Small is Beautiful

Small is Beautiful

The decline of the legacy media started long before the Internet, but the Internet exposed a business model that relied too heavily on the wrong customers. This paper argues that subscription might be the only viable business model for digital media in the long run, but a small circulation might be large enough to make news outlets sustainable. Small is beautiful.

Streaming War Won header image with text

Streaming War Won

Every era and every new medium — print, radio, television, cable, and the Internet — has found news essential to building and keeping audience. What does news on streaming, direct-to-consumer, and social look like — and what it could look like in the future?

Big Tech and Democracy: The Critical Role of Congress

Big Tech and Democracy: The Critical Role of Congress

In March 2019, two projects at Harvard Kennedy School—the Technology and Public Purpose (TAPP) Project at the Belfer Center and the Platform Accountability Project at the Shorenstein Center—hosted a workshop for Congressional staff to identify and discuss policy approaches to the dilemmas of big tech platforms.

Assessing Campaign Quality: Was the 2016 Presidential Campaign a Travesty?

Assessing Campaign Quality: Was the 2016 Presidential Campaign a Travesty?

By Roderick P. Hart, Fall 2018 Shorenstein Fellow and Shivers Chair in Communication and Professor of Government, University of Texas at Austin This essay is forthcoming as part of a special symposium on Campaign 2016 to be published in the…

Platform Accountability: An Interim Measure

Download the PDF of this paper here. Introduction The major digital platform companies present a large, complicated array of benefits and problems for the country and the world. The companies increasingly have the attention of both average citizens and senior-most…

Can Cities Save the Census? A Local Framework for Our Nation’s First Digital Count

With trust in federal government and institutions at historic lows, local governments, including cities and counties, must play a critical role in the 2020 Census. If we don’t get the census right, there is so much we are at risk of getting wrong – the implications of which will last for years.

Estimating the Effect of Asking About Citizenship on the U.S. Census

The 2020 U.S. Census will, for the first time since 1950, ask about residents’ citizenship status. The effect of doing so on census completion across different racial/ethnic groups is, however, unknown. Leveraging a survey experiment, we are the first to assess the causal effect of this question change.

Broadband Everywhere

Internet access is coming to the other half of the planet through rapid expansion of broadband technologies. Media organizations that recognize the speed and reach of this expansion will enjoy major new and positive opportunities. In this paper, Shorenstein Fellow Jim Cashel reviews the expanding network of broadband access, and makes recommendations for media companies adapting to this new global reality.

Reinventing Local TV News

The growing crisis in U.S. local news is making it increasingly urgent that local television outlets both improve the quality of news produced and chart a path toward a sustainable future in which new audiences are recruited. In this research report, John Wihbey and Mike Beaudet show how local broadcasters might rethink story segments to create a more engaging news product for younger audiences, particularly with regard to hard news stories.

Email for Newsrooms: A Research Summary

After nearly a decade of decrying email as a rusty old relic of the early internet days, journalists and media outlets are coming to rely more and more on the email newsletter as the backbone of their audience engagement and growth strategies. Over the last year, the Single Subject News Project, part of the News Business Models team at the Shorenstein Center, has been looking at how small nonprofit newsrooms are using email, and specifically email newsletters.