Webinar: Inside 3 innovative local news broadcast projects: membership programs, integrating data reporting, and custom feedback platforms

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Watch the video recording | Graham Media Group presentation | ITVS presentation

The first Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge grant recipients in North America are putting funding to work developing sustainable business models, diversifying revenue streams, and increasing audience engagement.

In this series of webinars from Local Media Association and Google News Initiative, grant recipients will provide details of how they approach innovative projects with new ideas in the industry, the success they’ve seen so far, and lessons for other local media.

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 | 11 a.m. EST / 8 a.m. PST

Leaders from three TV broadcast news projects supported by the GNI Innovation Challenge — Graham Media Group, ABC Owned Television Stations and ITVS — have launched unique audience-centered initiatives that support sustainability and diversity in reporting — including membership programs, data-rich journalism, and feedback platforms.

Graham Media Group’s Membership for Broadcast Project set out to demonstrate that local broadcasters can develop digital audience relationships into a sustainable business model that offsets expected declines in retransmission and advertising dollars. Its “freemium-to-paid” membership programs deepen engagement and build an audience-based revenue model through user funnels, which will allow the local TV stations to maintain their leading role in local news. With two pilot programs launched at stations in Detroit and Jacksonville, the project is on target to achieving membership goals in 2020. Panelists: Catherine Badalamente, vice president and chief innovation officer, and Dustin Block, audience development lead. Graham Media Group presentation

ABC Owned Television Stations have piloted a systematic and holistic orientation around public data, starting with stations in California, in an effort to expand data journalism from a primarily project-based and text-based activity to a mainstream, daily core of the newsrooms. Evaluating the full public data ecosystem across the state has given reporters unprecedented ability to extract the most important data points to deliver information in ways that can make a real difference in the lives of local consumers in hundreds of under-covered communities. Bringing the content to life on video through an innovative new data studio, the project also support the creation of hyperlocal digital news products. Panelists: Anna Robertson, vice president of content and partner innovation, and John L. Kelly, project manager director of the data journalism program. Read more about this project in our profile: Data journalism becomes daily practice at ABC Owned Television Stations

The project from Independent Television Service (ITVS) helps local public media stations better serve, engage, and gain support from communities of color through a new feedback platform. Starting with a handful of stations that are collaborating with ITVS on local content and civic participation strategies centered on criminal justice issues, ITVS has developed a model with the potential for national scale, serving public media’s diversity mission and local stations’ need to expand their revenue bases through increased membership. Panelists: Eric Martin, senior strategist, and Grace Anglin, research & evaluation director. ITVS presentation  

Moderated by Sarah Hartley, recipients and applicants manager for Google News Initiative Innovation Challenges, broadcaster leaders will share what they’ve learned about user funnels for consumer revenue, integrating and contextualizing data and diverse sources into newscasts for better reporting, as well as how these projects contribute to local news sustainability at their organizations.

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