Coats2Coats work, partners in the news

It’s been a hectic and productive fall already at Coats2Coats. As is often the case, work that we’ve been quietly toiling away on for the last year or more has suddenly started popping up with results all over the place.

Here’s a quick roundup of all that popping:

Local Media Consortium: On Monday, the Newspaper Consortium, for which Rusty serves as executive director, announced a new name and a broader vision. As the Local Media Consortium, it will “seek out deals with companies that are beneficial to all members in every aspect of every deal,” as Rusty said. In other words: instead of a consortium that looks at managing one or two big deals (such as the media companies’ relationship with Yahoo!), this will be an active organization looking to leverage the power of the 8 billion ad impressions these companies drive every month. Think the difference between the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, and you have a since of what a Big Deal this is.

St. Louis Beacon/St. Louis Public Radio partnership: We’ve been working with the folks in St. Louis for nearly a year now to help them bring to life one simple idea: Two organizations with a common mission and complimentary revenue streams really ought to combine forces to serve the public good. More and more eyes are watching what could be an innovative model for both public media and the independent news sites, and more and more of the conversation is focusing not just on the journalism possibilities but on the opportunity to leverage the financial side to sustain high-quality journalism. I keep seeing links to this post on that point show up in my feeds; it sums up the opportunity really well.

CJET: This one is so close to our hearts, and we’re so pleased with the ways this work is taking root. The Community Journalism Executive Training program grew out of a pilot program we did with The Patterson Foundation to provide intensive business education and mentoring to independent publishers. We’ve just finished two recent CJET sessions — one in News Jersey with Debbie Galant at the New Jersey News Commons, and one in partnership with Kevin Davis and the Investigative News Network. The headline: publishers are starting to think more holistically about the journalism and the revenue, and that is creating new opportunities for growth and partnership. So cheered by some of the outcomes we are seeing; a partnership between two of the New Jersey publishers reflects the power of CJET to create transformational thinking.

LION Summit: Three years ago, I worked with Michele McLellan to put together the Block by Block Community News Summit, the first-ever gathering of local, independent news publishers. Our hope was that the publishers would be able to grow as a group to work together on the issues that are important to them. Out of Block by Block grew the Local Independent Online News Publisher association, and this week they take an important step forward with the LION Summit, the conference they have organized as the successor to Block by Block.

Michele’s List: Speaking of Block by Block, Michele McLellan has continued to research the independent news community to develop a better understanding of both its needs and its best practices. Just in time for LION, Michele has published a report on a survey of sites she has conducted as she’s been building Michele’s List, a guide to the independent news community. Fascinating stuff here from the expert in this ever-growing, ever-changing world of indy news — and we’re happy to see shout-outs to CJET in there as well!

Rusty and I often say that the best part of our work is that it allows us to see into so many corners of journalism — from big for-profit companies to hyperlocal news sites to the transforming face of public media. We’re fascinated by the ways all of this connects, reaffirming what we’ve thought all along: we’re all dealing with the same issues of disruption, transformation and opportunity. It’s just a question of scale.