Five news organizations and four expert coaches will participate in the American Press Institute’s Mobilizing News sprint for alumni of the Table Stakes Local News Transformation Program, which strengthens local journalism through intensive change-management training for news leaders. 

The Mobilizing News sprint for Table Stakes alumni will challenge participating teams to center community in their outreach, relationships and reporting. 

Informed by the work and efforts of community engagement practitioners such as API Director of Inclusion and Audience Growth Letrell Deshan Crittenden and Trusting News Director Joy Mayer, the sprint will support teams as they identify communities within their geographic coverage area that they have yet to connect with and build trust within. Teams will prioritize collaboration and convening to change the way they approach and participate in the communities they cover. 

At the end of this three-month program, in addition to learning tools to build trust and gather community assets, each team will have a newsroom-specific community outreach guide that details a workflow for connecting with new parts of the community. 

A screenshot of a Zoom call with sprint participants and coachesThe cohort held its first meeting on June 14.


The following news organizations will participate in the program: 

“We were impressed with the applications of these Table Stakes alumni, and we’re excited to bring this group of journalists into deeper engagement practices with their communities,” said Emily Ristow, API’s director of local news transformation. “And we aim not just to support this group and their efforts but to follow up the sprint with funding so each team can further test and iterate the listening strategies they learn while in the program.”

Photos of Carlos Virgen, Najja Parker, Elma González Lima Brandão and Jesse Wright

Left to right; cohort coaches Carlos Virgen, Najja Parker, Elma González Lima Brandão
and Jesse Wright

This year’s participants will receive weekly expert coaching from the following news professionals:

This all-star group of coaches will be led by senior coach Carlos Virgen, a previous API Table Stakes coach for the 2022 digital subscriptions sprint. Carlos is the senior managing editor of audience development for The Day and an adjunct instructor at the University of Connecticut. He is an award-winning digital journalist and strategist and a recent graduate of Poynter’s Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media. 

“This sprint is unlike ones we’ve done in the past because it’s asking teams to work on a shorter timeline,” said Kamaria Roberts, API’s deputy director of local news transformation and lead facilitator of the Mobilizing News sprint.  “It will also require teams to step away from their computers and into the communities they aim to serve, working directly with key stakeholders. Their community listening efforts will focus on building trust, meeting new sources and identifying new community assets.” 

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, which awarded API funding to continue managing Table Stakes through 2023.

For more information, please contact Emily Ristow at If you are interested in potentially participating in a similar program, please fill out this form.  

About the American Press Institute

The American Press Institute helps develop, support and sustain healthy local news organizations with a focus on civic discourse and democracy; culture and inclusion; community engagement and trust; and revenue and resilience. We believe that for democracies to thrive, people need accurate news and information about their communities, the problems of civil society and the debates over how to solve them. That requires a financially sustainable free press that reflects the diversity of American society and understands the needs of its communities. 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.

You might also be interested in: