The last two presentations will come from Nick Mathews of the University of Missouri and Joey Young of Kansas Publishing Ventures, whose newspapers are experimenting with alternate forms of revenue as part of research by Mathews and his colleagues, Teri Fimmeman of the University of Kansas and Patrick Ferruci of the University of Colorado.
The academics surveyed publishers and readers in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas. At last year’s summit, Finneman reported on North Dakota, saying that 40 percent of readers there said they are likely or very likely to donate to their local paper to keep it going. Kansas Publishing Ventures, which publishes four weeklies, has been testing alternative revenue sources for the last year, and Mathews and Young will report on that experiment.
|Joey and Lindsey Young|
Mathews will discuss focus groups the researchers did with publishers. Generally, “They’re thinking about the future but not acting on the future, either stuck in the day-to-day or content with where they are,” or looking for a path of change thatg has been proven, he said this week. “We need to be more proactive about this and have a sense of urgency [and] understand how bad this is.”
Young will report on the experiment from the publisher’s point of view. Later in the day, his wife Lindsey Young will talk about “Earn Your Press Pass,” a popular program to help publishers open up who they recruit into their newsrooms and hopefully make it easier to fill positions. The program is being implemented in 18 states.
Leading off the Summit will be a status report from the State of Local News Project at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, delivered by Zachary Metzger, the project’s senior researcher and database manager. He works with Local News Initiative Director and Senior Associate Dean Tim Franklin and Professor Penelope Muse Abernathy, who began the research into news deserts and ghost newspapers. He will discuss the lack of digital news sites in rural areas, give examples of ghost papers and discuss how that term could be defined.
Ross McDuffie, chief portfolio officer of the National Trust for Local News, will reveal the results of a survey taken this month of rural publishers, asking how they view the future of their newspapers. The survey was conducted with the help of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky, publisher of The Rural Blog and sponsor of the Summit.