Less than two months ago, we had the tremendous privilege to announce Open Matter, a series of four design thinking and business model innovation bootcamps at leading journalism schools offered to for-profit news organizations. In partnership with Google News Lab and News Media Alliance, we’ll accept at least 20 organizations and 120 individuals the opportunity to attend, tuition-free, these three-day workshops in an effort to provide tools for discovering and creating more sustainable models for local news.
Today, I’m equally excited to actually announce which remarkable organizations have made it through our competitive application process to earn a coveted slot at our very first Open Matter Bootcamp in New York City. April 23–25, they will gather at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, to collaborate, experiment, immerse in new process and methods, and emerge with fresh perspectives and skills to take back home and apply to some of the most challenging problems in local news.
Without further ado, here are the seven teams who will join us at CUNY:
Newsday, The Long Island Newspaper, based in Melville, New York
The nation’s largest suburban daily newspaper will be sending a team of seven leaders and front-line contributors, spanning content, tech, design, and audience. Their recent efforts in data journalism, new products like Feed Me TV, along with their continued dedication to the communities throughout Suffolk and Nassau County, show considerable promise.
Spirited Media, including Billy Penn, the Incline, and Denverite
People in media talk about younger audiences all the time. Spirited Media was created to provide local news to them. With Billy Penn (Philadelphia), the Incline (Pittsburgh), and Denverite (Denver, obviously), the team behind Spirited Media is building a model for local news upstarts that could transform how it’s made and consumed. We’re thrilled to welcome their four-person leadership team.
The Journal News/LoHud.com, part of the USA Today Network
Serving Rockland, Westchester, and Putnam counties, LoHud.com is a key voice in the many and varied communities north of New York City. A team of four spanning engagement, digital, editorial, and storytelling will join us in hopes of finding fuel for new experiences targeted to a mobile audience across new reporting channels and approaches.
W42ST Magazine, serving Hell’s Kitchen
There’s no contest for which publication has the shortest journey to our venue — W42ST is just down the street. An emerging and quickly growing magazine and hyperlocal news provider, W24ST is resolutely focused on Hell’s Kitchen. Hyperlocal publishing remains an intriguing place to dig for new models and exciting forms of engagement that can influence the entire industry. Their team of five joining us includes the entire leadership of the organization, and we’re excited to welcome them.
Lee Enterprises, including the Billings Gazette and Wisconsin State Journal
When we first announced Open Matter NYC, we didn’t expect to welcome folks from Montana and Wisconsin — but we’re thrilled to see them here. Lee Enterprises has shown a commitment to innovating in digital across their broad, midwestern and Rockies-based portfolio. Their team of six bridges product, design, tech, and editorial, and we’re excited for their potential for impact when they get home.
Times Union, serving the New York Capital Region
With a history stretching back to 1857, Times Union has covered the area surrounding Albany well throughout tremendous change, now covering the entire four-county Capital Region. Part of Hearst since 1924, the paper recently became digital-first, print-second, and the six-person, multidisciplinary team behind that initiative will represent the publication at Open Matter.
Luminary Media, serving the arts and culture of the Hudson Valley
Luminary began in 1993 with Chronogram, a black and white zine covering arts and culture throughout the Hudson Valley. Now a leading regional-interest publication, they’ve added three other magazines and are about to launch a digital-only newsroom to provide investigative, policy-influencing original reporting in their region.
What an amazing crew. I’m inspired writing about them — and can only imagine working with them in the same room. It’s only fitting we start in New York, as our venue is the beautiful CUNY Graduate School of Journalism located in the former New York Herald-Tribune building. And that’s because the Herald-Tribune provides a hopeful story in the reinvention of local news. In the 1960s, the paper, like so many have over time, shut down due to market and competitive forces. But from the ashes of the Herald-Tribune rose New York Magazine, one of the most vital and essential local publications in the country: brash, topical, and fiercely focused on what New Yorkers care about and unconcerned with readers from elsewhere.
Here’s to supporting the invigoration of some incredible institutions and the development of the next great set of local news businesses.
Open Matter is a series of bootcamps offered through an open application process to for-profit local news organizations of all kinds. To learn more and apply, read the announcement of the opportunity. If you have questions, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org!