Lenfest Institute to serve as new home for Audience Community of Practice

The Lenfest Institute for Journalism today announced that it is assuming management of and expanding the Audience Community of Practice, a group providing support for audience development news professionals. The Institute will provide organizational resources for community members in news organizations to share strategies, best practices, and resources.

The Audience Community of Practice was incubated in 2016 at the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at CUNY’s Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.

There are about 75 members of the community from news organizations such as The New York Times, ProPublica, The Detroit Free Press, KQED, and more. The community was originally created to provide a space for editors and news leaders who oversee organizational strategy and manage audience teams. 

The community is free to join and open to news professionals working in the world of audience engagement and development. Anyone interested in joining the community is encouraged to fill out this form.

The audience professionals group is the third such community of practice led by The Lenfest Institute. The Institute is home to the Lenfest News Philanthropy Network, a global community of more than 1,700 fundraising and development professionals. And together with RevLab at The Texas Tribune and Spotlight PA, the Institute founded the Statewide News Collective, which supports news organizations serving statewide audiences. By bringing the audience community into the fold, the Institute will further its mission of supporting local news across the country.

The Institute will develop and expand the audience group, first assessing the needs of existing members and doing outreach with potential new members, especially in local news organizations across the country and in the many sectors in journalism — not just legacy and for-profit news but also nonprofit news organizations, BIPOC-owned and -led organizations, and public media. In addition to providing tactical programming and connecting the network, the Institute will help members with strategic and operational questions of building teams and defining roles.

“Audience professionals play key roles in the growth and sustainability of news organizations and in ensuring that journalism is meeting the news and information needs of diverse communities. We want to nurture their advancement and development in the field and help strengthen the pipeline to leadership,” said Lenfest Institute Head of National Programs Amy Kovac-Ashley. “We are so grateful that the Tow-Knight Center has entrusted us to become the new home for this group.”

The community launched with a focus on developing actionable user journeys in order to meet audience goals, prioritizing platform-specific efforts to grow and engage key audiences, understanding international audiences, and engaging younger consumers. 

Since its founding, community members have shared its insights and fostered asynchronous Slack discussions with a broader network of audience professionals from all levels. 

“The Newmark Journalism School’s Tow-Knight Center created a community of practice for news product, which was a seed that grew into the News Product Alliance. Now we are delighted to see Lenfest take on our Audience Community of Practice so it, too, may now grow into a thriving international community,” said Jeff Jarvis, director of the Tow-Knight Center. “With our degree in Engagement Journalism, we plan to stay close to members and leaders of this community so together we can bring audience — that is, community — back to the center of journalism.” 

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