Host an “ON THE TABLE” event in 2019

Bay Area Journalists Are Invited to Host an “On the Table” Event

Since some of the best conversations often occur over a meal, the idea for On the Table is for journalists to invite local residents to “break bread together” as they candidly talk about the housing crisis. The meal could be lunch or dinner at a neighborhood restaurant; a home-cooked meal at a journalist’s house; or an outdoor picnic at a local park. It could even be held in your newsroom’s conference room.

The On the Table approach to community engagement is not your usual large-scale town hall meeting or any of the other community engagement strategies we typically employ to hear from and engage our listeners, viewers and readers.

This unique approach instead encourages journalists to meet 1:1 with a diverse group of community residents over a meal to share candid conversation about a difficult topic, such as the housing crisis, gentrification, and the meaning of home in these tough times.

Journalists who have hosted an On the Table event as part of our Bay Area Media Collaborative say it was a powerful and effective way for them to listen to and connect with the communities they serve. And the stories they have heard have helped to shape and improve their reporting on the housing crisis.

Community residents who have attended past On the Table events have also been impressed.

“The pace of the conversation was great, rather than the typical rushed time-frame talking with reporters on deadline or otherwise laser-focused on the ‘news” they want to write about,” wrote one San Francisco resident.

“I think it’s so important to be able to lift up the solutions from everyday people … to really understand the lived experience,” said a resident of the Excelsior neighborhood in San Francisco.


  1. Invite 5 to 10 guests to participate and talk about housing issues on a day and time of your choosing. We suggest you look for folks who might offer diverse perspectives and opinions about housing issues (to avoid the “echo chamber” effect). Choose a venue. It could be a local restaurant or in your home. Or you could have your meal catered. It’s up to you.
  2. Report on what you’ve heard in whatever format or method works best for you (e.g. online or print story, video, radio, social media posting, etc.).
  3. Renaissance Journalism will reimburse you for the cost of the meals, up to $25 per person for up to 10 persons (a maximum of $250.00).

Please note: This reimbursement offer applies only to journalists who sign up as part of our Bay Area Media Collaborative, and you must have registered with us in advance. You will need to submit our request form for reimbursement.

Don’t hesitate to contact us, if you have questions, need more details, or would like to propose some variation on the On the Table approach. We’re interested in hearing your ideas!


Check out coverage of our On the Table events:



On the Table is an initiative of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) and Renaissance Journalism’s Bay Area Media Collaborative.