Monday, April 21, 2014
Research Projects & Educational Programs
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Recent initiatives sponsored by the Local Media Foundation include:

Local Media Innovation Alliance

The Local Media Foundation has developed the Local Media Innovation Alliance in order to provide research in the area of new and sustainable business models for local media companies in the digital age. Memberships are offered to all local media companies. Corporate memberships are also available.

Topics for the coming year will include:

  • Becoming the Local Ad Agency in Your Market (three case studies)
  • Community Contributor Networks (case studies)
  • Daily Deals 2.0 (three case studies – emerging trends in this space)
  • Emerging Content Strategies
  • Monetizing Mobile
  • Sales Structure
  • Monetizing Content
  • Niche Opportunities
  • and more

Community Web Sites Research Study

The SNA Foundation sponsored the community website portion of the SNA Suburban Market study conducted by the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri, with more than 2,600 telephone interviews of suburban adults in 11 DMAs across the U.S. This portion of the study examines suburban adults’ online habits and interests; including the content and features they would find most useful on a community Web site, mobile usage, and more. Research findings available for free download. Download this Report

Research Project: Striking a Balance Between Community Journalism and Citizen Participation: A Study About User-Generated Content on Newspaper Web Sites

The SNA Foundation recently received a grant from the McCormick Foundation to fund a research study of more than 3,000 newspaper Web site users to examine the public's expectations regarding user-submitted content on newspaper Web sites and whether it can compromise the newspaper's brand and journalistic integrity. The goal of the study is to help guide local publishers as to how they can become even more comprehensive and participatory local media by engaging and supporting meaningful public interaction with their online offerings, but in a way that allows them to integrate user submissions while still maintaining their reputation and credibility. Results are now available in a comprehensive report that includes extensive executive summary, explanation of findings and data slides. Download this Report

Specialized Multimedia E-Learning in Partnership with The Poynter Institute’s News University

The SNA Foundation received a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for a community journalism e-learning initiative to develop e-courses designed specifically to help suburban and community journalists make the transition to a multimedia publishing strategy. These specialized e-courses are designed to help local publishers, editors and journalists learn how to extend their presence from print to multimedia, leverage their influence and serve their communities in even bigger and more relevant ways. Four courses are now available:

  • The Community Journalism Series:
    Part One: Strategies for Managing Local Contributors
    (intended for newsroom leaders)
    Part Two: Contributing to a Local Publication
    (intended for community contributors)

    This latest e-course is broken into two modules – one for editors to help you manage citizen contributors and one intended for the contributors to provide basic journalism training and help them become better contributors quicker. Its contemporary lessons will help editors identify which kinds of community contributions might work best in your news organization, devise a specific plan for introducing community content onto your site and develop a recruitment and training strategy for contributors that includes directing them to the contributor track of this course.
  • Innovation at Work: Making New Ideas Succeed
    This e-course is designed to help you make innovation successful in your organization, including identifying innovative projects, overcoming roadblocks, and engaging your colleagues and management in the opportunities. Examples from both inside and outside the industry make this course applicable for staff at all levels of the organization and in all departments.
  • Build & Engage Local Audiences Online
    This e-course is designed to help suburban and community journalists and editors make the transition to a multimedia world, including how to attract and retain online audience.
  • Leading an Online Newsroom: What You Need to Know
    This e-course is designed to help local newspaper editors tackle the challenges of publishing in the digital age, including the importance of instituting a Web-first approach, adapting workflow for a modern news cycle, and training and hiring the right people to make it happen.

A seminar snapshot entitled Layout Driven Editing is also available. This special seminar snapshot provides lessons from the publisher of two local Swedish newspapers where they implemented an innovative process in which stories are written to fit pre-designed page templates; saving time, reducing errors and gaining more local news coverage.

All are free, interactive, and self-paced.

Insights from Social Networking Best Practices Research Project

This research, released in October 2008, examines how community newspapers can best incorporate social networking into their online offerings to help them increase community engagement and traffic to their Web sites. In-depth analyses of four social networking sites (affiliated with newspapers and from outside the industry) were conducted, including extensive interviews with site executives and nearly 3,000 completed user surveys. Results identify best practices and lessons learned from the sites studied; including content, operational issues, user feedback and revenue models. Based on the combined insights from the executive interviews and the user surveys, we provide guidelines for local newspaper publishers on how they can successfully implement social networking on their Web sites. Download this Report

At the Canadian Newspaper Association/Canadian Community Newspapers Association’s national conference in Montreal, Quebec in May 2009, SNA Foundation Executive Director Susan Karol discusses how community newspapers can benefit from adding social networking to their online offerings. Watch video

Innovation Mission to Norway & Sweden

Scandinavia Innovation Mission;

The SNA Foundation hosted a six-day study mission in September 2008 to meet with executives from innovative Scandinavian media companies to learn about their multimedia and organizational success. The Foundation sponsored an Innovation Mission Multimedia Reporter to accompany our group and contribute articles, blogs, videos (see sidebar) and photos about the trip and what we learned. The Foundation is making a comprehensive report, Developing the Local Media House: Lessons Learned from Norway & Sweden, available to the industry at no charge. Download this Report

The American Press Institute’s Newspaper Next Innovation Project

The SNA Foundation sponsored SNA member Web site as one of seven demonstration projects nationwide in the American Press Institute’s transformation report. Disruptive innovation education is used to challenge newspapers to develop innovative, sustainable opportunities and solutions for the future. For a copy of the first Newspaper Next report, Blueprint for Transformation, click here. Newspaper Next’s updated report, Making the Leap Beyond ‘Newspaper Companies’, can be accessed by clicking here.

More Information
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Contact Nancy Lane, Local Media Association President, at or (843) 390-1531.

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