Outriders Network: Building infrastructure for the future
We are more than just producers of stories. Outride.rs, our web publication, is our flagship project. But “Outriders” is an organisation dedicated to reinventing journalism. We want to innovate while preserving journalist values and find new ways for them to strive.
Now, we want to tell you more about Outriders Network which will be launched on September 26th during the Outriders Summit. Some of you may have come across it on Facebook, others heard about our projects such as the journalist exchange run in partnership with the Lviv Media Forum or kickstarting Solutions Journalism in Poland with Ashoka and Solutions Journalism Network.
We have planted these seeds with a bigger vision in mind but had yet to explain it in detail. The truth is that to do this right, we needed time. It required us to consolidate our experience and define a proper strategy. Now we are ready to share the results with you and invite you to join us!
Our key insights for journalism today are:
New Kids On the Block
Many new journalists today don’t have any journalism background. They come from NGOs or watchdogs; they are information activists, bloggers, storytellers.
New Paradigm for Media Outlets
New journalist initiatives that came to life in recent years operate in a different reality than the big outlets. On the other hand, when you attend a more significant journalism event, you can see that 9 out of 10 people in the room are not journalists but editors and publishers. It seems funny but also somewhat sad. Why? Editors and publishers are not the decision makers anymore. Instead, there are a lot more communications going on directly between the readers and the authors.
Freedom to Innovate
Where does the money lie in journalism? There is a lot of grants for innovating and a lot of them dedicated to the freedom of press struggles. These are not necessarily separable. In the modern world, there is no freedom of speech without innovation and smart use of new technologies. Neither there should be any innovation that doesn’t take the freedom of the press into account. We feel that there is no infrastructure to help those who create a grassroots, new model, new vision-driven initiatives, organisations and journalism startups.
Here, Outriders Network enters the stage. We hope that it will help those who want to shape the future of journalism and storytelling.
Change isn’t easy, and it makes a lot more sense to go through it together and share what we learn in the process. That is why we created the Outriders Network.
To achieve its goal, the Outriders Network is built around three components.
sharing what we are working on and producing new content together
meeting, talking, learning from each other online and offline
creating a database of tools, getting trained in how to use them best
It is a network for journalists, designers, data scientists, bloggers — modern storytellers who want to describe the world to their readers, not just transmit news and information from A to B. Outriders Network will connect them with projects, enable peer-to-peer learning and enhance cross-border and cross-competency collaboration.
How Can You Join?
We Want to Hear From You
We are going to kick-off next week with a survey aiming to research the needs of the European journalism community. We have some initial ideas, inspired by the different ways that news media are now trying to forge closer ties and stronger relations to their communities and audiences, but we don’t want to impose anything.
We Want To Meet
Join us for the Outriders Summit, which takes place in Warsaw on the 26th of September. The tickets are up for grabs, and we still have a few spots left in the Open Call if you’d like to take a stage.
We will dive into the ideas from the survey during the ten meetups organised in 10 different European cities starting in October. Every meetup will follow the same structure of present-discuss-work and gather local journos. Check our website for upcoming meetups and watch the talks from the other ones online.
At the same time, we will keep in touch online and report on what we learn as we go. We have a website, a medium publication, a Facebook group and the good old newsletter.
Join our ride, the out-ride!
P.S. What else do Outriders do to support good journalism?
We produce content for our portal where we tell stories of the world in their most suited forms including interactive storytelling, regular dispatches, media literacy related content and a carefully curated newsletter
We work with a community of travellers who share their stories about the world
We support organisations with their storytelling needs through workshops, stories creation and special projects.