The weekly St. Louis American holds four events a year

Kevin JonesConducting events helps The St. Louis American connect with the community and create goodwill. But the luncheons and galas also help the newspaper reach nontraditional advertisers and compensate for losses from national advertising. Kevin Jones, chief operating officer, spoke at the Reynolds Journalism Institute during the 2016 Walter B. Potter Sr. Conference about how to hold successful events, which account for 8 percent of The St. Louis American’s revenue. These are his tips on how to conduct a successful event.

  • Choose an event that no one else is doing in your community.
  • Create a list of potential lead and supporting sponsors.
  • Determine your staff’s capacity to conduct an event early on.
  • Select an outside volunteer who can recruit and lead one or two other volunteers for day-of activities.
  • Start modestly, perhaps with one luncheon.
  • Plan, plan, plan so there is less disruption to your weekly obligations.
  • Solicit nominations for awards five months before the event.
  • Choose awardees three months before the event.
  • Select awardees who are deserving and, if possible, have “reach” into the community.
  • Maintain consistent communication with awardees. Let them know exactly what to expect before and during the actual event: timing of articles and photos, ordering tickets, and day-of logistics, timing and responsibilities.
  • Choose your awards vendor wisely. Get high-quality awards because the awardees will keep them forever.
  • If you have video capacity, create videos of top awardees to show during the event.
  • Book a small live band (but you can also pipe in music at hotels for little or no money).

Watch Jones’ presentation and view his slides


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