Open Matter rolls on! Our series of four design thinking and business model innovation bootcamps kicks off in earnest at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism on Monday, and we’re buzzing in anticipation to connect with and coach the incredible publications that are participating.
Next up will be the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism, the birthplace of modern journalism education. It’s a fitting venue and an incredible partner, located in the near-geographic center of the lower 48 states and the almost-exact center of Missouri. From May 7 to 9, six more incredible organizations will gather 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 Mizzou:
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, based in St. Louis, Missouri
Formed in 1878 when Joseph Pulitzer merged two St. Louis papers, the Post-Dispatch has been a stalwart of superior local journalism for generations (there’s a reason Pulitzer’s name adorns the most prestigious journalism awards). In recent years, its digital version, STLToday.com, has been host to some impressive forays into data journalism and enterprise service journalism. The Post-Dispatch’s team for Open Matter represents reporting, design, development, digital strategy, and business.
The Dallas Morning News
For some time, Texas has been the fastest-growing state in the US, both in absolute and relative terms. It’s a vast and complicated place. And the Dallas Morning News has been critical to understanding one of its biggest cities for 133 years. I’m really excited to welcome the Morning News to Open Matter. We’ve engaged the paper’s parent company, AH Belo, as a media partner of Matter’s since early 2015 and have had the chance to work with several leaders there over the last three years. That makes us all the more excited to directly collaborate with leaders from the paper itself in editorial, digital, analytics, and retention at Open Matter.
Gatehouse Media, publisher of 130 daily newspapers
My first job as a reporter was at the Holland Sentinel, a daily in the southwest of my home state Michigan. Gatehouse owns the Sentinel now, along with 129 other daily newspapers, including their most recent additions, the Austin American-Statesman in Texas and the Akron Beacon Journal in Ohio. Gatehouse also owns 640 other community publications and 540 local market websites. Their publishing network is extensive, deep, and spans the entire country. We’re delighted to welcome their Austin-based Open Matter team.
Schurz Communications, based in South Bend, Indiana
Schurz publishes vital newspapers in Indiana, Maryland, South Dakota, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Their Open Matter team carries representatives from all those states save only Maryland. While continuing to support the communities they cover, Schurz also has an active innovation department pursuing new revenue-generating activity both digital and analog (a basketball box for Indiana Hoosier fans!). They’ll be represented by editorial, digital, marketing, reporting, and innovation leaders at Open Matter.
TownNews, a Lee Enterprises company
Look under the hood at more than 1,600 local newspaper websites, and you’ll find Blox CMS from TownNews. It’s quite possible that no other single piece of software powers as much of the local news ecosystem. That means that as and when TownNews finds new revenue opportunities it can enable through its platform, they can cascade positively through the entire industry. The Moline, Illinois-based team for Open Matter covers revenue, product, tech, and business development, and we’re thrilled to have them.
The Virginian-Pilot, based in Norfolk, Virginia
The Virginian-Pilot has long been a critical piece of the news landscape in the south, recognized both for a tradition of excellence in design and reporting and of speaking truth to power (a Pulitzer-winning anti-lynching editorial in 1929 and another in 1960 in favor of desegregation and the end of Jim Crow). They continue to serve the large and diverse Hampton Roads metro area, where Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina collide. We’re honored to welcome their team of four from editorial and digital to Open Matter.
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 tuition-free 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!