While the business model for news continues to evolve, many newsrooms believe that deeper and more meaningful relationships with readers will be critical to sustained viability. As reliance on advertising declines, some newsrooms are tethering their financial success to building and sustaining subscription revenue. This requires deep and meaningful engagement: getting to know readers very well and being highly disciplined and methodical about providing high-value reporting that readers will pay for.
Online and offline activities can amplify solutions stories, driving audience interest and creating feedback loops that can inform future coverage and alert you to the impact of your work. Activities can be implemented to collect feedback across the life of a story, from idea generation to post-publication reactions. This approach brings the public into editorial decision-making, making your newsroom more transparent and strengthening your reporting.
For newsrooms that are making institutional shifts towards solutions journalism, the ties between solutions journalism, engagement, and customer value are often explicitly articulated as a strategically interdependent relationship. (For example, read how Executive Editor Bro Krift describes the desired outcomes of the Montgomery Advertiser’s shift towards solutions journalism in this op-ed, and in our Editor’s Guide.) Some of our partners are finding success in a business model in which reporters cultivate deep and meaningful relationships with readers as they do deep-dive, solutions reporting.
“What’s really the closest harmony between the Monitor’s mission and business model? Clearly that is a long-term relationship with readers. We can’t have a glancing relationship with you...We need a deep and abiding relationship where we produce things of value.”
“To me, solutions journalism sounds like a no-brainer. It's being truly responsive to your audience and giving them the knowledge to move forward.”
“I think the road for most [newsrooms] to financial success is around the idea that we’re going to get more of our money from subscribers. The key to me is picking topics that you report on, you go very, very deep on, that’s where people are going to pay. As an editor, I would much rather be beholden to my subscribers than to my advertisers.”