As some of you may be aware, CJR took over the management and direction of a discussion board website / app called Galley at the end of last year, and we made our best to make it a place where people – not just journalists, but anyone – can have thoughtful and meaningful discussions with each other on a platform that cares about treating people with trust and respect ( in other words, not Twitter). The types of topics that interest us range from core journalistic issues like the death of objectivity or plagiarism in a popular book, to broader discussions of the impact of technology on our understanding of the world. And we would also like Galley to be a place where journalists and non-journalists can help each other, instead of just talking to each other as is so often the case.
So, for example, we currently have a discussion thread open on Galley aimed at those who have been fired from BuzzFeed, Vice News, HuffPost, Gannett and other media in the wave of layoffs that have cut over 2,000 jobs on last month. We wanted to provide a place where unemployed journalists could post their contact details, links to their work or LinkedIn profiles, etc. .
We also have a common thread on whether media companies should be doing more to reinvent commentary or think of new ways to capture reader engagement and feedback, which is very much in line with what we are saying. let’s try to do with Galley.
This latest thread was started by one of our guest editors, Mark Coatney, Head of Digital News at Forbes. Other guest editors, who help start and guide discussions on the platform, include Raju Narisetti, former director of Gizmodo Media Group and now a professor at Columbia who runs the Knight-Bagehot scholarship program, and Jihii jolly, a former community editor with News Deeply. One of the things we would love to do with Galley is to attract as wide a range of reporters and non-reporters as possible, to make sure that we don’t create the kind of echo chambers and silos that so many So if you don’t fit the typical description of a mainstream journalist, please register and / or contact us.
We would also like to use Galley to talk about some of the tech issues impacting both the media and the world at large, such as Facebook’s attempts to reduce the amount of misinformation it spreads while also denying that it’s about a media company, or YouTube’s role in creating a disinformation link for conspiracy theorists. An open thread we currently have on Galley is a place to talk about Apple’s proposed media subscription plan and whether the company wants to keep too much revenue, and how that is likely to impact publishers.
As CJR Editor-in-Chief Kyle Pope explained, one of Galley’s core concepts is that conversations can be open to anyone or restricted. The person initiating the conversation is in control and they can choose specific people to be a part of it, or they can narrow it down to those they choose to trust. Unlike Twitter chats often become free, no one on Galley is allowed into your conversation if you don’t want to. We sincerely want there to be a free flow of information for the greatest number of people, but we are not going to opt for that at the expense of civility or security. And since we haven’t raised any venture capital and don’t have grandiose user engagement goals to hit, there’s no pressure to do so.
Behind this somewhat grandiose vision is an app and website that is largely a work in progress – a beta, as tech startups like to call it, or maybe even an alpha version. Some parts don’t look right and / or snap randomly, and there’s a host of features we’d like it to have, all of which we’re working to add as quickly as possible. So please be indulgent with us if something breaks or doesn’t do what you think it should. If you have any ideas or concerns, or just want to know more, let me know.
Mathew Ingram is CJR’s digital editor. Previously he was a senior writer with Fortune magazine. He has written about the intersection of media and technology since the earliest days of the commercial Internet. His writings have been published in the Washington post and the Financial Time as well as by Reuters and Bloomberg.