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T-Squared: Welcoming our first-ever RevLab cohort

Revenue Lab, the Tribune’s in-house research and training center, is hosting 14 publishers from around the country for a focused, 8-week program on the subject of creating and hosting successful events

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Last year, we announced the creation of Revenue Lab: our first-ever local news revenue and training lab, made possible by a generous grant from the Facebook Journalism Project. Now, we’re excited to announce Revenue Lab’s first cohort.

We selected 14 publishers — nonprofit and for-profit, hyperlocal and national, startups and a 90-year-old organization — to participate in an eight-week online program.

The program will help publishers move through the process of defining and developing an events program all the way from ideation to audience identification to monetization. At the end, each participating newsroom will be equipped with a bold vision — and a detailed plan — to use events to achieve their audience and revenue goals.

Events are a core part of The Texas Tribune’s strategy. We are delighted to be able to share our resources and our expertise with other newsrooms, especially in this moment when physical distancing requires creative approaches to generating revenue and innovative solutions for meeting audience needs. This year, for example, we pivoted our annual fundraising gala TribFeast, to a virtual experience and quadrupled our profit margin in the process. For a practical guide to how we did this, check out our case study on the Facebook Journalism Project site.

Please welcome our first cohort:

  • Advocate Media, a nonprofit organization that aims to fill the "news desert" in South and West Dallas.
  • The Beacon, a nonprofit online news outlet based in Kansas City focused on local, in-depth journalism in the public interest.
  • Block Club Chicago, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to delivering reliable, nonpartisan and essential coverage of Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods.
  • CalMatters, a nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters.
  • Canopy Atlanta, a digital publication that tells stories about metro Atlanta by training and involving residents in the process of journalism.
  • Defender Network, a 90-year-old publication delivering news and information to Black people in Houston.
  • Detour Detroit, an independent local news organization committed to equitable journalism about Detroit’s diverse neighborhoods and building community through meaningful engagement.
  • Invisible Institute, a journalism production company on the South Side of Chicago working to enhance the capacity of citizens to hold public institutions accountable.
  • The Markup, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates how powerful institutions are using technology to change our society.
  • The Maynard Institute, the nation’s oldest organization dedicated to helping the news media accurately portray all segments of society, particularly those often overlooked, such as communities of color.
  • NowCastSA, a nonpartisan, nonprofit online news organization in San Antonio that engages people about public policy, health, the environment, education and culture.
  • Prism, a nonprofit news organization led by people of color that centers the people, places and issues underreported by our national media.
  • Project Q Atlanta, an online news organization for Atlanta’s gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.
  • Spotlight PA, an investigative newsroom producing nonpartisan accountability journalism about Pennsylvania government and urgent statewide issues.

Taught by experienced news event producers, this first boot camp combines group instruction with peer-to-peer learning and individual coaching. Participants will leave the two-month program with detailed blueprints tailored to their organizations. After the boot camp, they’ll implement their plans with the support of ongoing coaching from RevLab.

Agnes Varnum, who’s produced hundreds of events for The Texas Tribune, leads the coaching team. She’s joined by Tanya Erlach, former head of experiences for the Los Angeles Times and the founding event director at The Texas Tribune; Rhonda Nolen, a Las Vegas-based producer of corporate, education and entertainment events; and Peter Lamb, a strategy consultant who works with media brands around the world.

The program runs through mid-September, and the participating publishers will launch their event programs this fall.

Facebook has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

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