A cluster of laptops and other portable technology on a table, viewed from above, with people working on the computers.

Photo: Marvin Meyer | Unsplash

Introducing the Pop-up Community Newsroom Toolkit

A tool for inspiring small newsrooms to strengthen ties with local experts and collaboratively produce in-depth local journalism

Are you frustrated with in-depth reporting ideas languishing in a spreadsheet, leaving your community’s most critical stories untold? Do crises in your community force you to fill the immediate information void, while constraints of your newsroom prevent essential in-depth reporting? Enter the Pop-Up Community Newsroom Toolkit — a practical guide designed for small local newsrooms.

This isn’t your typical journalism guide; it’s a toolbox for those ready to revive local in-depth reporting by transforming local experts from passive consumers and sources into active contributors. The collaborative result is stories that delve deeper into issues that truly matter and might otherwise remain untold.

Picture a diverse group of local voices — private sector experts, scientists, students and others with a in-depth understanding of the pivotal issues facing your town. Because of their understanding, these residents are enthusiastic about participating in the journalism process on the issue you’re tackling, offering time and knowledge. Maybe they have insight into the housing affordability crisis, or perhaps their knowledge base lends them to unpacking the aftermath of a flood or a spike in crime tearing your community apart. The toolkit serves as a way to harness this community expertise often overlooked by the mainstream media.

This guide draws inspiration from the successes of my newsroom, Boulder Reporting Lab, where pop-up newsrooms have revealed groundbreaking and award-winning stories, including the health impacts of the Marshall Fire and environmental concerns surrounding coal ash in Boulder. I chose to create this guide on Google Docs for ease of access and use. You are welcome to make comments and add suggestions and, of course, share your own examples of pop-ups for everyone to see and learn from.

What’s Inside?

Introduction to PUCON (Pop-up community newsroom)

Learn how this approach creates a locally focused capacity surge to inform communities during high-information demand periods.

Examples of success

Explore real-world examples of successful pop-up newsrooms, navigating through the array of models that have worked. Learn from Calgary’s The Sprawl and Honolulu Civil Beat’s public events in libraries.

How can it help, really

Delve into the benefits of the PUCON approach. Discover how it helps newsrooms address reporting gaps during high-information demand periods and allows for in-depth reporting without overwhelming small teams.

Examples for inspiration

Get inspired by success stories from Boulder Reporting Lab. Explore its investigations into the health impacts of the Marshall Fire and the environmental concerns of coal ash in Boulder.

Must-haves for PUCON

Learn the elements required to create a successful pop-up newsroom, including a compelling topic, collaboration, a dedicated team, and more.

8 steps to create a pop-up newsroom

Walk through a practical, step-by-step guide to creating your pop-up newsroom. From identifying the story to effective communication and training non-journalists, this section provides actionable insights.

Pitfalls to avoid

Understand the challenges and pitfalls associated with pop-up newsrooms. Learn from the experiences of others to ensure a smoother process.


Additional resources, essays, and case studies related to pop-up community newsrooms. Dive deeper into the nuances and gain further insights.

An invitation

If you want to strengthen the connection between your newsroom and local experts, bringing more investigative journalism that thrives on community knowledge to your town, the Pop-Up Community Newsroom Toolkit could help you get there. It allows you to capitalize on existing partnerships and relationships without a long-term commitment. And therein lies the beauty. Whatever your newsroom’s resources, the PUCON process can help you tap the potential of your community and transform the journalism provided to your readers.

Cite this article

Feldman, Stacy (2024, March 7). Introducing the Pop-up Community Newsroom Toolkit. Reynolds Journalism Institute. Retrieved from: https://rjionline.org/news/introducing-the-pop-up-community-newsroom-toolkit/

Related Stories

Expand All Collapse All

Comments are closed.