Seattle Globalist: Project Summary

The Seattle Globalist is the publishing name of The Common Language Project, an independent nonprofit organization based in the Pacific Northwest.

It is housed in the University of Washington’s Department of Communication. Most of its financial support comes from partners and sponsors, reporting grants, and individual donors.

It publishes daily in-depth reporting concentrated in the Puget Sound region, with a focus on how global issues affect its fast-changing community that is becoming more international every day. What also sets the Globalist apart from other news outlets locally is its diverse staff of freelance reporters and citizen journalists: more than 40 percent people of color, and 20 percent foreign-born.

Its leadership team is 75 percent female and 60 percent people of color. The Seattle Globalist proposes to offer a series of community training workshops on a variety of media skills, essentially training new and interested citizen-writers for its daily publication, and generating revenue from workshop fees.

This experiment uses a “fee-for-service” model to train writers of three different groups: existing contributors, new writers with an interest in contributing to Seattle Globalist, and the general public. The plan is to generate revenue three different ways: through workshop fees, a challenge grant using the INNovation Fund, and through corporate sponsorships and new advertising on its website.

What knowledge will be gained from this experiment?

The Globalist will test whether it can take its existing community trainings and make them into dual-purpose events: new contributor development and fundraising opportunities. The experiment will narrow in on a “sweet spot” for workshop composition and workshop fees that will maximize both our return on investment and the number of workshop participants we are able to attract.

The team also wants to know whether offering to reimburse a workshop fee as a bonus for successful first publication with the Globalist will encourage new community members to contribute stories.

Lastly, it hopes to learn whether these community workshops could be used as fundraising tools in other ways, namely through sponsorships and advertising by local businesses and targeted campaigns to individual donors.