WNA Community Newspaper Forum scheduled for October 21

Running a community newspaper comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities. During this forum, speakers will discuss some of these topics and offer best practices and resources.

The program, which is free to WNA members, will run from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 21. Sign up below.

Forum Calendar

1:30 p.m.


Greetings from WNA Executive Director Beth Bennett and WNA President Gregg Walker, editor of The Lakeland Times and The Northwoods River News.


Building Links: 6 Steps to Organizing a Community Forum

In order to thrive in today’s environment, newspapers must make essential connections with their audiences. Community forums on issues of local importance can help build these important relationships while expanding your audience, encouraging civil discourse, and building trust. In this session, Tom Silvestri, Director of the Relevance Project and former newspaper editor who led 78 of these community discussions, offers an overview of implementing the concept in six easy steps.
Tom silvestri, Director of the Relevance Project and former editor of Richmond (Virginia.) Timetable-Expedition

2:30 p.m.

Community Funded Journalism: Philanthropic Options for Newspapers and Tips for Success

As newspapers strive to provide their communities with an essential public service, philanthropy-funded journalism can offer a promising path to sustainability. Julia Hunter, director of membership and communications for the WNA and co-founder of the nonprofit news agency Chronicle of Hoptown, will provide an overview of the various philanthropic options available to local for-profit newspapers, including the WNA’s Community News Fund. She will also discuss the strategies that are crucial in making this approach a success.
Julia Hunter, Director of Membership and Communications of the WNA; co-founder and engagement editor at Hoptown (Ky.) the Chronicle

3:10 p.m.

Use your website to gain subscribers and increase your income

Printing is not dead, but printing alone does not cut it anymore. To survive, you must engage with your entire community. In this session, Patrick Schless, CTO for the Missouri-based company Lewis County Press, discuss the importance of expanding your digital footprint – and why it doesn’t have to be as long or complicated as you think. Schless will also discuss the Community Journalism Project, a mission-based initiative from the creators of Workbench and Lewis County Press which offers grants to help community newspapers grow and build engagement and digital revenues.
Patrick schless, Chief Technology Officer, Lewis County Press

3:50 p.m.

Build trust and grow your audience through meaningful engagement

What is “public engagement”? (Tip: It’s not when someone clicks on a story or likes a Facebook post.) This session will explore how publishers in small communities can build trust and grow their audience by implementing meaningful engagement strategies. . It will review best practices and provide valuable resources to help change your newsroom mindset and boost engagement efforts.
Julia Hunter, Director of Membership and Communications of the WNA; co-founder and engagement editor at Hoptown (Ky.) the Chronicle

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