Call for applications is now closed.

Americans use news and information to make decisions and thrive. But local news has other roles that complement gathering the facts. Media can also be a force for social connection, a convener of people across differences and a facilitator for what to do after the facts are laid bare. Driven by this idea, we will host our next API Local News Summit to identify and advance solutions that help news leaders embrace and expand their convening and facilitation power — both to improve their community and support their overall resilience.

Now is the time to experiment, as we reflect on the social isolation and other societal ills worsened or exposed by the COVID pandemic — and recognize that communities, including those in rural America, are willing to support media in new ways such as with events. Too much digital social interaction and limited in-person connection come with substantial challenges. And facts alone don’t steer people away from misinformation and toward truth.

How might embracing the role of media as convener present new opportunities to build both trust and sustainability? And how else might it improve a community’s civic health?

We’ve found local news leaders serving rural areas have some inspiring experiments on this front, and we are excited to do our own convening to help them learn and share with like-minded peers, and to imagine what else is possible.

Request to attend the API Local News Summit on Rural Journalism, Community and Sustainability

The API Local News Summit on Rural Journalism, Community and Sustainability is invitation-based, but we want to grow the network of those engaging with their communities and fostering connections beyond the news cycle. Many work in different mediums or silos, unaware of others who are experimenting with new ways of serving as public forums or social connectors, supporting the well-being of their community and attracting new financial support in the process. If you have ideas about how news leaders in rural areas can creatively steward resources to bring together people for a shared cause — and especially if you are working on this yourself — we’d like to extend this call for participation in our summit.

The API Local News Summit on Rural Journalism, Community and Sustainability is scheduled for June 11-12 in Tulsa, OK, and is specifically designed for leaders making decisions about how they engage their community and contribute to civic discourse.

This summit will gather approximately 60 media leaders and non-journalism experts in Tulsa.  We are open to people with various responsibilities and titles from commercial and nonprofit media of all platforms: newspapers daily or weekly, independent online publishers, nonprofit news sites, public media, TV, newsletter hosts and other information-providers serving rural communities. We believe the local and community news industry deserves a community of practice across media types, united in the belief that the press must effectively connect with and engage as members of their communities, invested in the community’s future, and not only journalists separated from the day-to-day.

We expect the participants in this summit to care about “news deserts” not only because City Hall should be covered (it must), but also because local media is well-suited to be conveners and to support infrastructure that makes the area a better place to live, too.

Many API partners and others inspire us as conveners in their communities contributing to the public good in this way. It happens when:

If these or similar efforts speak to you or describe your work, please consider this opportunity.

Request an invitation for the remaining spots at our summit via this form by Wednesday, May 15, at 11:59 p.m. ET. API has a limited amount of travel funds to help offset participation costs, allowing those invited to request up to $750 to cover travel and lodging.

We are grateful to Microsoft’s Democracy Forward program as a Travel Support Sponsor, helping to make this API Local News Summit accessible to a diverse range of news leaders representing the breadth of U.S. media serving rural areas.

In the coming months, expect more from API on local news as community convener and connector via our Need to Know newsletter and our website.

Sponsors or funders help make API Local News Summits accessible and equitable and enable insights to extend beyond the summit room. For this event, we are grateful for support from Microsoft’s Democracy Forward program, Report for America and other donors. If you’re also interested in supporting this summit or API’s wider focus on Community Engagement and Trust, please email

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