrictions, like Erin said you can talk to us, the caterers, and this includes, if you said you’re vegetarian, if you’re vegetarian, we have sandwiches set aside for you, we have banh-mi today. And it’s through a company called Creative Catering. And everything is on their farm, which is great. So there is a bathroom, which is gender neutral on this floor. And you can see which one that is on the maps. Otherwise, there are bathrooms and things all over, as well, in tiers. I think that’s it. I think I’m getting a “he’s encroaching on my space.”

I don’t get to go to any of the sessions because I just have to hang out and make sure that everybody’s happy. So I really like doing that. So come find me if you need something.

DAN: Thank you, Erik. Yeah, if you’re looking at the maps, the bathrooms with just a poop emoji are gender neutral. And the bathrooms with the “M,” or “W” before that poop emoji, those are where you go, if that’s how you’re feeling. So we’ve done what we can to make SRCCON as easy for you to be a part of, and, in fact, there is a ton more stuff to think about, in making SRCCON awesome, and so we’ve made a guide and emailed it to you at almost midnight last night but we made it at And it talks a lot more about the various systems and processes that are in place to make this easy and good for you.

But here’s the thing: We can make SRCCON good but it’s you all that make it great. It’s all of you participating. It’s all of you bringing everything that you have for the next two days, that are really going to — that’s going to make SRCCON successful.

We can just set it up, but it’s you all that make it happen. And so one thing that I want to do real fast is all of you, just for one minute, introduce yourselves to someone at your table that you haven’t met yet, and if you’ve met everyone at your table say hey, take a moment.

[ Introductions ]

All right. It’s impossible to stop it once it starts. Focus back up for one second, and then you can continue these conversations. Heads up. Thank you. Um…

So this is SRCCON in a nutshell, you know? You meet someone new, and you can’t stop talking to them, and you can’t stop learning from them. And that’s how this works, you know, throughout the next two days, and tonight, as well, you’re going to underneath meet, fascinating, brilliant, amazing people, just like you. And also, totally not like you, and it’s awesome.

So this is what it’s about. It’s about meeting, and it’s about learning, and it’s about growing this community together. We want you to have an amazing SRCCON. Sessions start at 10:30. So there’s still time to have some conversations but it is going to take you a moment to orient yourself in this building. So do give yourself enough time to mildly get lost. You will not mildly be lost after you’ve completed a circuit of sessions, I assure you, and there’s lots of maps, and we have even more, if you find pain points with lots of maps. Thank you all. Have an amazing, amazing, amazing SRCCON! Go!