Part 2 Seventeen Lessons for Running Local News Events
Journalism has long brought people together through shared rituals — reading the morning paper, watching the evening news — but as audiences find the news on more platforms, on their own schedules, those rituals have diminished in importance. What hasn’t changed, however, is the potential role of local news organizations to build community around the news. And increasingly, newsrooms are experimenting with events as a way of convening people, engaging their communities, and facilitating critical local conversations.
It is starting to pay off:
- MinnPost, a nonprofit online newsroom in Minnesota, made $160,000 off its annual “MinnRoast” comedy and politics event last year.
- The Chattanooga Times Free Press, a daily print paper in Tennessee, brings in “well into seven figures in income” with the 12 events it hosts each year.
- The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to Texas politics, brought in roughly $1.2 million through events in 2013.
- The Atlantic now hosts more than 100 events each year, and they make up almost 20 percent of the organization’s revenue.
Some of the most notable events are sponsored by organizations covering major metropolitan areas or whole states. But how does an event strategy scale down to the very local level? If your organization wants to develop an event strategy, here are key lessons from newsrooms that have made it work.