API’s ‘Local News Ideas-to-Action Series’ to advance local governance reporting

The American Press Institute is beginning a new effort to support audience-centered accountability and government reporting, starting with a kickoff event June 17.

Through discussion, peer learning and small project funds, the Local News Ideas-to-Action Series will help news organizations learn from journalists and newsrooms prioritizing the information needs of their communities to shape reporting; develop and refine ideas through peer feedback to better reach and serve audiences; and then execute those ideas through small project funds and cohort-based learning with other grantees.

At the event, we’ll hear from three people:

  • Jimmy Gutierrez, Director of Audience for Outlier Media in Detroit, Michigan. Jimmy previously worked filling information gaps in low-wealth neighborhoods in his home city of Milwaukee through News414, a collaboration between two nonprofit newsrooms to reach residents during the initial outbreak of COVID-19. Jimmy was recognized for his work as a 2020 John S. Knight Community Impact Fellow at Stanford University. Before that he was a producer at New Hampshire Public Radio, where he contributed to multiple award-winning reporting projects.
  • Nicolás Ríos, Audience Editor of Documented in New York City. An Emmy-nominated multilingual Chilean journalist, Nicolás oversees Documented’s efforts to engage immigrant communities to produce “community-guided content,” building trusting relationships to uncover and address misinformation and meet community information needs. He previously worked as a reporter and a documentary fixer for Vice Media; as an international news reporter, senior editor and broadcaster for CNN Chile, and as a freelance reporter for BBC World Service (UK), El Mercurio (Chile) and Daily Trust (Nigeria).
  • Megan Griffith Greene, Senior Editor, Service Features at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Megan manages a team of reporters that answer reader questions, help people understand the news and apply it to their lives, and locate resources to better live in and connect to the Philadelphia region. Originally from Toronto, Megan previously worked in audience engagement, newsletters, and investigative journalism at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

After the event, journalists will have an opportunity to submit a brief project description for feedback from the American Press Institute and our three speakers. Speakers will give feedback to those who submit during an additional workshop event in July.

Following both events, API will open an application process for small project funds (up to $10,000) for newsrooms to execute on ideas. Participating news organizations will have an opportunity to share and learn from one another during this project period and insights will be shared with the broader journalism field.

“We seek to amplify and add to the creative ideas and strong models of ground-up local reporting occurring in places across the country,” said Amy L. Kovac-Ashley, vice president and senior director at the American Press Institute. “The Ideas-to-Action Series is intended to help journalists learn about some of those models, connect with like-minded peers and then apply that learning in service of their communities.”

More information and future updates will be available on the Local News Ideas-to-Action project page. Sign up here to attend the first event.

For questions about the series, please contact Andrew Rockway at andrew.rockway@pressinstitute.org.

Foundations or philanthropists interested in seeing more news organizations pursue this kind of local government and accountability journalism are also invited to support and scale the effort. For more information on the Local News Ideas-to-Action Fund that powers the small project funds, contact Kevin Loker at kevin.loker@pressinstitute.org.