The Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media provides current and future media leaders with the tools and analysis to succeed in a rapidly changing environment.
The UNC-Knight Foundation Table Stakes Newsroom Initiative helps advance media organizations through digital transformation and development of sustainable business models.
UNC-Knight Foundation Table Stakes Newsroom Initiative
The UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media’s Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media (CISLM) is a proud partner in the UNC-Knight Foundation Table Stakes Newsroom Initiative. The yearlong program helps media organizations identify challenges and opportunities, as well as create sustainable solutions to survive and thrive in the digital age.
The program is modeled after the Knight-Lenfest Newsroom Initiative, which is a collaborative effort designed to help advance digital transformation at local and major metropolitan news organizations across the country. The program is based on the core principles used to create the Media Transformation Challenge (formerly the Sulzberger Program at Columbia Journalism School) that has helped approximately 250 participants deliver major performance and improvement to media organizations such as The New York Times, ABC News, the Associated Press, National Public Radio, as well as a number of local market organizations.
The yearlong program includes in-person meetings approximately every three months held on the UNC campus, during which participants work with expert coaches and update one another on progress with their performance challenges.
Coaches guide participating organizations through the program to reach the following outcomes:
- Provide a pathway, based on the principles modeled after the Knight-Temple Table Stakes effort that was piloted in 2015-16 with four major metro newspapers, to transform their media organization into an audience-focused, digital-first, market-leading and sustainable enterprise. (Learn more about the seven Table Stakes here.)
- Define specific performance initiatives that will significantly advance digital transformation and successfully achieve identified objectives over the course of the year.
- Identify and address the underlying skill, role, workflow, technology and culture changes required to achieve the objectives of the chosen performance initiatives.
- Develop the individual skills and organizational capabilities needed to continue the work beyond the project, using the tools and methodologies of performance-driven change.
- Develop a peer network of news organizations to draw on shared experiences, approaches, tools, technology and other resources.
- Late August: Applications open
- August - September: Read through the interview and apply; applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We highly encourage you to schedule an initial meeting with CISLM Director Erica Perel before submitting your application.
- September 30: Final deadline for applications
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Social media growth, valuable performance metrics and a radical change in how stories are sourced are among the recent wins that this year’s Table Stakes participants have seen since their initial meetings in December 2021.
“It was really beneficial getting to talk to people who are active in the field because it gave me a glimpse of what a career in journalism would really be like.”
Engagement journalism all comes down to finding the right puzzle pieces: EdNC increased its established audience by 142 percent in 2020 and continued to grow in 2021. Now, the outlet is sharing its insights with the rest of the news industry.
Bridging the divides between the newsroom and communities cannot be done in only weeks or months. For UNC Table Stakes participant Knoxville News Sentinel, that shift takes many forms.
Members of Peletah Ministries are reviving a community news organization, The New Bern Post. The Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media helped in education and training in the foundations of reliable, fact-based journalism.