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News Leadership 2009

Instructor: KDMC Staff

Transforming News Organizations for the Digital Now

A Special Virtual Leadership Series plus two-day Guided Project Planning session

The role of the community news organization must expand to meet the challenges of the digital environment.  To maintain their relevance, news organizations must gather online communities around news, information and user interests. To guarantee revenues to support their journalism, news leaders must foster site engagement and understand emerging revenue models for news and information.

The KDMC selected top editors and their publishers or revenue directors from 10 community news organizations to participate in a special customized series of webinars culminating in an expenses-paid two-day session designed to turn ideas into action.  This unique opportunity, underwritten by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and USC Annenberg School, highlighted the best ideas and innovations available to help shape your organization’s future.

This Virtual Leadership Series focused primarily on online networks, their growing role in communications and news consumption, and what these developments mean to established local news organizations such as newspapers. Participants in the three-part Webinar series learned best practices for:

  1. Creating online networks and gathering audiences around them
  2. Measuring their value in drawing and engaging audiences
  3. Emerging revenue models related to online audiences.

This unique Virtual Leadership Series - developed in partnership with News University, a project of the Poynter Institute funded by the Knight Foundation— began in mid-March 2009.

During the webinar series, participants received more intensive online learning and coaching aimed at helping them develop demonstration projects that serve the news needs of their communities online while promising audience growth and potential revenue.

Following successful completion of the Virtual Leadership Series, participants attended a special workshop in July in Los Angeles where they finished their plans for implementing their projects under the coaching of recognized digital experts and entrepreneurs.

Participants were competitively selected.


Arturo Duran
Chief Innovation Officer, Digital First Media

Amy Gahran
Senior Editor of OaklandLocal.com, Digital Media Consultant

Michele McLellan
Consultant, Knight Digital Media Center, Block by Block Community News Summit

Susan Mernit
Founder, OaklandLocal.com, Social Media Consultant

Vikki Porter
Director, Knight Digital Media Center, USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism