API continues support for Table Stakes alumni with new sprint program

The American Press Institute (API) today announced that five news organizations and four coaches have been selected for the digital subscriptions growth and retention sprint program for alumni of the Table Stakes Local News Transformation Program, which advances innovations in local journalism through intensive change-management training for news leaders. 

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 recently awarded API additional funding to continue managing Table Stakes through 2023.

An image of the Table Stakes digital subscriptions alumni sprint cohort at its kickoff session.

We are thrilled to have the following news organizations in the sprint program: 

  • Detroit Free Press
  • The Keene Sentinel in New Hampshire
  • The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C.
  • Salem Statesman Journal/Eugene Register-Guard in Oregon
  • Star Tribune in Minneapolis

The goal of this program is to support these organizations as they experiment with new strategies to help add and retain digital subscribers. Expert coaches will guide the teams to apply the tools of performance-driven change as they test new concepts and workflows. API’s partners at the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education will work alongside API and the coaches to emphasize diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) throughout the programming. 

“We hear from Table Stakes alumni that they deeply value the peer-learning and coaching that the core Table Stakes program provided,” said Emily Ristow, API’s director of local news transformation. “This sprint cohort will provide that structure they crave, while also helping them solve their most pressing challenges related to digital subscriptions so that they are better equipped to serve and meet the needs of all of the communities they serve.” 

The digital subscription alumni cohort coaches, Nation Hahn (clockwise from top left), Anthony Basilio, Pat Richardson and Carlos Virgen.

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

  • Anthony Basilio, senior manager of subscriber revenue & analytics at San Diego Union-Tribune and Los Angeles Times
  • Pat Richardson, a digital innovator who was most recently with the Times Union in Albany, N.Y.)
  • Carlos Virgen, assistant managing editor for audience development at The Day

The team coaches are being guided by senior coach Nation Hahn, the director of growth for EdNC.org. Hahn has coached in different iterations of the Table Stakes program.

“We reached out to API because we knew we wanted to experiment with retention and learn from other newsrooms around the country,” said Anjanette Delgado, an executive editor at the Detroit Free Press. “The alumni sprint is the perfect answer for what’s next in our subscription growth at the Free Press.”

Table Stakes was founded in 2015 to support major metro newspapers. Since then, other iterations of the program, which are funded separately, have been created in partnership with the University of North Carolina, the Poynter Institute, and Arizona State University. The core methodology used in Table Stakes was developed by Douglas K. Smith based on his 30-plus years experience with performance-driven change.

For more information, please contact Emily Ristow, director of local news transformation, at emily.ristow@pressinstitute.org.

About the American Press Institute

The American Press Institute advances an innovative and sustainable news industry by helping publishers understand and engage audiences, grow revenue, improve public-service journalism, and succeed at organizational change. It 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.