ARCHE Public Voices Greenhouse FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What kind of time commitment is involved?
ARCHE Public Voices Greenhouse participants attend three in-person sessions (the first session 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 ARCE Public Voices 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.
Will the participants have mentors?
Yes. Each participant is assigned a journalist mentor from the Public Voices Greenhouse 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 sessions.
Will there be individual meetings with our journalist mentors?
Yes. Journalist mentors will meet participants at the three in-person sessions. Following the first session, 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 sessions.
What can I expect from my mentor?
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.
What will my mentor expect from me?
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 sessions, 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-ends, 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.
We were asked to commit to writing at least two op-eds. Will these be submitted to media outlets?
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.
Can one work in other types of public media in order to be considered, beyond print (op-ed, essays)?
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.
Will there be opportunities to work with Greenhouse advisers to decide how, where and when to publicize our work? Including in other media?
Yes. We work across a broad spectrum of public media.
Will the Greenhouse help with venues like the New York Review of Books, London Review of Books, The New Republic, Harpers, etc., or is it just the short venues that “count”?
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, ARCHE Public Voices Greenhouse 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.
What if I have to miss a convening?
Attendance of all three ARCHE Public Voices Greenhouse sessions is mandatory, and your commitment to attend all three sessions in full is a condition of acceptance into the greenhouse. We expect you to realize that this is a program that 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 program participant, you will become 1/20 of the cohort, and we will expect you to show up.
I am traveling from outside of the Washington, D.C. area and my employer will not cover the cost of attendance. Are there scholarships available?
ARCHE will provide travel scholarships to participants as needed. Please indicate your need for a scholarship in the application form.