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DigitalEd Peer-to-Peer Network

Publishers Learn from Peers to Master Tech Platforms

In February 2018, MediaShift plans to launch new peer trainings for news publishers to help them work better on social and tech platforms such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Snapchat and more. In reader surveys, the MediaShift audience consistently asks us to provide online training. We have provided those with DigitalEd one-hour trainings for digital skills, but we realize we can do more to connect people and have them help each other.

Our Goals

In launching the Peer-to-Peer Network, MediaShift has these important goals:

1) Give news publishers the resources to help them go beyond existing trainings and teach each other.
2) Help publishers keep up with fast-moving digital technologies and social platforms, and create strategies to succeed in the long run.
3) Build confidence among independent publishers so that they can compete in a difficult environment.
4) Create networks of publishers so they can communicate regularly and help each other out.
5) Support the peer groups with regular online trainings from the tech companies.

Peer Training Difference

We realize there are a lot of training options now for journalists and publishers, including in-person workshops, online training and even hybrid courses. The difference between peer training and other existing networking groups is that this is an intentionally small, matched group of people who will have a facilitator dedicated to keeping it going, and they will have communication lines into Facebook, Google and other tech companies for support. They will connect to like-minded people they might not have known before, and be in touch over a longer period of time. And we will match up diverse groups of people so they can grow their own network of contacts.

How They Will Work

Here’s an overview of how the peer groups will operate:

– Regular communication through a Slack Channel for everyday conversations and updates. These will be set up by MediaShift, and helped along by our facilitator.

– Monthly trainings led by one group member over an online video conference for an hour. Can include updates from people on that topic, with a 20 minute training with slides or demo. Trainings rotate among members.

– Topics are chosen on a vote by group members so the topics with the most interest are taught first. People can teach what they know, but also end with questions about what they don’t know, that the other group members might answer.

– Along with trainings, the group can also do a critique on another publisher’s work. Examples could be how they use Facebook Live, cross-platform metrics and similar topics.

– Social platforms such as Facebook will provide curriculum, online training modules and support for “stumper” questions as the sessions progress. They will also give quarterly online trainings to all the peer groups.

– Trainings are recorded and available for group members to watch afterwards. Members can comment and discuss trainings on the Slack Channel.

Partners and Funding

MediaShift received funding from the Knight Foundation through the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University to test out peer trainings for a year. Partners include the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION), Lenfest Institute and Facebook. We hope that other associations and tech platforms join and support our efforts.

Invite-Only to Start

Working with our partners, MediaShift will be inviting publishers to join the first peer groups. As we start developing the groups and improving our system, we expect to open up more slots for others to join groups down the line. While the groups are free to join, we expect to charge a membership fee by fall of 2018, raise more funding from foundation grants and create peer groups for companies or associations.

Join the Waitlist!

If you’re interested in joining a peer group, but don’t have an invite, please fill out this simple form to join our waitlist! You can contact project director Mark Glaser at mark [at] mediashift [dot] org with any questions.