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Feb. 6, 2018, 10:06 a.m.
Reporting & Production
LINK: medium.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Shan Wang   |   February 6, 2018

The San Francisco- and New York-based accelerator Matter is trying to bring its design-thinking trainings to states outside these coasts. This year, it’s planning to run bootcamps specifically for teams from for-profit local news organizations — of “all sizes,” it stresses — with a focus on creating profitable media businesses. The trainings, supported by Google News Lab, will be free for attendees (travel costs are not covered, though).

“The biggest challenge in a sustainable local media landscape is in finding sustainable revenue in a for-profit environment, not just philanthropy and public funding,” Matter managing director Corey Ford wrote in an announcement. “We don’t shy from a challenge, which is why we’re addressing it head on. “

Matter is hoping to take in teams from around 20 publications, with a maximum of six members per team. It’s still starting the bootcamps in New York in April, followed by Missouri in May, and then Berkeley and Georgia in June. (The locations are determined by the program’s journalism school partners: CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York; the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism; the James M. Cox Jr. Institute at the University of Georgia; and UC Berkeley’s Advanced Media Institute.) Matter is also hoping to replicate bootcamps for nonprofit and public media down the line.

Here’s a bit more into what Matter will be looking for from teams:

Apply as a team; each accepted publication can bring up to six individuals, so think through exactly who would best benefit from the training and widen impact.

Think multidisciplinary; innovation happens when editorial, business, tech, and design are working in sync, not as isolated functions in a larger organization. We’ll look favorably on applicants who show a good mix.

Think local; we’re not hoping to inspire the next BuzzFeed or theSkimm, providing a new take on national or even global content. We’re hoping to equip the local news industry to find new opportunities to connect with their communities and make money by providing the insight and reporting that only great local publications can.

Teams can apply for the bootcamps here; applications are open today and will close on a rolling basis, 45 days before bootcamps are scheduled to begin in each location.

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