Writers, editors, radio and video journalists, and thought-leaders from across the nation meet at the Between Coasts Forum, a semi-annual conference launched by Denison faculty and authors Michael Croley and Jack Shuler.
The forum supports reporters and producers from the middle of the country with editors and producers on the coasts. It raises visibility for underappreciated stories and issues, and aims to get those stories to small and mid-sized outlets, whether print or broadcast, around the country.
The conference’s genesis lies in a Facebook post from Ted Genoways, who put out a call after the election, asking writers he knew in the Midwestern states to write about the stories in their part of the world as a way to buttress against the dominant story arc that the national media had missed Trump’s impending victory because they ignored the middle of the country. If that had been the case, then we needed to make sure they didn’t miss those stories again.
An outgrowth of what then became one of the longest threads in Facebook history to talk about these issues, a sort of crisis about the seeming lack of reporters and reportage in the middle of the country. The idea was to be a corrective and to raise our hands and say we have been here all along while you ignored us, our stories, and our pitches.
But the first forum was also a way for us to express that this kind of work matters and it provided a space for the writers and editors who attended to talk about why this job, this calling, this industry matters so much to each of us personally as well as how it provides a sense of constancy and ballast to the nation.
In May of 2018, the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University co-hosted the third forum with Denison and we continue to build a partnership that we hope will benefit journalists and our students.