The Slow Journalism summit
In the seven-and-a-half years since we launched Delayed Gratification we’ve seen a number of Slow Journalism projects spring up around the world. And last month in the leafy college town of Eugene, Oregon, a landmark event took place – the first global Slow News conference.
Slow News & More Slow was organised by Peter Laufer, a professor at the University of Oregon and the author of Slow News, a punchy Slow Journalism manifesto inspired by the Slow Food movement. Peter brought together some journalists and editors with a shared desire to slow things down for an appropriately unrushed few days in Eugene exchanging ideas and talking about the future of journalism.
The low-key and intimate event saw several of Peter’s colleagues at the School of Journalism and Communication give thought-provoking presentations on their respective areas of expertise – Kathryn Thier, Lori Shontz and Nicole Dahmen spoke about solutions journalism, slow approaches to reporting tragedies and photojournalism. Also in attendance was an Italian film crew which is working on a documentary about the Slow Journalism movement (you can see the trailer here); LIU Brooklyn professor Jennifer Rauch, whose book Slow Media is to be published next month (and whose Slow Media blog is well worth a read); and local journalists and editors including Logan Molen, the former publisher of the Eugene Register-Guard, and Eugene Weekly editor Camilla Mortensen, who shared their experiences of how a Slow Journalism approach to local news reporting benefits communities.
The ‘More Slow’ component of the conference epitomised Laufer’s multidisciplinary approach to teaching and thinking about journalism. It included a visit to the university’s urban farm, where its director, Harper Keeler, spoke passionately about the relationship between Slow Food and Slow News, and a Mozart adagio by clarinetist Wonkak Kim, who shared his fascinating thoughts on slowness in classical music and how they relate to news journalism.
Back in the early days of DG we ploughed a lonely furrow when we talked about the need for a Slow Journalism movement, so it’s been heartening to discover colleagues around the world who share our values and want to offer alternatives to the ultra-fast news cycle. This is a challenging time for journalism, particularly in the US where the current administration is openly hostile towards the free press. However, it’s also a great opportunity to rethink the way we fund, produce and consume news. We believe that Slow Journalism can be part of the solution.
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