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How Illinois Newsroom fosters conversation with News & Brews

Kristin Walters of Illinois Newsroom breaks down essential logistics to consider when planning in-person events.

In-person events are an effective way to deepen a newsroom’s relationship with its community. These events also tend to be resource intensive. That’s why Kristin Walters of Illinois Newsroom decided to create and share a how-to resource that explains how she organizes the regional journalism collaborative’s News & Brews event series (panel discussions and community conversations based on long-form reporting).

As the News & Brews Event Guide explains, each successful News & Brews event accomplished the following:

Connected community members to important resources in education, health and politics
Deepened community knowledge around public media reporting
Inspired follow-up reporting
Sparked positive actions in communities
Brought in underwriting support from partner businesses
Reached non-traditional public media audiences
Reinforced relationships with current public media audiences
Increased transparency of editorial process
Gave platforms to community voices
Promoted the value of public media in the community

Beyond event goals and outcomes, the guide breaks down essential logistics to consider, with everything from venue to partners to follow-up and staffing. There are also several key pro tips, including:

Always ask yourself what you want your audience to do AFTER they leave the event and design content around that goal. Do you want them to vote in an election, do you want them to sign up for a newsletter, do you want them to advocate for new media practices? You are empowering people with information, so what do you expect them to do with it?