News Cafés a Growing Trend

News Café. Photo by S Martin via Flickr

Posted by Lillie Schrock

According to an article on Mediabistro.com, newspapers are creating “news commons,” where community members can come interact with the staff of their local newspaper.

One of these newspapers is the Winnipeg Free Press, which opened a News Café in March in an attempt to create a stronger link to the community, said John White, the paper’s deputy online editor. The multimedia editor, video reporter and social media reporter of the Winnipeg Free Press all work out of the café.

White is also organizing a formal rotation of reporters who come to the café to meet with readers. In addition, the staff would like to schedule community events, such as book readings and debates between local politicians.“My main priority in pitching this café concept was to reestablish our physical link to the community,” White said.

Connecticut’s Register Citizen also has its own newsroom café and the Texas Tribune holds a festival every year. The festival “brings together the state’s most prominent thinkers, politicians and public servants for a weekend of debate, discussion and dialogue on the subjects that matter most to all Texans,” according to texastribune.org.

“With the news commons, we hope to become the community hub where people come to freely share ideas and learn how to tell their own stories and be heard,” White said.

The Winnipeg Free Press café is thriving financially. In addition to working with their restaurateur, Dom Amatuzio, the space has some corporate sponsors

What are your thoughts on news cafés? Is this a good idea to forge relationships between community members and a newspaper staff? Do you have a better idea?

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2 responses to “News Cafés a Growing Trend

  1. It’s an interesting idea. As we stress in our class, the readers’ opinions are the most important, and connecting with them is crucial to selling subscriptions and issues. These cafes have the potential to make that connection even stronger, and a lot can be learned on both sides. I’m interested in seeing if this will become a trend or not.

    • I agree! I think these cafés could be very beneficial to the news organizations, as well as the readers. If a publication meets with its readers to find out what they want to be reading, and the publication puts out stories on these topics, then readership is sure to go up. It’s a win-win situation.

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