Table Stakes: Poynter’s Local News Innovation Program (2023)

$500.00

Apply Now
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Table Stakes: Poynter’s Local News Innovation Program (2023)

This intensive, yearlong program is proven to help local newspapers, public radio stations and digital news organizations make the transition to sustainable digital publishing and build a culture of performance-driven change.

January 17, 2023– December 8, 2023

Overview

  • This yearlong training costs $500-$6,500, depending on the size of your news organization.
  • Attend monthly webinars, participate in coaching and peer group calls, and attend two in-person summits.
  • Collect data and measure outcomes to track progress toward achieving your objectives.
  • Apply on behalf of your organization by Friday, Nov. 18, 2022.

$500.00

Apply Now
SKU: TABLE STAKES-2023 Category: Tags: , ,

Learning Outcomes

Poynter’s Table Stakes program brings together cross-functional leadership teams from eight to 10 diverse news organizations to provide a pathway, based on the seven Tables Stakes, for transforming your news organization into an audience-focused, digital-first, market-leading, sustainable enterprise. If your organization participates, you will:

  • Define specific performance initiatives that will advance your digital transformation
  • Identify and address any underlying skill, role, workflow, tech and culture changes required to achieve your objectives
  • Develop the individual skills and organizational capabilities you’ll need to continue the work beyond the project
  • Use the tools and methodologies of performance-driven change
  • Develop a peer network of news organizations that will hold you accountable and inspire you

$500.00

Apply Now

Overview

  • This yearlong training costs $500-$6,500, depending on the size of your news organization.
  • Attend monthly webinars, participate in coaching and peer group calls, and attend two in-person summits.
  • Collect data and measure outcomes to track progress toward achieving your objectives.
  • Apply on behalf of your organization by Friday, Nov. 18, 2022.

Training five or more people?
Check out our custom training.

Become a dominant player in your market and change the game for your news organization with Poynter’s Table Stakes program. 

This will be the sixth year of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation-funded and Poynter-facilitated initiative to accelerate digital transformation and sustainability in local news. More than 60 newsrooms across the United States have realized their performance challenges through Poynter’s program since 2017, while also adapting to the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing business model changes.

Table Stakes partner programs include Arizona State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Poynter’s team of experts — led by Quentin Hope and Kate Myers — specialize in transforming small to medium-size news organizations, with a focus on family-owned, Black-owned or independent newspapers and public media organizations.

During Poynter’s yearlong program, we combine in-person gatherings, regular online group seminars, peer group support and personalized coaching sessions to hold you accountable and help your entire organization succeed. You’ll also experience transformation alongside other news organizations of different sizes and from different regions; they will serve as a sounding board, motivator and source of inspiration.

This level of accountability and guidance is part of the reason that transformational change continues after the program concludes.

“Our #FactsArentFree team, which we formed and named during Table Stakes, still meets weekly to work on our digital subscription strategies,” said Liz White Notarangelo, publisher and executive vice president at the Record-Journal in Connecticut, which participated in Poynter’s 2019-2020 program. “We continue to use the skills we learned in Table Stakes, and it set us up for additional opportunities, as we were accepted into the (Meta Journalism Project) Accelerator Program.”

Terry Williams, president and chief operating officer at The Keene Sentinel in New Hampshire, reported a similar experience. The teams he set up in 2019 and 2020 during Poynter’s Table Stakes program continue to meet today to increase the amount of online engagement at the 220-year-old paper.

“We ended 2019 at 1.4 million in circulation revenue. We expect to end this year at 1.8 million,” said Williams in 2021. “Now for us, we’re a small operation, that’s really significant growth for us. … I’m a huge advocate for Table Stakes. It’s been a game changer for us.

Since the Anchorage Daily News participated in Poynter’s Table Stakes program — twice, from 2017 to 2019 — Alaska’s most-read newspaper has become a much more audience-driven operation.

Picture of Vicky Ho

Vicky Ho, deputy editor/online at Anchorage Daily News, shared best practices with leaders from 14 different news organizations at Poynter’s Table Stakes program in May. (Sara O’Brien)

Going through Table Stakes helped us identify gaps within our organization so we could continue building out our team in a strategic way that makes sense not only from an editorial standpoint, but from a financial point of view as well,” said Vicky Ho, managing editor at Anchorage Daily News and one of Poynter’s Tables Stakes coaches. “And we’ve continued to embrace an iterative approach to various experiments or initiatives.”

Table Stakes also spurred Ho and her team to seek out partnerships to grow capacity. The Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica were awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for a project called Lawless, focusing on sexual violence and law enforcement in Alaska. That was the result of a yearlong collaboration between the newsrooms, and the partnership with ProPublica has continued. 

Change the game for your organization. Apply for Poynter’s 2023 Table Stakes program by Nov. 18, 2022.

Questions about Poynter’s Table Stakes program?

We’d love to hear from you. Email us at info@poynter.org.

Want more information and community about how local news is changing? Join the conversation in our weekly newsletter, Local Edition.

The 2023 Table Stakes: Local News Innovation Program includes monthly webinars and quarterly coaching calls, peer group calls, and data tracking. The opening session will take place Feb. 22-24, 2023, and the closing session will take place Dec. 6-8, 2023. These three-day sessions will likely be in-person at the Poynter Institute in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida, subject to CDC guidelines.

This will literally transform the way you view your job. It will guide your interactions with your staff, your colleagues on the business side and your decisions on how to allocate scarce resources.

