The creator economy is not just for national writers who have large followings. In fact, I argue it’s needed at the local level now more than ever as news outlets dry up and hollow out. The people left behind need information they can trust from people who they trust to deliver it, especially younger audiences who increasingly trust individuals more than institutions.
This course will help reporters covering local news and issues strengthen their online presence and create a content product that’s unique to them and can exist alongside or independently of their newsrooms.
At the end of the course, you will:
- Have the tools you need to launch your own independent content venture that builds on your existing reporting;
- Understand which platform is best suited for the content you want to create;
- Know how to find and build relationships with your audience;
- Identify potential collaborators;
- Consider monetization ideas inside or outside of your newsroom;
- Build a compelling profile on a platform that gets your work seen by more people.
There are a lot of good things happening in the news industry, but it will take years, if not decades, to reverse declining trends in readership, advertising, and local news coverage. Yet, some newsrooms continue to operate the same way they have for decades.
If you’re frustrated with a lack of action from your newsroom’s leaders, this course will give you the opportunity to explore a new path you can forge on your own.
This course is the culmination of everything I’ve been working on over the past five years.
I developed and teach the course independent content creation at Penn State. The class has a waiting list every semester and students who’ve taken it have gone on to launch YouTube channels, podcasts, and professional accounts on Instagram and TikTok.
I’ve also worked in newsrooms myself and, more recently, with LION Publishers, the Gather project for community-minded journalists, and the public media trade publication Current. I understand the challenges facing local newsrooms and am confident this course will be one solution for reporters looking to build deeper relationships with their audiences.