News events can provide an opportunity for news organizations to both engage audiences more deeply and add a potential revenue stream to their business portfolio, but they must think of these events as part of their journalism and must think strategically about how it fits into the portfolio.
Live eventsNews enterprises, particularly those bound by geography (locals, regionals, metros), must do more than provide journalism. Your purpose must extend to fostering experiences, connectedness, conversations, convening and community problem-solving. Participating in or hosting in-person events/gatherings can help news organizations deepen relationships with casual audiences and attract new ones, while using digital platforms (livestreaming, text-based tools, etc.) to bring live events to a larger audience creates the sort of real-time, appointment-based engagement that are increasingly scarce in an oversaturated media environment. And, when used strategically, events can be not only strong marketing for the brand and audience/engagement drivers, but significant revenue generators as well.
Big Picture What do you need to know before getting involved in live events?
In-person gatherings can bolster brands, reach new audiences, deepen relationships with existing audiences, provide feedback from the community, bring stories into the community, and drive revenue, among other purposes.
Plan Make important strategic decisions about your live events
As news organizations begin to engage more deeply in live events with underwriting or sponsorship, there are a range of approaches for how to balance content/programming with the potential influence from sponsors.
In an era where news organizations are rethinking business models and sustainable approaches to serving their communities, having an in-depth relationship with your community that includes and is built around face-to-face engagement is more crucial than ever.
Making live events a potential revenue stream is a long-term strategy that requires careful and strategic planning and that should connect into the strengths of a news organization and the resonance it has in the lives of its audiences.
A look at a variety of ways that narrative journalism styles are being transformed into live events from news organizations.
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Do Tactics to improve your live events
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Durango Herald created a twice-monthly speaker series to connect with new audiences, existing readers and subscribers. The events focus on a wide variety of topics, and offer a new way to engage with diverse communities.
How Spaceship Media partnered with AL.com to create a virtual convening of female voters in Alabama and California to talk politics in the midst of a combative, polarized national political climate.
This case study describes how one news collaboration built live events atop a deep investigation/reporting project built on community participation.
This case study demonstrates a more advanced way newsrooms might provide in-person public gatherings for citizens to get involved in the journalism process.
In the earlier days of Facebook Live, news organizations of various sizes were taking significantly different approaches to experimenting with how to use livestreaming in their newsrooms.
Various nonprofit news organizations are experimenting with how to engage their audiences in new ways, including through the use of live events.
New York Public Radio invested in a dedicated performance space, which both brings its radio programs into a live event setting and hosts a range of live events built around its programming slate.
Eight practical considerations for livestreaming.
The Texas Tribune’s success in live events was designed around a centerpiece annual paid festival and a diversified free events strategy.
What are the most basic questions you should ask yourself as you begin thinking about livestreaming an event?
The Chattanooga Free Times Press’ strategy at the time is detailed — built around 12 events a year that contributed 11 percent of the retail revenue of the news organization.
The Arizona Republic built a live storytelling event into a series of 16 events a year that not only draw enough revenue to pay for themselves but also to contribute to the organization’s bottom line.