Participants attend three in-person convenings (the first convening is 1.5 days, the remaining two are one day in duration), and are encouraged to join each monthly media brain trust call (40 minutes). Participants also commit to producing at least two op-eds or other form of concrete thought leadership in the public sphere during the greenhouse period. Beyond this, there is no minimum time commitment. Some participants work a lot (several hours or more every week) because they want big results. Others work in waves, going for a week or several weeks with only minimum time investment, and then surfacing to work intensely when they have a timely piece in the works. Both options are fine. We know that we are all busy professionals who have a full plate. Our aim is to use time with radical efficiency and maximum meaning, making it possible to achieve remarkable results in an amount of time that would otherwise be impossible.
Yes. Each of the participants is assigned a journalist mentor from our team. Generally there are two journalist mentors assigned to each greenhouse, each of whom mentors ten participants (they may switch or swap during the year, for maximum impact). Additional facilitators and journalists may attend the in-person convenings.
Yes. Journalist mentors will meet participants at the three in-person convenings. Following the first convening, they will kick off the greenhouse by setting up one-on-one calls with each of their participants in the weeks following the first convening. Beyond this, there are no required individual meetings. In most cases, participants will work with their mentors virtually (email, phone or Google hangout) in between convenings.
In general, you can expect meaningful and timely support from your mentor, but not 24/7 support. Like you, we have other jobs (we are journalists, and we have other things cooking), but you can count on us to be in your corner on the regular. You can expect your mentor to provide editorial support and coaching for a diversity of ideas, including those with which s/he may disagree (unless the gap is too large to work together, in which case we will swap mentors). You can expect your mentor to respond to your emails within 24 hours (except on weekends), although not necessarily with edits. You can expect edits within a timely period, usually within a few days. An exception is if you have a ticking bomb of an idea, in which case our team will bend over backwards to edit faster. You can also expect advice and support with pitching at the start of the greenhouse, when our team will typically pitch for you and CC you; as we progress, you can expect us to provide advice on pitching, as you begin to increasingly pitch yourself.
We expect participants to treat us like colleagues, not employees (better yet, if it's real, treat us as friends). We expect participants to be fully present for all three convenings, start to finish, and to bring your most challenging and most meaningful ideas to the table. We expect you to engage with us and with each other, and to respond in a timely manner to our communications (which are designed to support you, and will not be intrusive or overwhelming). We expect you send us your draft op-eds, on the regular. As a condition for acceptance into this greenhouse, you committed to producing at least two op-eds; therefore, we expect you to send us at least two viable drafts, and hopefully many more. We expect you to give back to your greenhouse cohort: to engage, challenge and support the other participants in this greenhouse by sharing ideas, challenges, learnings and successes with the group, in the way you see best, whenever possible.
Yes. All participants commit to producing at least two op-eds or other concrete "thought leadership" results in the public sphere (for example, a TED talk, an essay or blog post, a speech, etc). Our journalist mentors will help participants pitch in the initial month or two of the greenhouse, and in later months will guide participants in pitching themselves, on their own. Statistically, many participants will produce more than two pieces.
Yes. Participants are welcome to focus on any concrete thought leadership outcomes they wish, across any media platform they like, whether written, broadcast, online, public speaking, or something else. The purpose of this commitment to concrete outcomes is simply to ensure we are putting ideas into the public sphere, and not merely talking about it.
Yes. We work across a broad spectrum of public media.
It depends. Participants are welcome to aim for those magazine outlets too, if they wish - but they should understand that doing so is a different game, and (on the whole) may be less strategic. This is because literary and political magazines like the ones mentioned above tend to feature professional writers and journalists, with experience in reporting. There are of course exceptions (several of our participants have published in these outlets), but the value proposition tends to favor the skill set of professional writers - and in this arena academics and nonprofit leaders, who are not trained in this way, may be less competitive.
By contrast, short form opinion forums (across all media and public platforms) place priority on the ideas and expertise of the contributor. Communication skills still matter--obviously one still needs be able to express an idea clearly and compellingly; but the value proposition favors expertise. So, in this arena academics and nonprofit leaders have a strong competitive advantage. For this reason we place a strategic emphasis on these forums.
Nevertheless, Public Voices participants are free to weigh these strategic considerations and decide for themselves. Our curriculum is not about any platform – it's about making more and better ideas happen, creating an environment where we can think more expansively, and using the best available research and methods to increase our ability to influence the planet. If we do our job, the lessons will be applicable not only to any media but to any realm of life.
Attendance of all three Public Voices Greenhouse convenings is mandatory, and your commitment to attend all three convenings in full is a condition of acceptance into the greenhouse. We expect you to realize that this is fellowship is built around a social mission. Your presence is not just about what you will get out of this greenhouse, it is about what you will give. As a fellow you will become 1/20 of the cohort, and we will expect you to show up. If an emergency arises, the fellow will discuss this with FCIP to arrange some sort of make-up, which may involve reviewing a taping and/or responding to the convening through another form.