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In his book “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind,” Shunryu Suzuki, a Sōtō Zen monk and teacher who helped to spread Zen Buddhism to the United States, popularized the concept of “beginner’s mind,” or shoshin — an approach of seeing the world through a beginner’s eyes. It means that you look at every situation as if it’s the first time you are seeing it or the first time you’ve been in that situation. It’s a mental state that emphasizes being open and aware and not influenced by fixed ideas, views and expectations.

Approaching life with a beginner’s mind is a process of continual discovery, of not knowing what to expect, or how things are going to turn out and perhaps not even having any set expectations for outcomes. The result is an openness and flexibility in the way you think, live and experience life with new possibilities and opportunities for learning and understanding. Beginner’s mind can be applied to many aspects of life, and holds many possibilities for journalism and, especially, the kind of journalism we do at Carolina Public Press.

As we begin 2023, the Carolina Public Press news team and staff are embracing a beginner’s mind, seeing our work with fresh eyes and creating new possibilities in our reporting, how to present it to meet our mission and to better connect with the communities we serve. 

“We are working to be the investigative and public service news arm for all North Carolinians,” said Executive Director Angie Newsome. “The not-for-profit news organization known for government accountability journalism and journalism that shines a light onto deserving issues.”

Today is the first of several exciting announcements about how we plan to arrive at our vision for Carolina Public Press. 

It is the beginning of a new era. 

Starting this month, we will be transitioning away from newspaper to magazine style format and publishing. A comparison of these two formats is summarized here

The main areas where CPP readers will see our renewed focus is in the content, frequency of publication, article length, design and the issues we will cover. We will not be doing “short and precise” reporting but doubling down on the in-depth and investigative reporting that is core to our mission. Our publication timelines will reflect that.

CPP will be publishing less frequently, with longer articles. The website design will incorporate a more balanced format including text, graphic elements and photographs.  In our new  magazine model,  both our investigative pieces and their supplemental reporting will stress focus on specific topics per issue.

We envision journalism that focuses on those democracy-related issues critical to our state and all North Carolinians. We want our stories to be discussed deeply, analytically, within our state’s spheres of influence.

CPP’s focus will continue to be on covering overlooked and underreported issues and communities that can go ignored by mainstream media.

To increase the transparency and legibility into our reporting, we will also be sharing more about how we decide which stories to pursue and how we consider the data we use and the sources we include. This could take the form of more FAQs explaining the goals, mission and reporting process of the team. Every two weeks there will be an editor’s notebook that will focus on the larger thinking and framing for the content. 

In 2023, we also want to keep creating spaces for engagement and mutual learning about democracy, solutions, ideas and action. We welcome your thoughts and questions about these developments. We begin the year with a mental state that is open and aware, and we look forward to creating new possibilities with you in our reporting and storytelling.

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