Convergence & Community

16 Jan 2013

Harrington School-Wide/ Journalism/ Library & Information Studies

Librarians and Journalists Gather

January 16 – 17, 2013

The event was a 24-hour invitational conference for faculty and other stakeholders of the Harrington School’s disciplines. We wanted to:

  • understand how convergence is affecting the sharing of knowledge and information in local, regional, and global communities;
  • invent and explore ideas for curriculum renewal and public outreach with a group of at multidisciplinary strategic thinkers from Providence to Seattle.

The purpose of the event was to expose and consider the cross-disciplinary wisdom and knowledge of the URI community, seeding the thinking and advice of our visiting experts about preparing future workers for the converging “knowledge network” of libraries, newsrooms, studios and agencies.

Our goal: some concentrated exploration of two broad fields that are changing at lightning speed – multimedia journalism and library/information studies.

By mixing our own faculty and Rhode Island constituencies with visiting experts from journalism, libraries, technology and media production, we hope to have an unrestricted exploration of ideas for how – in a knowledge ecosystem of converging platforms and services – the Harrington School will meet the career and intellectual needs of our students and the information needs of our participatory democracy.

Distinguished Guests

Kara Andrade, an Ashoka Fellow working in Central America coordinating HablaCentro,an organization and technology platform that allows users to send and receive information via text messages that are also posted to local hub websites in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Venezuela. She was funded by the U.S. State Department to implement a mobile-based citizen- journalism website in her native Guatemala. She has 10 years experience in nonprofit development, public health and community organizing. She worked as a multimedia producer and photojournalist for Agence France-Presse, Americas Quarterly, Associated Press, Christian Science Monitor, France 24, Global Post, ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America, The New York Timesand other publications. She holds an M.A. in journalism from the Univ. of California Berkeley. ;

Michael Fancher, of Seattle, former executive editor of The Seattle Times and a principal writer of the “Knight Commission Report on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy” a joint project of the Aspen Institute and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. (WIKIPEDIA) One of its recommendations was to fund and support public libraries and other community institutions as centers of digital and media training, especially for adults. He has a Masters in Communications from Kansas State University and an MBA from the University of Washington.


Brian C. Jones, of Providence, editor and co-founder, Rhode Island Library Report. Jones is a former Providence Journal reporter and writer creating a web-based news time focused entirely on the state’s libraries and their stakeholders. The Harrington School is exploring the possibility of working with using a “teaching model” approach to journalism and media education.



Leigh Montgomery, has been news librarian at the Christian Science Monitor since 1998 and served as chair of the News Division of the Special Libraries Association for calendar 2011. She holds a Masters in mass communication from Boston University, where she taught briefly. She studies and writes on data journalism, digital archiving, information industries, and changes in libraries, media and education.


Graf Mouen, of New York, is an information technology consultant to CircLabs Inc., a University of Missouri research startup exploring prototypes for news personalization. Mouen has been a consultant for Ernst & Young to Univision Communications Inc., and spent 15 years with ABCNEWS.COM as lead project manager for their multimedia news search and archiving services, where he also participated in knowledge-management task forces for other Disney Inc. affiliates, including ESPN. He is an expert on news taxonomies. He is a graduate of Yale College and the Yale School of Drama.

The gathering is being organized by Bill Densmore, a consulting fellow to the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri and founder of the Media Giraffe Project and New England News Forum at UMass-Amherst. Bill is also a board member of Journalism That Matters Inc., and organized with MIT and the Institute for Museum and Library Services last year’s “Beyond Books” conference in Cambridge. ( )