Donna Wares and Samantha Melbourneweaver

Better News: LA Times Creates Compelling Virtual Events During Pandemic

The Los Angeles Times has a long history of hosting successful in-person events. Its annual Festival of Books, for example, draws more than 150,000 people every spring. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, many of those events were at risk of being canceled.

The Times’ audience engagement director, Samantha Melbourneweaver, and live events editor, Donna Wares, recently wrote a piece for the Better News initiative about how the L.A. Times built a compelling series of virtual events during the pandemic.

In this episode of Better News, Melbourneweaver and Wares tell host Michael O’Connell what worked and what didn’t work. They also share advice on how other newsrooms can develop their own successful live events strategies.

The Better News podcast is a partnership between It’s All Journalism and the American Press Institute to a) showcase innovative/experimental ideas that emerge from the Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund and b) share replicable strategies and tactics that benefit the news industry as a whole. Sign up for the Better News newsletter to receive news about the latest resources, case studies, and insights. For more news about the It’s All Journalism podcast and future episodes of Better News, sign up for the weekly IAJ newsletter.

More Episodes

Ed Madison is an assistant professor at the University of Oregon.

299. Can journalism survive in a post-truth world?

Ed Madison, an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon and author of a new book, Reimagining journalism in a post-truth world: How late-night comedians, internet trolls, and savvy reporters are transforming news, joins producer Michael O’Connell to explain why terms like “fake news” aren’t worth acknowledging and how writing cue cards for Mike Douglas made him a better producer.

Listen »

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

To get all the the latest news about our podcast, including guests and special events, fill out the form below to subscribe to our weekly email newsletter.