Memphis Org Gets a Generative Newsroom

Memphis Org Gets a Generative Newsroom

Weekly news stories to focus on gifts and possibilities

A Memphis organization dedicated to equipping and mobilizing people and systems to be agents of holistic change in their communities has added a new tool to get this work done: a generative newsroom.

The Center for Transforming Communities (CTC) has engaged strengths-based news firm Axiom News to seek out and publish stories that explore the gifts and possibilities of Memphis neighbourhoods.

Amy Moritz, director of the center, says stories of transformation abound in local neighborhoods. Working alongside church and community members in Memphis, Amy sees what happens when people shift their focus from deficits and problems to gifts and possibilities. It is those stories CTC will be sharing.

Stories will show how people and organizations came together to create The Commons on Merton, a shared space ministry, providing quality, mission-enhancing work environments to nonprofits, programs and ministries serving the Memphis area. These stories will follow how the organizations in The Commons, all with different mission, are working together toward the common good.

A second theme of stories will follow changes in eight neighborhoods connecting through another initiative, the Communities of Shalom activities.

“I’m hoping that some larger momentum or energy comes from us sharing these stories,” Amy says. If stories aren’t shared we won’t know what other possibilities might be sparked in the greater Memphis community,” she says.

Axiom News consists of a team of generative journalists who are also committed to the gifts and possibilities narrative. The two organizations were connected by Peter Block, who will be visiting Memphis in November. CTC invited Block and his colleagues John McKnight and Walter Brueggemann to host a conversation about building community capacity in neighborhoods. The gathering on November 14, 2012 is already getting more attention than organizers had expected.

Axiom News works alongside organizations and communities throughout North America to explore and amplify their strengths and dreams through high-frequency news stories. The company shares stories between communities so people can learn from and inspire one another.

“Having a partner who can hear our story through the lens of the principles we seek to nurture in community is such a complement to what we are doing,” Amy says.

“We connected instantly with CTC’s values,” says Peter Pula, Axiom News. “Our hope is to provide an easy way for CTC connectors to get their stories told. So many people are doing amazing things. Usually they are so busy doing those amazing things that they don’t get around to writing or publishing stories. That can be hard work unless you are doing it all the time. Our gifts are in that domain.”

Peter anticipates new people will also come forward to co-create media and stories.

“Whether it's individuals, journalists, photographers, videographers, social media activists, or organizations with their own story-telling capacities, by working together we can co-create many stories and weave them into a new narrative,” he says.

Peter expects the community will soon find ways to sustain a possibilities narrative independent of Axiom’s involvement.

“When that happens we will continue to point people to the stories of Memphis neighborhoods for inspiration.”

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Writer Bio

Kristian Partington's picture
Kristian Partington

Kristian says he's been a storyteller all his life, and from an early age he thrived in the creative process of putting pen to paper. With Axiom News, he says he finds as much power in the conversations he has with sources for stories as he finds in the stories themselves.

"It's the questions we ask that catalyze great conversations, and more often than not I come away from the conversation somewhat improved. I like to think the person on the other end feels the same way. From that point on, the stories sort of write themselves."

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