What to know about innovation and experimentation at The Philadelphia Inquirer


The Philadelphia Inquirer finds itself in a very interesting position, unlike any other newspaper company in the industry.

Let us count the ways:

• It’s one of just a few major metropolitan newspapers operating as a for-profit entity owned by a non-profit organization.

• The Lenfest Institute drives an incredible amount of innovation for The Inquirer by funding innovation tests and products.

• It is significantly remaking its brand by changing the name of its product and company.

All of that will be on display at the Local Media Association’s next Regional Innovation Mission in Philadelphia, where an extended visit at The Inquirer will be the signature stop of the tour.

In preparation, we have rounded up some fascinating reading about what The Inquirer has been up to:

1. First, what is this non-profit thing about?

What has happened: For three years now, The Inquirer has been a for-profit news organization owned by a non-profit entity. As Nieman Lab explains, the Lenfest Institute owns The Inquirer and helps fund a variety of new innovations and experiments for the news organization. 

What you will learn on the Innovation Mission: IM participants will learn more about the ownership structure from the teams at both The Inquirer and Lenfest, and how that structure is driving innovation.

What you should read:

2. Real product innovation is happening

What has happened: The Inquirer has rolled out several innovative projects since the ownership change: everything from a new content management system to a new food product to an investigative arm that is shining light on critical Pennsylvania issues.

What you will learn on the Innovation Mission: How The Inquirer created roles for analysts, videographers and developers that allowed them to build out a new audience team.

What you should read: 

3. Growing digital subscriptions

What has happened: The news organization is focused on driving its digital subscription business forward. Eyeing what is happening in other large markets such as Boston, The Inquirer is laying foundations to accelerate its growth, including adding email newsletters and improvements to online content sections.

What you will learn on the Innovation Mission: We’ll take a deep dive into the strategies that have resulted in impressive growth in a short period of time.

What to read:

4. How to remake a brand

What has happened: The Inquirer moved its website brand from Philly.com to Inquirer.com. The move was part of its “one brand, one mission” campaign. In addition, the company name changed from Philadelphia Media Network to The Philadelphia Inquirer, a public benefit corporation.

What you will learn on the Innovation Mission:  You’ll learn more about the brand revamp and how these changes all laid the groundwork for ongoing digital transformation.

What you should read:

Click here to register for the Philly Innovation Mission