Understanding audiences and exploring new approaches

What Drives People to Pay for Local Journalism

Medill’s Spiegel Research Center (SRC), a leader in consumer and audience-based research that drives financial outcomes, is analyzing many terabytes of anonymous data about reader behavior and customer motivation at three Learning Labs – the Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle and Indianapolis Star. The goal: Identify what content and behaviors drive consumers to engage with and pay for local news.

Human-Centered Design for Local News Products

The Northwestern University Knight Lab, renowned for its development of digital storytelling tools and platforms, is interviewing news consumers and assessing data on their online behavior to inspire creation of products, tools and approaches that are designed to improve reader engagement, bolster financial sustainability and better inform citizens.

Understanding Media Markets

Medill is analyzing data from a variety of media markets in a project to correlate local news consumption with other demographic factors in those areas. Each media market has its own personality, and no single solution can cure the problems of local news everywhere. But by identifying common characteristics, we can draw valid comparisons and share innovative ideas.

Medill News Leaders Project 2019 Sustaining the Business of Local Journalism

The crisis in local news is indisputable: Round after round of layoffs, expanding news deserts and abandoned areas of coverage, particularly in the case of long-established print publications. Now, the challenges to local television news are beginning to accelerate.

Recent Articles

Local TV ‘Disruption Is Coming’

To fail to look past the obvious current struggles of local print organizations is to fail to understand what’s next for the medium where most Americans still say they get their local news. Sufficient money is still flowing in many local broadcast operations, but the slow pace of digital adoption in some places may augur poorly for the industry as pressure increases on revenue sources like retransmission fees.

The Future of Local News ‘To Do Different With Less’

This section’s title conveys a fundamental optimism that there still can be a future — in the right circumstances, with the right set of actions based on local-market discernment and careful attention to broader trends. Looking for simple answers? Don’t look here. Looking for a clear-eyed analysis of what still needs to be done? That crops up throughout.