About Us

The NC Local News Workshop was established in June 2020 in response to the local news crisis in our state, especially the loss of local journalists and news outlets, and also to support transformative approaches to informing North Carolina residents on public affairs and civic issues.

We began with a focus on North Carolina residents and communities, and support for people and organizations aiming to serve our state with information that fosters democracy and civic participation. We chose the name “Workshop” to capture our goal of providing space for people to work on challenges, build things, find tools and guidance, and try out ideas.

We work alongside news and information providers and in partnership with other state and national organizations, with a priority on inclusive, community-focused programs that provide:

  • Connection for people across the ecosystem of local news and information, through the NC Local weekly email newsletter and by facilitating partnerships, networking, and collaboration
  • Convening to support journalistic quality, inclusiveness, problem-solving, innovation, and professional dialogue
  • Capacity-building through resource links and connections, coaching, and assistance for organizations tackling individual or collective needs

A Few Words From Elon President Connie Book

Our Funders​

The NC Local News Workshop was launched with support from the North Carolina Local News Lab Fund at the North Carolina Community Foundation. The Workshop seeks additional grants and donations for projects and operating support. 

To inquire about supporting the Workshop, contact Shannan Bowen, executive director. Donations can also be made through Elon University’s School of Communications by selecting the Workshop as a designation.

NC Local News Lab Fund


The NC Local News Workshop is housed at the Elon University School of Communications and is led by Executive Director Shannan Bowen. The initiative is funded by the NC Local News Lab Fund at the NC Community Foundation.

Shannan Bowen

Shannan Bowen

Executive Director,
NC Local News Workshop
2850 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244

Kenn Gaither

Kenn Gaither

Interim Dean,
School of Communications,
A.J. Fletcher Endowed Professor of Strategic Communications
Schar Hall –
Communications Bld,
Office 108D
2850 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244

Melanie Sill

Senior Advisor,
NC Local News Workshop
2850 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244

Eric has been a professional journalist for nearly four decades, all of it in North Carolina. A UNC-Chapel Hill graduate, he worked for more than 35 years at The News and Observer in Raleigh in editing, reporting and senior leadership roles focused on news, audience and strategy. 

He is now the news and audience editor for EducationNC and a freelance writer.

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NC Local News Workshop