Local that Works Webinars

How to sustain local journalism is one of the great challenges of American media. What can public broadcasters, nonprofit, commercial and legacy news organizations learn from one another about deepening public service, engaging communities, and serving a diverse and growing audience?

The Local that Works monthly webinar series aims to break down the silos between these media sectors and provide insight into inspiring, replicable models of local civic journalism in the U.S. The series spotlights organizations, distinct projects and collaborations. Local that Works webinars are a partnership among Current, the Poynter Institute, the Public Media Journalists Association, and Gather.

The host is journalist Mariana Dale, early childhood reporter at KPCC in Los Angeles. As a senior field correspondent at KJZZ in Phoenix, Mariana helped lead national Edward R. Murrow Award–winning coverage of the 2018 statewide teacher strike. She serves as a mentor for NPR’s Next Generation Radio project, which trains up-and-coming public media journalists.

Previous webinars

Democratizing Journalism: News of, by and for the People (May 11, 2021)
City Bureau, a digital startup on the South Side of Chicago, has been attracting attention and funding for bringing “journalists and communities together in a collaborative spirit to produce media that is impactful, equitable and responsive to the public.” Co-founder Darryl Holliday explains City Bureau’s innovative model for participatory reporting and accountability journalism. Watch the webinar. Read a companion case study about City Bureau.

Listening Up: How WFAE made inclusion the North Star of its content strategy (June 8, 2021) WFAE’s open ears, minds and doors approach is proving that a public broadcaster can grow trust, diversity, membership, revenue and produce impactful, award-winning journalism by putting the community first. Guests: Chief Content Office Ju-Don Marshall and CEO Joe O’Connor. Watch the webinar. Read a companion case study about WFAE.

Keeping it Local: How the National Trust for Local News aims to sustain community journalism (July 13, 2021)  What happens when foundations, venture philanthropists and nonprofit news organizations join forces to prevent another local news desert? The National Trust for Local News recently engineered the purchase of a family-owned newspaper chain in suburban Denver, Colorado in order to sustain its irreplaceable local journalism. Is this business model a viable strategy to prevent vulture capital acquisitions of local media and keep local news in local hands? Watch the webinar. Read a companion case study about National Trust for Local News. 

Pathways to Philanthropy: Funding Local Journalism (Oct. 19, 2021) 
How much of your organization’s journalism can be funded through philanthropic support from your audience, donors and foundations? What is the role of community listening in crafting a compelling case for funding? Frank Mungeam, Chief Innovation Officer with the Local Media Association shares key insights from LMA’s inaugural Lab for Journalism Funding, including essential elements of a successful philanthropy pitch, mistakes to avoid, and case study examples from publishers. Larry Lee, CEO of the Sacramento Observer shares his story of fundraising for his family’s historical Black newspaper. Watch the webinar.

Local that Works Contest Grand Finale (Nov. 9, 2021)
Get inspired by the bold work of public service media. Current’s Local that Works contest spotlights and celebrates the innovative ways local media create unique content and engage with their communities in order to serve new, diverse audiences. This video is an edited version of the 2021 Grand Finale in the annual Local that Works contest. Watch compelling presentations by four finalists and wait for the announcement of the winner, voted by attendees.

Serving Spanish Speakers: Engaging Latinx communities (Jan. 18, 2022)
The 2020 U.S. Census found that the Hispanic/Latinx population grew by 10 million people over the last decade, and nearly 19% of the U.S. population identifies as Hispanic or Latino. How are public media stations responding to the needs of Latinx communities? What strategies are local news organizations developing to reach and engage Spanish speakers and bilingual audiences? Guests: Ernesto Aguilar, Director of Radio Programming at KQED in San Francisco; Michelle Billman, News Director at KUNR in Reno, Nev.; and Madeleine Bair, Founding Director of El Tímpano in Oakland, Calif. Watch the webinar. Read a companion case study about KQED.

Building Statewide News Ecosystems (Feb. 15, 2022)
In the effort to rebuild local journalism, attention is shifting to the importance of “ecosystems” that can act as supportive networks to connect media makers, marshal funding, coordinate news coverage and more. In our this Local that Works webinar we hear from two people who have been building state ecosystems: Rashad Mahmood, from the New Mexico Local News Fund and Stefanie Murray, from the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Watch the webinar.

Secrets of Successful Local Podcasts (March 8, 2022)
Everybody and their mother have got a podcast. The competition for our ears and our time is intense, and growing, as local news media step up to produce podcasts aimed at their communities. What makes a local podcast successful? What works? Guests include Emily Means, co-host of KUER’s State Street podcast, Andi McDaniel, Chief Creative Officer for City Cast and Harry Clark, Chief Revenue Officer for Market Enginuity. Watch the webinar.

Lessons from a Sustainable Local News Startup (April 19, 2022)
How do you sustain digital local journalism beyond the nation’s big cities? Ask Richland Source. Launched nine years ago in America’s rust belt, Richland Source has earned its reputation as one of the strongest local news services rooted in “flyover country.” How did they do it?  What’s the secret for growing digital service and revenue in smaller cities and rural areas? This webinar answers those questions. Join us for a conversation with Richland Source President Jay Allred and Head of News Product Zac Hiser to learn how this innovative community news site is building trust and sustainability through solutions journalism, audience engagement and clever revenue strategies.  Watch the webinar.

Exploding the Classical Canon: How to Diversify the Playlist  (May 17, 2022)
Classical music is dominated by white male composers, conductors and performers. The Recording Inclusivity Initiative strives to change that by opening the radio waves to musicians from underrepresented communities. All Classical Portland’s Recording Inclusivity Initiative was the winner of Current’s 2021 Local that Works contest. In this webinar, All Classical Portland’s Suzanne Nance and Kristina Becker share the how-to of their project and bring us up to date on the movement to make classical music playlists look and sound more like America. Additional guest: Bob Lord of Parma Recordings. Watch the webinar.

Becoming a News Go-To: 3 Stations’ Strategies (July 12, 2022)
Many public radio stations have been scaling up their news operations, aspiring to fill the gaps left by shrinking legacy newspapers. As they make this move, they are often led by former print journalists. In this Local that Works webinar, three experienced leaders from some of the largest print newsrooms share their views of the challenge of multiplatform publishing in public radio: Kevin Dale, Executive Editor, CPR; Megan Garvey, Executive Editor, KPCC; Terence Shepherd, News Director, WLRN. Watch the webinar.

Local that Works Grand Finale (Nov 17, 2022)
Watch powerful presentations by the five finalists in the annual Local that Works contest as they compete for the $20,000 Grand Prize. Learn all about these bold initiatives: Great Salt Lake Collaborative, “After the Assault,” by CapRadio, “Minnehistories” from TPT/Twin Cities PBS, “Check Your Judges” from InjusticeWatch and “Vote with Confidence: A Guide from Detroit Documenters,” from Outlier Media. Watch the webinar.

Though an annual contest, database and coverage in Current, Local that Works spotlights replicable initiatives at public media stations and nonprofit news organizations. LTW is funded by the Wyncote Foundation.