FAQ for The Poynter Local News Innovation Program

February 13, 2017
Category: Tech & Tools

The Poynter Local News Innovation Program is a year-long project designed to help your organization make the transition to sustainable digital publishing. A project of the Knight-Lenfest Newsroom Initiative, Poynter’s Local News Innovation Program will select up to 20 media organizations for its 2017 program. The application deadline is March 13.

Here are the details of the program:

Who can apply? 

The Poynter project is open to all U.S. newspaper organizations, regardless of size, geography or ownership model.

What is the cost of the program?

The program pays for all tuition and coaching fees, as well as for one dinner and all lunches during the two in-person sessions. Participants will pay for their travel, lodging, ground transportation, meals outside the sessions and related expenses for the in-person gatherings. Participants also agree to make investments and reallocate resources in order to accomplish the initiatives they choose to pursue at the start of the project.

What are the requirements for joining the program?

Organizations selected for the program must:

  • Agree that the publisher, head of editorial and two others will participate directly in the project and all of its sessions, both in-person and online.
  • Be willing to sign a Participant Commitment that outlines specific expectations and commitments for participation in the project.
  • Commit to defining specific digital performance initiatives at the beginning of the project, making these an enterprise-wide priority and working wholeheartedly to achieve their objectives.
  • Be willing to change organizational and individual mindsets and behaviors in order to meet the objectives of their chosen performance initiatives and achieve the digital Tables Stakes for local news enterprises

What exactly are the “Table Stakes?”

The seven Table Stakes for digital publishing are the baseline competencies that a news organization must possess in order to compete and succeed in a digital news environment.

  •    Serve targeted audiences with targeted content.
  •    Publish on the platforms used by your targeted audiences.
  •    Produce and publish continuously to match your audiences’ lives.
  •    Funnel occasional users to habitual, valuable and paying loyalists.
  •    Diversify and grow the ways you earn revenue from the audiences you build.
  •    Partner to expand your capacity and capabilities.
  • Drive audience growth and profitability from a “mini-publisher” perspective.

How will Poynter’s Local News Innovation Program work?

Beginning with a three-day, in-person gathering at Poynter from May 22-24, leaders of participating newsrooms will learn about the seven Table Stakes for digital publishing — the baseline competencies that a news organization must possess in order to compete and succeed in a digital news environment.

Participants next will assess their organization’s current gaps against the Table Stakes, and then they will create a series of “From-To” statements that imagine how their organization will be once it has achieved the Tables Stakes and transformed.

Next participants will identify one or more performance-improvement initiatives that they believe will propel them, over the course of the project, to close their digital gaps and grow their digital audience and revenue.

During the year following the gathering at Poynter, the project will continue with a series of four online seminars. Each seminar will meet once a week for four weeks. Participants will share their progress, learn more about the Table Stakes and receive instruction in tools for improving their digital performance.

The online seminars will take place in July, October, January and March. The participants also will receive coaching from a project leader at specified points in the program.

The project will conclude at Poynter with a two-day gathering of all participants in the spring of 2018.

The deadline for applications is March 13.

Questions? Go to poy.nu/localinnovation or contact us at seminars@poynter.org.