API Summit: Sustainability Through Listening

On April 30, 2020, API hosted “Sustainability Through Listening: Reader Revenue in the Wake of COVID-19,” a virtual Thought Leader Summit that convened stakeholders to discuss how news organizations can build deeper relationships with their audiences through listening — and in doing so, lay a foundation for more direct support from audiences in the form of subscriptions, memberships and donations. Held against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, when most news organizations have experienced a surge in traffic and subscriptions from audiences eager for information, the discussions took on a greater sense of urgency as news outlets are looking to keep those new audiences engaged and maintain the “COVID bump.”

The summit brought together journalists, editors and managers from a range of news outlets, as well as experts at the intersection of community engagement, audience development, business and technology. Given the stay-at-home and social distancing measures imposed by the pandemic, the 2-hour summit was hosted via the teleconferencing platform Zoom, instead of over the course of a day in a physical location, which is the norm for API’s Thought Leader Summits.

API will host a “part two” virtual discussion in early June, which will take a deeper dive into topics that garnered the most interest from attendees. We will share written resources that are based on insights from both discussions here.

Participating organizations include, among others:


6AM City


America Amplified


Arizona Daily Star


Bangor Daily News


Block Club Chicago


Borealis Philanthropy


Carolina Public Press


Chicago Reader


City Bureau


Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism


DCist


Democracy Fund


Democrat and Chronicle/Gannett


Documented


EdNC.org


Graham Media Group


Greenpointers


GroundSource


Hearken


Houston Chronicle


Houston Defender Network


Inasmuch Foundation


Independence Public Media Foundation


Internews


KPCC


Lenfest Institute for Journalism


Markkula Center for Applied Ethics


McClatchy


Membership Puzzle Project


MinnPost


News Media Alliance


News Revenue Hub


North Carolina Local News Lab Fund


Northwestern University


Outlier/MuckRock


Pico


PRX


PublicInput.com


Rivard Report


Robert R. McCormick Foundation


Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


San Francisco Chronicle


Santa Cruz Local


Scalawag


Seattle Times


Solutions Journalism Network


Southern California News Group


Subtext


Temple University


Texas Tribune Revenue Lab


The American Journalism Project


The Compass Experiment


The Day


The Devil Strip


The GroundTruth Project


The Mendocino Voice


The Other Wave


The Philadelphia Inquirer


The Pilot


San Francisco Chronicle


Thomas Jefferson University


Trusting News


USA TODAY NETWORK


WCPO


WDET


WHYY


Wyncote Foundation

 

The “Sustainability Through Listening: Reader Revenue in the Wake of COVID-19” virtual summit is supported by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. It builds on previous work API has done to help cultivate community listening in newsrooms, and promote news organizations’ long-term sustainability through reader revenue. The virtual summit was led by Cole Goins, a community engagement consultant and engagement lead at Journalism + Design, and author of the API report “How a culture of listening strengthens reporting and relationships.”

For more information about this or API’s other Thought Leader Summits, contact Kevin Loker, API’s director of program operations and partnerships, at kevin.loker@pressinstitute.org.