Get excited! Here’s what you’ll have the chance to learn and discuss during the summit. We will update this page as further sessions are confirmed and provide time and location information as it becomes available.

The summit offers three main tracks: listening, engaged elections and lessons in engagement from adjacent industries.

Listening track

Assessing your community's information needs

A simple roadmap to get out of your bubble, listen to your audience and make changes

Do you understand your community’s information needs, and are you actively and intentionally serving them? (For most journalists, the answer to that is NO and NO.)

Fear not: We’ll show you how! In this session we’ll talk about what community information needs are, and work through a plan for how you can assess them in your community and how you can change your news products to better reflect what your community needs.


  • Carolyn Powers, Internews

  • Stefanie Murray and Sarah Stonbely, Center for Cooperative Media

Listening and engaging Latino audiences around sports, culture and more

Walk away from this session with a deeper understanding of the makeup of the U.S Hispanic/Latino/Latinx audience in today’s media landscape, and how can you engage with and listen to this portion of your community.

We’ll dive into how sports media in particular has represented the U.S. Latino sports fan or athlete, and several experiments in engaging with that audience. You’ll take the lessons from sports media and see how you can apply them to your own communities and coverage areas.


  • Luis Miguel Echegaray, Sports Illustrated

Using Consensus and the Open Newsroom to better understand parents’ information needs and THE CITY will walk you through how to use a combination of technology (in the form of EdNC’s Reach platform) and THE CITY’s Open Newsroom model to identify issues that your community cares about, their information needs, and those they turn to for information (Hint: Probably not your news organization right now).


  • Nation Hahn, EdNC

  • Terry Parris Jr., THE CITY

Engaged elections track

Solution Set Live!

What you can learn from these newsrooms’ engaged election coverage

In this series of election case study lightning chats, participants will hear from a variety of news organizations that share their approaches to campaign coverage within the Solution Set framework.

Participants will then be able to break into small groups with each of the presenters to dive more deeply into what they learned from their work, and how it can be applied to future coverage.


  • Joseph Lichterman, Lenfest Institute


Local politics and accountability: engaging in Spanish and English

How can journalists expand access to important civic information, so that all can participate in the democratic process? In Chicago, crucial information about the role of local elected officials in English is hard to find — let alone in Spanish. Learn how City Bureau held a series of bilingual workshops to help folks keep city council accountable, even off the election cycle.


  • Ellie Mejía, City Bureau


Election Exchange: Creating equitable transactions in election reporting

Learn how pop-up newsrooms have created collaborations between media and audiences for election reporting in Mexico and India, and how that's shaped Meedan’s plans for the US 2020 election.

Participants will take away tools and strategies for engaging audiences in the process of finding and debunking viral misinformation around elections.


  • Tom Trewinnard, Meedan


Human Voter Guide

Southern California Public Radio (KPCC and LAist) launched Human Voter Guide in 2016 with the goal of answering election questions. A lot of those questions, it turned out, had to do with the basics of voting. Learn about the project they dubbed “the Butterball turkey line for voting” and how journalists provided direct answers via text message, email, in person, on-air, and online. You’ll also see how that approach could work for your newsroom.


  • Ashley Alvarado, KPCC, a collaborative election guide

What happens when 10 newsrooms and civic organizations team up to cover a pivotal local election? Weekly meetings at a (very) big table, a Slack channel that just won't quit — and if you put the public first, a tool that truly informs and empowers voters. Learn collaboration and voter guide best practices from our successes (and mishaps!).


  • Mia Sato, Better Government Association


Trusting News Tips for Elections coverage

With elections outreach, there are potential trust roadblocks that newsrooms must plan to address. Learn what your audience won’t automatically understand about the engaged elections approaches discussed during Solution Set Live!, and how you can overcome those barriers.


  • Joy Mayer, Trusting News

How to throw a ballot party

Ever get to your polling station, walk into the ballot box, and go “Oh shit, I had no idea we were also voting on *that*?! What does that position even do?” What if your reporters could answer people’s questions about what’s on the ballot while they are voting?

A ballot party is an opportunity for your newsroom to pick a local community and invite them to come fill out their mail-in ballots (or sample ballots if you live someone without mail-in ballots) while they learn about what each race on the ballot is about. Learn how to plan the event, how to get the word out about the event in a way that helps you reach new audiences, and how to prepare your reporters.


  • Ellen Mayer, community journalist

The citizens agenda

A listening-based approach to election coverage

The citizens agenda is an alternative to typical horse race coverage of campaigns, one that centers on the power of bringing this question to citizens: “What do you want the candidates to be discussing as they compete for votes?”

In this session we will provide background on the citizens agenda approach and a case study demonstrating it in practice. We will then hold a workshop with attendees to design outreach that ensures all citizens will have their voices heard.