— Lee Ann Colacioppo, editor of The Denver Post

Participants will receive pre-work and light assignments beginning the week of Jan. 17, 2023. Before the opening session, participants are also highly encouraged to attend pre-program webinars to learn key concepts of the Tables Stakes philosophy. The first webinar will take place Feb. 1, 2023.

Key dates

  • Jan. 17, 2023: Pre-work and light assignments
  • Feb. 1, 2023: First online webinar
  • Feb. 22-24, 2023: Opening session
  • Dec. 6-8, 2023: Closing session

Questions?

We’d love to hear from you. Email us at info@poynter.org.

Want more information and community about how local news is changing? Join the conversation in our weekly newsletter, Local Edition.

Who should apply

The Poynter program is open to all local U.S. newspapers, public radio stations and digital news organizations. We specialize in coaching small to medium-size news organizations, with a focus on family-owned, Black-owned or independent newspapers. We are also happy to welcome referrals from our partner programs, including API. 

Organizations in our 2023 Table Stakes cohort included: 

  • AFRO American Newspapers, Baltimore
  • APG Media of Chesapeake, LLC, Easton, Maryland
  • APG Media of Ohio, Athens, Ohio and Waverly, Ohio
  • APG Southern Minnesota, Owatonna, Minnesota
  • The Atlanta Voice, Atlanta
  • Fort Worth Report, Fort Worth, Texas
  • Grand Forks Herald, North Dakota
  • I Messenger Media LLC, Dallas
  • Jacksonville Today, a product of WJCT Public Media, Jacksonville, Florida
  • Laramie Boomerang, Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming
  • News-Press NOW, St. Joseph, Missouri
  • Pamplin Media Group, Portland, Oregon
  • WFSU Public Media, Tallahassee, Florida

To be considered for this program, senior leaders in each organization must commit to full participation in the project.

Application process

You’ll need information about your market, your listeners, members and subscribers, circulation numbers and the names of four team members who will participate (they should be in leadership positions overseeing business and/or editorial) to apply. You will be able to save your work on the application and continue later. 

In addition, you will be asked to carefully read and sign this Memorandum of Understanding to indicate your news organization’s commitment to prioritizing and providing resources to your Table Stakes project. This program requires leadership and commitment to tracking your progress and interacting with Poynter’s team of coaches and consultants. Your understanding of the time and effort is crucial. That’s what makes the difference in effectiveness. 

The application deadline is Friday, Nov. 18, 2022.

The time investment and hard work definitely pays off. Make it happen.

— Shane Benjamin, deputy editor at The Durango Herald

Cost

The yearlong training and individual coaching sessions cost $500-$6,500, depending on the size of your news organization.

For newspapers:

  • Sunday circulation exceeding 100,000: $3,500
  • Sunday circulation between 50,000 and 100,000: $2,000 
  • Sunday circulation of less than 50,000: $500 

For broadcast organizations:

  • Market size of 1-10: $6,500
  • Market size of 11-25: $4,000 
  • Market size of 26 and below: $2,500 

For digital-only organizations of local or hyperlocal focus: $500 

In the event that the closing session is in-person, participants will pay for their own travel, lodging, ground transportation, meals outside the sessions and related expenses for the in-person gatherings. 

Once you are accepted into the program, you will be invoiced for the correct total, based on the size of your newsroom. 

Questions?

We’d love to hear from you. Email us at info@poynter.org.

Want more information and community about how local news is changing? Join the conversation in our weekly newsletter, Local Edition.

Instructors

Co-Leaders

  • Quentin Hope
    Quentin Hope is an independent consultant with over 25 years of experience serving clients across a broad range of industries and organizations in the areas...
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  • Kate Myers
    Adjunct, The Poynter Institute
    Kate Myers is a seasoned and creative leader and strategist with deep experience in for-profit, non-profit, and public media Kate works with news organizations and...
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Coaches

  • Glenn Burkins
    Founder and Publisher, Qcitymetro.com
    Glenn is founder and publisher of Qcitymetro.com. He's worked at the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and Charlotte Observer.
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  • Angela Evancie
    Director of Engagement Journalism, Vermont Public Radio
    Angela Evancie is VPR's Director of Engagement Journalism and the Executive Producer of Brave Little State, the station's people-powered journalism project.
    Read More
  • Larry Graham
    COO, Diversity Pledge Inc.
    Larry Graham spent the majority of his career leading sports departments in newsrooms across the country. He's worked at ESPN.com, The San Diego Union-Tribune, the...
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  • Vicky Ho
    Managing Editor, Anchorage Daily News
    Vicky Ho is the Anchorage Daily News' managing editor. An avid hiker and skier, she also writes Cautionary Tales, a column about lessons learned the...
    Read More
  • Tom Huang
    Assistant Managing Editor for Journalism Initiatives, The Dallas Morning News
    Tom Huang is Assistant Managing Editor for Journalism Initiatives at The Dallas Morning News, where he oversees Sunday Page One, edits in-depth enterprise stories, handles...
    Read More
  • Katie Mercer
    Director of Social Media, Glacier Media; Vice-President Content, Local News Network
    Katie Mercer is currently the director of social media for Glacier Media Group and she's also the vice president of content for the Local News...
    Read More
  • Lita Nadebah Beck
    Senior Politics Editor, The Philadelphia Inquirer
    Lita Nadebah Beck is the equity issues editor for an Arizona Republic team covering housing affordability and insecurity, K-12 education and child well-being, consumer protection...
    Read More
  • Briana O’Higgins
    Chief of Staff, KERA
    Briana O'Higgins is Chief of Staff at KERA. She has a graduate certificate from the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine, and a...
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