Six news organizations will participate in the American Press Institute’s live events sprint program, a five-month cohort aimed at helping news organizations design and market live events within their communities. This initiative serves alumni of the Table Stakes Local News Transformation Program, which 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.

The API team will lead the participating news organizations through an interactive, hands-on sprint to teach them how to design successful live events that bolster community engagement, build community trust, drive revenues and boost organizational resilience. 

The goal of the sprint is to meet the needs of the Table Stakes alumni community. The API team created this custom-tailored program based on the feedback of the Table Stakes alumni network and API’s organizational expertise and focus on community engagement, revenue, inclusion and civic discourse

During the sprint, the news organizations will learn how to design an engaging session, find the right space, ensure seamless logistics, create partnerships, market the event and explore revenue options to support a sustainable events strategy. API is also assembling a team of industry coaches who will help API guide participants through new concepts and frameworks as they develop an events playbook and strategy that serves their larger organizational goals.

A photo from zoom with members of the Live Events sprint cohort during a virtual session on Feb.5

Members of the cohort met for a kickoff session on Feb. 5

Congratulations to the six organizations that will participate in the program:

“As a nonprofit organization focused on the Latino immigrant community in North Carolina, we value civic engagement focused on addressing our audiences’ most pressing issues,”  said Walter Gómez, co-founder and managing editor of Enlace Latino NC. “The skills and knowledge gained from the program coaches and other participants’ experiences will help us optimize future events and spaces of expression for our community.  It’s also important for us to learn how to successfully find sponsors and partners to help finance our events.”

Headshots of Live Events sprint industry coaches: Jon Cohn, Samantha Melbourneweaver, Najja Parker; and instructors: Nathan Edmondson, Leah Gesouras, Brittany Schock, Candice Springer

Teams will be supported by coaches (top row, from left to right): Jon Cohn, Samantha Melbourneweaver, Najja Parker; and instructors (bottom row, from left to right): Nathan Edmondson, Leah Gesouras, Brittany Schock, Candice Springer

The participants will receive expert coaching from news leaders:

API is also inviting four guest instructors to provide expertise at cohort-wide sessions: 

“Events are a great way for local news organizations to build community and bring their journalism to audiences in an interactive setting,” said Emily Ristow, API’s director of local news transformation. “We’re excited to see how these organizations will design experiences that build community and  develop sustainable strategies that serve their organization’s larger goals.”

The API team and coaches will work closely with each news team to help them plan and hold at least one in-person event that can be considered a prototype for future events in a three-part series during the program.

“Events bring journalism to life, because they provide a fresh way for us to interact with our communities. Whether it’s a fireside chat with a local politician on state issues or a celebratory panel highlighting Black businesses in an underserved neighborhood, live events can create vital — and even fun — spaces for us to listen to our communities and facilitate important conversations,” said Najja Parker, Black Culture news and video correspondent at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’m looking forward to supporting news teams as they learn more about the impact of live events and how to incorporate them into their newsroom strategies.”

The sprint program is 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.  


We support local and community-based media through research, programs and products that foster healthy, responsive and resilient news organizations. We envision 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.

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