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Generation Why: ideas and opinions from our Open Editorial Meeting

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Generation Why is an online magazine written by and for Canadian youth that is published every Friday.

Canadians under the age of 30 and young staffers collaborate to highlight the most interesting and important news coverage from the CBC universe that week, and present it in a sleek and easy-to-read online package.

On Monday, April 15, the CBC Community held its first Open Editorial Meeting for the magazine.

We had a great turnout, both through the video stream as well as the live comment feed that our more camera-shy friends contributed to.

If you didn't happen to make it, we've got you covered.

Watch the video for the meeting (embedded below) or keep scrolling down to read the meeting minutes.

Thanks to all who came out, and special thanks to CBC Community member and regular contributor Ash Kelly for keeping detailed notes of the meeting for us.

Generation Why Open Editorial Meeting Minutes 
April 15th 2013


Lauren O'Neil:

Every week Canadians under 30 collaborate to bring together the best news from the CBC universe.

Fabiola Carletti: 
The purpose of this meeting is to provide feedback on the magazine and ways to improve it going forward. What you like, what you don't like, etc.

Twenty-somethings aren't reading the newspaper, sitting down and taking in news like they used to. The way we consume news is much less predictable than the previous generation, but this doesn't mean we are not engaged!

2. How Youth engage With Media

Ishani Nath: We were in class and had to come up with a creative solution to something we thought was a problem in journalism. There are a lot of complicated stories in the news, and if you don't have the time to engage with these things and get the background information, then you won't have the time to engage with the news. So, we may know about the hot topics but not be fully engaged because we lack the background information/

Amanda: Millennials: Our generation, between 20 and 30, is very tech savvy and likes to consume news online. We like our news in short bites and have a short attention span, we are multi-taskers. We enjoy sharing and communicating, an example is the Boston marathon and Twitter as a way of sharing the story, which was the go-to tactic to engage with updates.

Rahul Kalvapalle: Young people's relationship with the news is sometimes sceptical and they think content is boring or consider much of the content to be propaganda. Some news can feel condescending towards young people. They feel talked down to but they're not apathetic, they're just looking to engage in a different way. Mobile and internet platforms are the way to do this.

Ishani: Promotion and understanding of complex news issues to millennial Canadians is the central issue we're looking at, especially looking at stories that require historical context and background information to understand. i.e. The need to have a base understanding of economics to understand the fiscal cliff coverage. 

3. Gen Why Formatting

Ishani: It can be tough to get a handle on bigger stories. Gen Why is not addressing this in its current format.  We could try tackling one issue that is making headlines right now, but also may be an ongoing issue using bullet point explainers, photo driven essay, more context, to shake up the format a little.

Ryan Kohls: This should be easy to read and easy to digest. Short and sweet!

Fabiola/Lauren: Should we do a sub-blog to house some of these formats? 

  • Response in Comments:
Ash Kelly: Blog is a great idea!
Ainar: Thumbs up. 
Shayla Walker: I agree longer articles are a good idea as it can provide more details to a story
Fiona Rayher: We have run a production house in Vancouver called gen why media and would be interested in hosting some longer form stuff-

Laura Adams: The beauty of Gen Why is that so much of what we read is in bit and bullet form, but the point is to engage people with the broader context. For example, the issue of bullying comes up every few weeks in a different format. If we were to link and summarize we could have people seeing how we have followed the topic. People could engage more wholesomely with the material over time. 

Fabiola: Should editors be putting backgrounder in sidebars, or should contributors be providing the backgrounders they feel are relevant?

Laura: As a contributor, I like finding the backgrounders I think are relevant. However, it's a fine balance not asking contributors to do more than they are willing or able.

Ash: Keep Gen Why as a Glossi magazine, short and snappy, but perhaps a blog would be a great addition to this format. 

Fabiola: We want to know how we can do GenWhy as best as GenWhy can be done. In the future we can look to podcasting, or whatever else you guys want.

Lauren: Let's build our core audience first and then expand the mediums.

4. Curating

Lauren: We are fortunate now that we are getting so many contributions that we may have to start pairing them down. Would you like to see it shorter, is there redundancy?

Amanda De Souza: It is not very sharable. We would like to be able to link to it more, take it out of Glossi and onto other media.

  • Response in Comments:
Ash: Perhaps a bit of forum for contributors to compare topics before the issue goes live, so as to prevent duplicate submissions?
Ash: It's other major limitation (as far as I have experienced) is that it isn't very i-phone friendy.
Emily MacIsaac: I agree ash

Fab and Lauren: We have a Google doc that is just internal. We could consider granting returning contributors (Say 3 or more submissions) access to the doc, but quality control and keeping out haters is important. 
We could have moderators "Mod Status." Let us know if you are interested. We could do something like a collaborative Tumblr blog or Google doc for the Gen Why contributors. 

5. Response in Comment:

Ash: For sure, sounds next level to me :)
Ishani: An open doc would be interesting and a good way to get input from ppl who can't make the editorial meetings
Shayla: Yes this is a great idea
Emily: Yes, that's great.
Ainar: This is cool.
Ishani: An open doc is a great way to get folks that can't make the editorial meetings involved.                     Google docs are easy, good for mobile, great access. 

Lauren: Good idea, google is accessible to everyone.

6. Overlaps

Lauren: We might be running up against the issue very soon that 3 or 4 people contribute the same content. We could grow it once we have more people helping build it so that we can make the magazine more dynamic.

Ishani: Having this document helps people see what may or may not be pitched, and helps with peer editing ideas. We could compare angles and bring multiple perspectives or add our voice to specific examples. 

