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Market-based Opportunities in Local News Innovation: Drafting a Theoretical Framework (WP-20-50)

Stephanie Edgerly, Rachel Davis Mersey, and Owen Youngman

In this paper, the authors advance the argument that local news markets are not one size fits all. In the same way that a singular, monolithic news audience is a thing of the past, news organizations exist within complex communities that provide different opportunities and challenges. As such, the strategies and business models that work for some news organizations (that serve similar communities) will not work for other news organizations (serving different types of communities). Using a secondary analysis of Pew (2019b) survey data from over 35,000 U.S. adults, combined with the typology created by the American Communities Project (2018), the researchers argue that by accounting for these variations and developing a typology of local news markets, more specific strategies for innovation can be recommended, tested, and shared. To conclude, they discuss several recent examples of innovation that have market-level application.

Stephanie Edgerly, Associate Professor of Journalism and IPR Associate, Northwestern University

Rachel Davis Mersey, Professor of Journalism, University of Texas at Austin, and IPR Faculty Adjunct, Northwestern University

Owen Youngman, Professor Emeritus of Journalism, Northwestern University

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