THANKS: A year-end report from the New England News Forum

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Dear NENF Supporter:

Will you please help the New England News Forum to convene conversations at the intersection of news, journalism, politics and democracy? Here's an example:

The careers of Arnie Arnesen and Tom Fiedler have been centered 1,500 miles apart. But the news forum brought them together on Dec. 6 for "The Unpress: The New Gatekeepers of the New Hampshire Primary?" at Southern New Hampshire University -- our first event in the Granite State. Arnesen -- radio talk-show host, former N.H. state rep, gubernatorial candidate and all-around civic activist; Fielder -- a career political reporter just retired from the top editing spot at The Miami Herald.

"What's happening in the blogosphere is fascinating, exciting [and] democratizes the process," Fielder remarked near the end of a 90-minute town-meeting style discussion. "But it's worrisome, like a teen-ager with a sharp weapon in their hand sometimes."

"I think the younger generation understands the process," Arnesen said. " . . . I think the younger people are prepared to see the evolution . . . [t]hey may not get it right initially, but they are on their way to getting it right. And they.ll tolerate that."

Since our "soft" launch a year ago we have convened four public events, including our Lowell kickoff in April, spoken in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts and started reporting and linking on a website which promises to become a center for reference and original research. We're forging relationships with New England press groups, with journalism educators and the public. F or a full report on our first year, email a request to

During 2008, we'll assemble an inaugural advisory board, appoint issue coordinators for each state, advise and hold public forums on topics which intersect news and public affairs, and explore initiatives for bringing editors and online journalists in closer touch with schools for teaching news literacy.

These efforts begin with you, our supporters.. Please consider now becoming a member of the New England News Forum.. A $500. membership will underwrite the cost of one of our "Civic News Library Listening Series" events in your state or region; a $300 membership will allow us to conduct research on one or more critical news coverage issues. An $85 membership will help us establish contact with a high-school teacher or schedule a classroom visit by a journalism professional . and get you founding collaborator Dan Okrent's book, "Public Editor No. 1."

You can mail a check in any amount, or make a contribution from our website. The funds will be deposited to the New England News Forum gift account at the University of Massachusetts, and you will receive a letter acknowledgement. The url:.

Thank-you for your support and I look forward to speaking with you.

Best wishes,

Bill Densmore, Executive Director

The New England News Forum

108 Bartlett Hall

University of Massachusetts

Amherst MA 01003