Media Business Research

Digital Pay-Meter Playbook

August 13, 2019, 8:47 am

The past half-decade has seen a digital subscription renaissance in the news publishing industry. Our research suggests publishers should invest in capabilities to engage in constant testing and experimentation in digital — to build engagement among digital audiences and ultimately convert engaged readers into paying subscribers.

A Landscape Study of Local News Models Across America

July 3, 2019, 11:19 am
By Heidi Legg, Director of Special Projects at the Shorenstein Center

Local journalism is in crisis, off and online. Years of downsizing in the face of digital disruption have weakened regional and local news organizations. But there are a few glimpses of hope in models for local news across the country. This landscape study includes over 40 mini case studies on outlets that are making the shift, starting fresh, or experimenting with new ways to survive and thrive.

Small is Beautiful

June 3, 2019, 2:47 pm
Markus Somm, Spring 2019 Shorenstein Fellow

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

April 29, 2019, 5:14 pm

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?

Broadband Everywhere

March 5, 2019, 11:26 am
Jim Cashel

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.

Email for Newsrooms: A Research Summary

January 16, 2019, 11:17 am

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.

The Brain Trust Initiative

December 19, 2018, 2:33 pm
By George Twumasi, Fall 2018 Joan Shorenstein Fellow

The Brain Trust Initiative is a vision to unleash the power of digital media as a force for change across sub-saharan Africa. Abstract: Media in sub-Saharan Africa is at a crossroads. Journalism as a change agent within sub-Saharan Africa has…

Facebook Friends? The Impact of Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm Changes on Nonprofit Publishers

October 26, 2018, 9:12 am
Andrew Gruen, Research Fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy and Principal Consultant, Working Paper; and Aisha Townes, Data Science Consultant to the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy

Abstract: This paper analyzes the changes in traffic from Facebook to non- profit news organizations before and after the major change to the Facebook News Feed in January 2018, implemented in response to the controversy over fake news dissemination from Russian…

Business Models for Local News: A Field Scan

September 6, 2018, 9:55 am
By Elizabeth Hansen, Emily Roseman and Matthew Spector of the Shorenstein Center; and Joseph Lichterman of the Lenfest Institute

The views expressed in Shorenstein Center Discussion Papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Harvard Kennedy School or of Harvard University. Discussion Papers have not undergone formal review and approval. Such papers are included in…

Funding Journalism, Finding Innovation: Success Stories and Ideas for Creative, Sustainable Partnerships

June 20, 2018, 9:00 am
Reported and edited by: Dwight Knell, former consultant, Shorenstein Center; Nina Sachdev, Communications Director, Media Impact Funders; Jessica Clark, Research Director, Media Impact Funders

Co-published by the Shorenstein Center and Media Impact Funders.     Image credit: South Kern Sol, a youth media hub funded by The California Endowment. Introduction There has been perhaps no other moment in history so volatile and uncertain­—yet full…