Local Media Association launches Accelerate Local

New endeavor dedicated to reinventing business models for news;
industry innovator Peter Newton joins as managing director

Chicago, April 23, 2019– Local Media Association (LMA) today announced the launch of Accelerate Local – the largest initiative in LMA’s 48-year history – purpose-built to discover, develop and implement transformative business models that ensure a thriving future for local news.

Accelerate Local will research, test, prove and execute promising new business models that will sustain local journalism by helping transform local media companies and/or create new enterprises. It will focus on bold, disruptive ideas that can be profitably scaled, in turn increasing quantity and quality of local content across North America.

“Local news matters more than ever, but the traditional business models have been profoundly disrupted, leading to an astounding rate of decline of quality journalism around the country,” said Nancy Lane, president of LMA. “With no existing replacement model, there’s an urgent need for new, bold business models that ensure the future of local news now. Building on LMA’s history of helping media companies with their digital transformation strategies along with the ability to bring strategic partners together, we intend to make Accelerate Local an innovation machine, to revitalize the businesses that provide resources for quality local news and a thriving journalism ecosystem.”

Peter Newton

Peter Newton

LMA also appointed well-known industry leader Peter Newton, former chief operating officer of GateHouse Media, to serve as managing director of Accelerate Local.

“Consumer and local business needs have changed, and continue to change. We can help local media better understand those dynamics, and seize the opportunity they present,” said Newton. “Accelerate Local creates a unique, supportive environment for entrepreneurs, R&D partners, technology companies and more to work with media companies, giving transformative new business models the best chance for break-out success.”

“Launching Accelerate Local is an important milestone in LMA’s transformation,” said Jed Williams, LMA’s chief strategy officer and architect of the project. “An intensive 18-month strategic planning process involving the LMA board, staff and key stakeholders propelled us to this point. I’m also thrilled to be working with Peter Newton as the managing director of this critical industry initiative. Peter’s deep experience in local media, expertise in innovation, and entrepreneurial acumen make him an ideal fit as we elevate our efforts to reinvent business models for news.”

Accelerate Local emerges from LMA’s proven ability to identify best practices and promising new ideas, and extend them across the industry. Its vision is already in motion through three programs that LMA recently launched with leading partners, each designed to enable business transformation and revenue creation in specific, high-growth areas.

  • LMA recently launched the GNI Subscriptions Lab, in partnership with the Google News Initiative and FTI Consulting. Working with a diverse cohort of 10 local newspapers across North America, the lab helps these companies achieve substantial digital subscription growth, addressing a top pain point in the industry. Through the initiative, large, mid-size, and small newspapers leverage the unique resources and insights of these cutting-edge technology and consulting companies for immediate optimization and longer-term consumer revenue transformation.
  • LMA, in partnership with the Local Media Consortium, launched the $1 million Branded Content Project funded by the Facebook Journalism Project. This two-year program involves alpha and beta phases that will help 30-plus media companies (a mix of broadcasters, newspapers and digital publishers) take their branded content businesses to the next level with a focus on increasing revenue.
  • LMA also established partnerships with the Google News Initiative and Deloitte Consulting to launch the GNI Data Lab, to help selected news organizations transform their businesses through responsible data collection and use, enabling them to provide a more valued consumer experience. Six publishers and broadcasters will participate in the Lab to improve their data capabilities, leveraging this to build and test new digital advertising strategies.

With all projects, LMA will share key insights, best practices, and implementation strategies with the broader community of news organizations to drive widespread adoption. This is a foundational part of Accelerate Local’s mission, not only to evaluate and test promising business models, but to drive delivery and execution by media companies.

For more information on how to participate in future pilot projects, invest in Accelerate Local, or submit an idea for consideration, visit: https://www.localmedia.org/accelerate-local/

About Local Media Association

Local Media Association brings all local media together to network, collaborate and learn. LMA serves more than 3,000 newspapers, broadcasters, digital news sites and research & development partners. With an intense focus on discovering future business models that will sustain local news, the organization specializes in experiential learning via cutting-edge events, research, Innovation Missions and specialized clubs. Learn more at https://www.localmedia.org/.

Contact: Nancy Lane, President, LMA, (843) 504-1019, nancy.lane@localmedia.org