August 5, AEJMC Pre-Conference Workshop
Saving Community Journalism:
What Professors Need to Know About the Business of Local News in the Digital Age
Without profitable business models for legacy newspapers as well as digital start-ups, large swaths of the country could become “news deserts,” bereft of the sort of local journalism that has nurtured our democracy for two centuries. Saving community journalism requires equipping journalism graduates with the tools they need to succeed. All too often, an understanding of the business side of journalism is lacking from journalism education. Students need to understand financial models for news organizations and where the pressure points are, especially for local news organizations.
At an AEJMC pre-conference workshop titled “Saving Community Journalism: What Professors Need to Know About the Business of Local News in the Digital Age,” my colleague JoAnn Sciarrino and I will share what we have learned about how to incorporate business learning into our undergraduate and graduate curriculum. The workshop will address these four questions:
- How is the news industry changing and what is the key to a sustainable business model? How can students use business statements to understand a news organization?
- What are some simple research tools students can use to help news organizations get reliable real-time information so they can make better decisions?
- How can case studies be used to engage journalism students in solving business problems?
- How can you evaluate the potential profitability of a new product or idea?
We hope you can join us at the workshop to learn how to update journalism education to include business fundamentals. You can register for the workshop by clicking here. For a schedule of the workshop, click here.
How do you use the book, Saving Community Journalism, in the classroom? What materials on this site can be incorporated into your lesson plans? What other online resources are available, such as case studies and book excerpts? How are other professors using this material?
Just For Educators is designed specifically with journalism instructors in mind. All or select chapters in the book and the material on this site can be used to enrich instruction in these classes:
- Introductory news reporting
- Community journalism
- Media strategy and business of news
- Entrepreneurial journalism
- Foundations of journalism
- Management and leadership of news operations
- Innovation and digital start-ups
Here’s what’s available to access and download from this site:
Multimedia case study with teaching note and epilogue, focusing on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Whiteville News Reporter, as it attempts to transition from a print-only world to a digital business model. “Chasing the Community Newspaper Rainbow: the Whiteville News Reporter and the Digital Age” builds on and updates the smaller case studies on the newspaper that are embedded in Chapters Four through Seven. Professors can access the free case and teaching note by clicking here.
Condensed excerpt of Chapter 3, How Newspapers Must Change, which summarizes the three-pronged strategy recommended in the book. It can be used as a student reading assignment or as background information to inform classroom instruction and discussion. This is available on the American Journalism Review site by clicking here.
Other Resources: This includes a slide presentation shared by University of Kentucky professor Al Cross, demonstrating how he incorporated the material in Chapters One, Two and Six into an online community journalism class discussion. (Click here.) In addition, instructors can access the syllabus and lesson plans of University of North Carolina professors who are teaching innovation, media economics and digital strategies.
Student Insights into the Saving Community Journalism project: This includes a selection of quotes from students explaining what they learned about leadership from working side-by-side with editors and publishers of community newspapers as they developed and implemented digital strategies. It also includes a recent syllabus for the class, “Leadership in a Time of Change.”