A new strategic partnership between Startland News and Spark Kansas City is expected to strengthen the nonprofit newsroom’s brand and storytelling capacity with broader reach and new opportunities for live and virtual programming, said Tommy Felts.
“Collaboration sparks greater impact,” said Felts, news director for Startland News. “A key element of our work is exposing entrepreneurial activity in all corners of Kansas City — and hopefully inspiring it in others. We’re fortunate that Spark shares the belief that ‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’”
The partnership leads with Startland News — and its parent organization, Startland — relocating into Spark Kansas City’s 15,000-square-foot, two-level hub of coworking, private offices and event space near the heart of the Power & Light District in the Two Light luxury apartment building. Spark Kansas City will take a more visible role in select live events and virtual content as part of the deal.
Click here to learn more about Spark Kansas City’s new community downtown.
Spark — which also operates locations in Baltimore and soon St. Louis — supports the growing Kansas City entrepreneurial ecosystem as a catalyst for innovation through its creative space, network and community members. It seeks to foster community in order to ignite ideas that transform into successful companies and organizations.
“Our partnership with Startland News provides Spark the opportunity to propel our members forward in their goals and the community,” said Ally Garton, community manager for Spark Kansas City. “We need more collaboration to fuel the engine that is the Kansas City innovation ecosystem.”
Working with Startland News specifically was a true no brainer, according to representatives of Spark, which is a coworking venture of Baltimore-based The Cordish Companies, developers of the Power & Light District.
The newsroom is at the epicenter of the innovation space in Kansas City and has been elevating Spark’s Kansas City entrepreneurs, startups, and creatives for years, explained Shervonne Cherry, national director for Spark.
“Startland News was one of the first organizations to welcome Spark Coworking to the community in 2017,” Cherry said. “Building a new venture can be a lonely road and that willingness to learn about our vision meant so much to our team as we established roots. Startland truly understood our mission to be more than a workspace.”
The announcement of Startland News’ partnership with Spark Kansas City comes amid six months of historic audience growth for the news operation; nine awards from the Kansas Press Association (including first-place honors for best local business story, environmental story, photo-story combination and headline writing); the rollout of a new Startland News app with push notifications; plans to hire a fourth reporter this summer; and an in-the-works live event shift led by programming director Austin Barnes that will put Startland News in front of audiences in new ways.
“Much of our momentum can be credited to a mix of a talented staff and a willingness to embrace the idea that entrepreneurship isn’t an exclusive club,” said Felts. “While we haven’t pivoted away from covering tech startups in recent years, allowing our focus to also include more small business owners, creatives and out-of-the ordinary risk-takers has helped us to showcase an even wider array of Kansas City starters — and attract new readers.”
The newsroom’s knowledgeable effort to highlight all of the local ecosystem reflects Spark’s shared core value that entrepreneurship is not for one type of person and founders from all backgrounds, added Garton — stressing the importance of meaningful connectivity across networks.
“Spark Kansas City aims to be a resource for entrepreneurs and businesses throughout the Kansas City innovation ecosystem and region; Startland News is a mirror of that mission,” she said.
Click here to connect with Garton or to learn more about Spark Kansas City.