The American Press Institute awarded grants to six local news organizations participating in the live events sprint program for Table Stakes Local News Transformation Program alumni. Each participating organization received $5,000 to support the community event series they are creating as part of this cohort.

The Table Stakes Local News Transformation Program advances innovations in local journalism through intensive change-management training for news leaders. API manages a network of more than 200 Table Stakes alumni organizations, helping journalists and news leaders stay current on best practices from across the industry.

Since February of this year, API has led these six news organizations in an interactive, hands-on five-month cohort to help them design and market live events within their communities. API assembled a team of industry coaches who guided participants through new concepts and frameworks. The grants will help participating organizations host events that cultivate productive community engagement, build community trust, and strengthen their revenue and resilience. 

“Throughout the live event sprint program, we’ve had the opportunity to dedicate time and energy in a collaborative environment, to answer a question that has been a priority at The Assembly since our launch: How do we engage in real time with our readers?” said Paige Ladisic, The Assembly’s director of product & growth. “We’re grateful to our coach and to API for providing us with the resources, funding and advising that have propelled our event series from a spark of an idea to a real thing.”

Each organization received funding to support the following work:

  • The Assembly NC will host Power and Place, a series of four regional events starting in Wilmington, North Carolina. These events will address crucial topics that significantly impact the people living and working in those areas. The events will take the form of roundtable discussions, with a live audience and Q&A session, followed by a reception where attendees can meet the panelists and network with each other.
  • Blue Ridge Public Radio will hold the first of three free, Asheville-themed trivia events. These events will provide a gathering place for curious, creative and community-informed audiences and further the reach of its news work with a contemporary, engaging format.
  • Boise State Public Radio will host a panel discussion on youth mental health in Idaho. The event is part of a series focusing on elevating conversations around community topics and offering real-time resources to attendees and their families.
  • Enlace Latino NC will host two community events in Henderson and Wallace, North Carolina, aimed at increasing civic engagement, enhancing community understanding of governmental processes, improving emergency preparedness and response, and strengthening relationships between Hispanic/Latine community members and key stakeholders. 
  • Texas Metro News will host an event series focused on empowering women and raising awareness about critical issues such as women’s health. The series will include a reception, a listening session and an informative workshop.
  • Vermont Public will host a community picnic in St. Albans, Vermont. In addition to food and family-friendly activities, the picnic will feature multiple tables with reporters hosting listening sessions to ascertain what topics and issues are important to that community that will help shape election coverage. Community events will also take place in Rutland and Orleans counties.

“Through this sprint, the six organizations learned that live events are a platform for them to connect with their communities,” said Emily Ristow, API’s director of local news transformation. “These grants will help them hold events that will not only build trust within their communities but will also serve as templates for a larger event strategy that can contribute to their organization’s revenue and resiliency as they attract new sponsors and grow organizational capacity.”

The sprint program and grants are funded by The Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund, a joint initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism.

For more information, please contact Emily Ristow, director of local news transformation, at If you are interested in potentially participating in a similar program, please fill out the form below.  


About the American Press Institute

API supports local and community-based media through research, programs and products that foster healthy, responsive and resilient news organizations. API envisions an inclusive democracy and society, where communities have the news and information they need to make decisions and thrive.  API is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization affiliated with the News/Media Alliance.

About the Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund

With a focus on sustainability and equity, The Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund is designed to strengthen local journalism at scale, by supporting journalistic excellence and serving the information needs of communities. The Knight-Lenfest Fund collaborates with news organizations, leaders and communities to grow capacity and meet journalism’s technology, business, and audience realities of the future. It believes that journalism is at its best when it is of service. The Knight-Lenfest Fund is a joint venture of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism.


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