Next City is a nonprofit news organization, founded in 2003, that believes in the power of journalism to amplify solutions, helping spread them from one city to the next city. All of our readers are in search of solutions that infuse cities with greater economic, environmental, and social justice. Together we believe that when solutions are plentiful, so will our lives be in the city.
The Next City Seminars series is just another form of solutions journalism. It lets us connect our readers directly with practitioners, in the same way it would if we were hosting a panel or conference. These practitioners are encouraged to talk in practical terms about a particular project they have already completed, sharing lessons learned and challenges. The success of this format is evident in the questions we get from those who register. They’re incredibly realistic, asking about sources of funding and staffing levels, as people formulate whether they could replicate this solution in their own city.
While Next City covers cities across the nation, we are local in our focus, going down to the neighborhood level to connect grassroots people working in this space to better their cities. Some call these folks urbanists. That’s not a bad word for it. Mostly they’re your neighbors.
Webinars are budgeted with the expectation that a speaker will be paid $300 for their time and that we will get at least $1,000 in donations in response. The webinars are free to attend but are “pay what you wish.” We developed a sign-up form that allows folks to follow either path.
Then we used the GoToMeeting software to host the live event. And we worked with a developer to build an archive of the seminars so that readers can continue to learn from them even after they conclude.
The record for registrants is 539. The record for donations is $3,500. In other words, we’re getting both a lot of interest and lot of return.