Executive Training Program for Community News Publishers Launched by The Investigative News Network

Funded by Knight Foundation, the event will be hosted at the Knight Digital Media Center at USC Annenberg, October 18 – 20, 2012.

Los Angeles, Calif. – Community news publishers will get expert help tackling business and market challenges through an executive training program from the Investigative News Network (INN).

The Community Journalism Executive Training (CJET) program, to be held October 18 – 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, Calif. and hosted at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, is made possible by support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The $100,000 grant allows INN to produce the program and fund attendance for 40 executives from journalism producers around the country. The attendees will be joined by 10 mentors, entrepreneurs and executives with experience in running successful technology, media and digital news operations.

“Informed and engaged communities need an entire ecosystem of news providers, including the local sites that have emerged in recent years to provide important coverage,” said John Bracken, director of Knight Foundation’s journalism and media innovation program. “We hope that this training will strengthen their approach to their businesses, so that they can continue to be vital voices in their communities.”

The executive training will focus on the practical elements of building sustainable community journalism organizations. Experts and mentors will lead sessions on topics from fundraising to business operations, and technology to community engagement.

“The pathway to sustainability for independent newsrooms, particularly those in or just beyond the startup phase, is extremely challenging,” said Kevin Davis, the CEO of INN. INN is a 501(c)(3) organization that supports its membership of 60 nonprofit, non-partisan newsrooms that produce investigative and public interest journalism. “Providing focused, hands-on business and operational training is the next logical step in our education program for journalism entrepreneurs, many of whom are running organizations for the first time,” Davis said.

The Knight Digital Media Center at USC Annenberg, a leader in training digital journalists and the community leaders that support them, will co-develop and produce the program. Organizers will draw on lessons the center has learned in teaching effective and efficient journalism business models in their work and at the Block-by-Block News Entrepreneur Super Camp program over the last year.

“Our work during the last six months with 12 independent Super Camp publishers, supported by the Patterson Foundation, has shown that high-touch mentoring and coaching by business and revenue experts produces results,” said Vikki Porter, director of the Knight Digital Media Center at USC Annenberg. “We think the executive training program will show how focused business skills and strategic planning can result in sustaining revenue streams for startup news organizations.”

The program is open to all member organizations affiliated with INN and the Block-by- Block initiative. Organizations interested in applying for the program should refer to the INN website for updates.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.

About the Investigative News Network

INN is a growing consortium of nonprofit news organizations in North America that produce nonpartisan investigative and public service journalism for local, regional and national audiences. It is composed of more than 60 independent news organizations that create long-form and ongoing stories to keep communities informed on the issues they most care about. For more information, go to www.inn.org.

About the Knight Digital Media Center at USC Annenberg

The Knight Digital Media Center is dedicated to helping good journalists and good journalism succeed in the 21st century by providing training for New Media at all levels – from the traditional journalist making the transition to New Media, to the New Media journalist seeking to improve critical thinking and beat reporting skills, to the newsroom leader managing change in a dynamic era.