Fabiola: If you want to hear from us in our capacity as young reporters let us know. Is it interesting to you to hear about how we do our reporting?

Lauren: We struggle with story selection as well, something could change mid-week with the story you've selected. The doc. could help with the collaboration.

Fabiola: Less redundancy more perspective, for example, shorter submissions of 100 words.

Ishani: Pull tweets and include people's posts through social media "Here are all the different voices." It might help break up the format. 

Lauren: It's a good way to give people a voice without having to wrangle them into writing a piece.

  • Response in Comment:

Laura: Maybe assigning people to write on a broad topic that doesn't get much attention? (e.g. arts/entertainment)?
Ash: The limitation with submitting early is missing the dynamic stories. It might encourage people to write early instead of writing about something with the most recent and relevant information.
Robin Tomlin: Yes, you need almost instant chat with stories coming at us as they happen
Ash: I agree, different angles are very interesting, especially side by side. Even if they aren't conflicting, just covering different related issues under one topic.
Emily: This can help with collaboration like Amanda was saying. (i.e. Rataeha, North Korea, etc)
Ash: It will be interesting to see if we can start using this live doc. for the Boston reporting this week.
Shayla: I agree with ash kelly- different angles gives more voice to one story
Laura: I wonder if the google doc idea may discourage some contributions?
Laura: I would be interested in the peer editing/reviewing idea!
Shayla: I would be interested in the peer editing idea!

7. Production Side

Lauren: Let us know if there's anything you want to do on the production side of things.

Laura: Personally, I write my submissions Thursday night. If regular contributors could be given certain topics ("You know, this week has really shifted towards topic A, could you write about topic Q?") We could still say no, I still want to contribute on topic A. The beauty of GenWhy is that I can write about articles that speak to me. Perhaps there's some risks to taking the directional approach- though there will be redundancy.

Lauren: We are seeing a lot of hunger for you guys to learn how to put this together. If you would be interested in pre-laying out your spreads, let us know. Also let us know early on in the week if you have an idea for how you would like your spread laid out. 

Arielle Piat-Sauve: On the editing side: wanting to edit text and images. 

Fabiola: To make our jobs easier, it would be nice to have some creative common sent to us with your piece (include copyright info) if you know of some images you would like. 

Log onto and start playing around. 

8. Going forward

Lauren: At this point, Gen Why is our brain child. We didn't expect it to blow up the way it did. For now we won't be able to expand beyond once a week. If we have trusted contributors looking to get more involved, perhaps quality not quantity could go up. 

If we want to engage readers and writers, we can't keep it being every Friday. Perhaps we could have a blog where readers can respond with anything from a response to a 500 word entry.  It doesn't have to be that once a person writes about an issue it's done with. 

Fabiola: That's what the comments section is supposed to be for. Unfortunately, everyone commenting on the posts seem to be trolls....

We're trying to show Canada that GenY is not all iPhone addicted degenerates.

We really encourage you guys to take back the conversation, join the CBC community and give each other good, constructive feedback Make comments on specific pages, etc...

Lauren: it would be helpful to have writers come in and combat what these people are saying. We are not just covering Justin Beiber. 

  • Response in Comment:

Ainar: Darn kids. Get off mah lawn!
Ash: I think it has something to do with who clicks the "Community" tab from the main CBC site
Arielle: What about negative comments on the CBC's fb page? I noticed a lot of comments about Gen Why
Amanda: Ishani, that would be a great way to link to the CBC top Headlines and give people headlines that are interesting to them and important stories to be following in the news
Amanda: *stories
Emily: We should start to comment on one another's content and encourage our friends to comment too. This will combat the negative comments.
Ishani: Maybe those headlines could be accompanied by 2ish sentences that explain why they're important and why it matters to Gen Y

Lauren/Fabiola: We have heard from a teacher that shows GenWhy to his gr.8 class every Monday morning. (whaaaat! That's what it's all about ;)
Laura: Let's encourage students/schools to get involved and get students commenting on the pieces.

9. Non CBC content?

Should we link to external non-CBC content?

Consensus seems to be we want to encourage people to engage with the CBC as a great source of news for young people. Contributors like the fact it is CBC focused and that we want to get our generation engaged in public broadcasting. 

  • Response in Comment:

Ash: Agreed. As a CBC junky, I would like to see Canadian youth re-engage with the CBC specifically. It's a bit of a culture I hope to be a part of preserving.
Amanda: Ainar, same idea. totally agree.
Shayla: great idea Amanda!
Michael Huang: I agree with Laura. Gen Why is a great innovation for CBC
Amanda: Seeing the next generation of newsmakers who are GenY
Arielle: Just did a presentation about Canadian public broadcasting and the future of the CBC- ended with the example of Gen Why. My prof loved it! I think we should focus on CBC content
Emily: Ash Kelly - same! #apartofourheritageļŠ

10. Our Young Canadian

Amanda: I was thinking of doing an "Our Young Canadians" similar to the Our Canada segment on CBC's The National. You could highlight young entrepreneurs, innovators, athletes etc. could be interesting
Arielle Piat-Sauve Oh I like that idea of young Canadian!
Ishani: I do too, great idea Amanda!

There are newsmakers and opinion makers in our generation, and it would be nice to see them featured. How should we do this, specific ventures, or specific people?

Amanda: Keep it topical. If North Korea is a big issue, find a young Canadian with some involvement or background related to the big stories. 
Lauren will make facebook group. Email and they will add you to the group!


Tags: CBC, Community, Generation Why

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