Gannett takes the idea behind Arizona Storytellers Project nationwide

Poynter Institute (St. Petersburg, FL), September 15, 2015


Next week at the Online News Association’s annual conference, a group of journalists from nine Gannett newspapers will spend a few hours learning how to workshop a story before trying a bit of live storytelling. Their coach? Someone who has worked through the process with hundreds of people during the past four years — the Arizona Republic’s Megan Finnerty.

Gannett has chosen nine newspapers to build their own versions of Finnerty’s Arizona Storytellers Project, which brings together journalists and the community regularly for a night of live storytelling.

Like other news organizations, Gannett is increasing its focus on live events and working on scaling them from one market to another. Elsewhere, The Atlantic added Margaret Low Smith, previously NPR’s senior vice president of news, to run its live events. Washington Post Live hosts events for The Washington Post and POLITICO has POLITICO Events.

The papers taking up Gannett’s storytelling project are:

  • The (Palm Springs, California) Desert Sun
  • The (Fort Collins) Coloradoan
  • The Greenville (South Carolina) News
  • Lansing (Michigan) State Journal
  • The (Louisville, Kentucky) Courier-Journal
  • The Indianapolis (Indiana) Star
  • The Des Moines (Iowa) Register
  • Cincinnati (Ohio) Enquirer
  • The (Nashville) Tennessean

Arizona Storytellers Project started in 2011 and has held monthly nights of storytelling since, drawing hundreds of people each month. In 2012, the series won a National Headliner Award for Journalistic Innovation. And it’s reaching a younger market, which is the holy grail for most news organizations, Finnerty said. In Phoenix, the demographic each month averages 40 percent under 40.


Subjects Covered: personal storytelling

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