I shuttered my own news startup. Here’s what journalism should learn from my experience. (page 3)

Closing Raleigh Convergence

I timed the end of Raleigh Convergence with when it was time to pay annual bills and when annual corporate memberships were complete.

It was important to take care of the communities that had cared for Raleigh Convergence by informing them on a phased basis. This communication strategy was effective because I was able to anticipate questions before announcing the closure publicly.

Informing people went in this order:

1) Close professional contacts and Converging Stories steering committee: People who helped shape Raleigh Convergence in one way or another deserved to learn about the decision first. This raw announcement was the most emotional, and their feedback helped shape how I framed the ending of Raleigh Convergence’s story.

2) People with a financial interest in Raleigh Convergence:  Businesses with unused ad packages were informed and given refunds.

    • Businesses with upcoming promotions were informed and given options to use their ads in the remaining spots available or be refunded.
    • Corporate members, who had been informed months before that April would be the end of corporate membership, were informed how their membership would be handled up to April 1.
    • Individual members were informed and annual members were given the option for partial refunds on request. I opened up a Calendly link to schedule any conversations.

3) Newsletter subscribers: The most loyal and engaged audience received a note on why Raleigh Convergence would stop publishing in the next week. I included details of how I would be handling unused ad packages and memberships.

4) General audiences: Social media, specifically Instagram, was published last.

There are things I would have handled differently at launch, but I wouldn’t change anything about how I stopped publishing. I only received positive feedback about Raleigh Convergence and how it was handled.

However, there are ongoing questions of what happens with Raleigh Convergence: How to archive? What place does a three-year publication, during a pandemic, have in the greater record of history? That’s a question I’m still figuring out.

The wins that worked for me, though, can be applied to others who were in the shoes I was in at my start.

Next chapter

"I shuttered my own news startup. Here’s what journalism should learn from my experience." table of contents

  1. I shuttered my own news startup. Here’s what journalism should learn from my experience.
  2. What sustainability looked like for me, and when it changed:
  3. Closing Raleigh Convergence
  4. Operational lessons for the industry
  5. Insight: Events are journalism
  6. Insight: Let community members into your journalism
  7. Insight: Rethink the news article as the best way to deliver journalism
  8. Insight: Adopt cycles of engagement