How we take care
Highlights from SRCCON:CARE participants
At SRCCON:CARE, we’re going to spend two days reflecting on the practice of care in journalism. In preparation for the event, we asked participants about how they’ve seen care put into practice this year and about what would be meaningful to learn about at this event. As always, the responses were hugely informative, helping us understand what to focus on in the SRCCON:CARE program. With this topic though, answers were also often extremely personal.
Collective support that shows up
Participants shared about struggles at work and challenges outside of work. Amidst these difficulties, some themes stood out:
- Networks of care exist—they are made up of siblings and neighbors and colleagues and friends. They can spin up in an instant, or go on for months or years. They provide meals and companionship and support navigating medical systems. Often, they are powered by spreadsheets and the project management skills that thrive in the SRCCON community. (I think I’ve seen Anne Helen Petersen’s recent piece shared in every Slack I’m a member of, which could also be titled: spreadsheet-driven care for family and friends!)
- A sense of responsibility pervades what it means to consider care. Whether responsiblity to serving readers or to caring for your team while the larger organization makes poor decisions, there was such a clear and powerful sense of devotion to each other. I’m hopeful through the sessions during SRCCON:CARE we can link up this feeling of personal responsiblity to the power of networks of care to make it clear these are not individual responsibilites to carry, but collective ones.
- To be blunt, people are going through a lot. Grief, chronic illness, round-the-clock caregiving, uncertainty, instability. It was humbling the tenderness and vulnerability people shared in the form, and the examples of circles of support they have also leaned on to help them through. The complexities people are facing show how our need for care, and our ability to offer it, really is a constant throughout life. As disability justice advocates like Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha have put it, we need to consider care and “‘collective access’ — access not as a chore but as a collective responsibility and pleasure.”
It comes as no surprise that many of these themes also intersect with each other—emphasizing the collective, our responsibility to one another, and, I think latent underneath, an abundance of resources, care, and kindness that is often hidden from our immediate view. By naming these dynamics, bringing visibility to the care we need and that we offer, we’re taking an important step in dismantling the systems that try to keep us trudging along individually. At SRCCON:CARE, the sessions will lead us through other practical strategies (and maybe some more spreadsheets) for acting on this insight. In addition, the experiences participants have shared demonstrate that care is a vibrant value in our personal lives, and one that this community is eager to find ways to express in our professional lives, too.
Want to be a part of these conversations and collective work together? Join us December 8-9 at SRCCON:CARE.
We’re also interested in further documenting the work and practices around care in and near journalism. If that’s something you’d like to write about, whether it be your personal experience or as a reported piece, contact us at email@example.com.
Co-Executive Director of OpenNews.