  • Jay Rosen and Ariel Zirulnick, Membership Puzzle Project

Adjacent industries track

Power to the people

What journalists can learn from community organizers

Organizing is a powerful approach to building relationships and deepening trust, but it’s an approach journalists aren’t trained in. This workshop will show journalists how to adapt organizing strategies into their everyday work in order to better share information with community members, learn from people most affected by an issue, collaboratively identify solutions, increase impact and build power.


  • Mike Rispoli and James Thompson, Free Press

  • Evan Sanchez, Authentic City Partners

Listening with love

What journalists can learn from community health workers

Community Health Workers (CHW) are trusted individuals who share life experience (socioeconomic background, language, etc.) with the people they serve.

The Penn Center for Community Health Workers, a national center of excellence for CHW research, patient care and dissemination, has designed, tested and scaled an evidence-based CHW model of care called IMPaCT. IMPaCT has served more than 10,000 people and is scientifically proven to improve patient health and quality of care while reducing unnecessary hospital use.

The IMPaCT model was built by asking patients themselves ‘what do you think will improve your health?’ In this session, you will hear the story of how we built a program based on what people said they needed, and learn and practice the skills of qualitative interviewing, a style of interviewing designed to collect rich and detailed information about how people experience and understand their lives. For journalists, the verbal and non-verbal skills of qualitative interviewing will help you put interviewees at ease, create a space where people can share their experiences without feeling judged, and give you confidence that you ‘got it right’ in terms of what you heard.


  • Tamala Carter and Jill Feldstein, Penn Center for Community Health Workers

Tailgate parties and growing your fanbase

What journalism can learn from professional sports teams

In the past 5 years, sports teams are devoting more of their communication energy to building relationships with fans on social and IRL. What’s working to bring new people to the field/stadium, and how do they convert them to loyal fans and season ticket holders?


  • Caitlin Moyer, Milwaukee Brewers

Diagnosing the truth

What journalists can learn from the art of medicine

Diagnosis of patient disease is medicine’s central art, and it is so much more than just a “right answer.” This session identifies the basics of diagnosis, separates myth from fact, and articulates what great diagnosis looks like and actually takes, based on Miller’s research and experience of almost two decades collaborating with great diagnosticians and medical teachers in intensive medical humanities work.

After brief didactics on this material, we will apply and practice key skills of diagnosis - observation, listening, perspective-shifting, neutrality - in visual arts experiences and identify ways in which these skills operate towards negative or positive outcomes in medicine. We will conclude by identifying parallel issues in journalism and extrapolating take-aways for newsroom practice as well as broader trends across industries.


  • Alexa Miller, Arts Practica

Strangers no more

Lessons from Restorative Justice for journalists

Experience a community building RJ circle to connect with the self and others to tackle the concerns of the day. The circle practice teaches us that until we get to the primal connection amongst us, we cannot get to the issues that disconnect us.

TRC has developed, practiced, and taught a unique framework for justice circles. These circles hold space for reconnection, and through that vantage point allow us to explore profound issues of race relations, economic inequality, political disparity with a deeper resonance. Our model opens the door for understanding the power of stories, the heartbeat of listening, savoring the pause, and navigating prompts and agendas.


  • Shailly Agnihotri, The Restorative Center

Real money, real power

Learning about engagement from Participatory Budgeting

Participatory Budgeting is a proven way of engaging local communities to make more effective decisions -- in this case, decisions on how to spend public funds. It’s also a demonstrated way of building public trust and provides a pathway to further civic engagement. PB is practiced in thousands of cities and schools worldwide, and continues to grow as a solution to address weak community involvement and disaffection. The New York Times has dubbed PB “revolutionary civics in action.”

In this session, we’ll explore what Participatory Budgeting (or PB) is and how it works through an interactive simulation. We’ll then focus on the core transferable elements of the process, particularly best practices for engaging and centering the leadership of marginalized and underrepresented communities. We’ll end by discussing how the PB principles and practices might inform your work.


  • Jennifer Godzeno, Participatory Budgeting Project

Pass the plate

What journalism can learn from religious communities about being member-supported

A few case studies for how congregations move toward financial self-sufficiency with member donations (rather than relying on denominational funding). What are the characteristics of the communities that make it, vs. those that don't? How do successful worship groups engage with new members alongside retaining existing members?


  • Cameron Trimble, Center for Progressive Renewal

What journalism can learn about entrepreneurship and listening from business


The business world has been listening to and learning about consumer and audience needs since just about forever! As journalists increasingly face the need to understand how the intersection of editorial, revenue and audience needs works, it’s critical to look to practices and skill sets that exist outside of the journalism space.

Learn about some of the key skills and insights that an entrepreneurial leader or staff member can possess within the journalism world. This workshop will focus on different strategies and tactics that management consultants and successful startups use, and show you how that can translate into the work you do day to day within newsrooms or adjacent journalism spaces. We’ll partner together to think through what the intersection of audience, editorial, and revenue actually means, and how the business world may think through problems that you encounter day to day through role-playing sessions and breakout groups.


  • Anna Nirmala, The American Journalism Project