The Ascent of Digital Education and Journalism in America’s Smaller Newspapers
The journalism industry is one in which technology and both institutions and citizens have figured out how to “build” a journalism product (an open online format) that people will actually pay for. In short, what we are witnessing is the rise of the hybrid journalism model where products and services are built upon and supported by real-world revenue sources. So what does this mean for every other sector of the economy?
More of the same
For business, the hybrid model is the phrase we have used all along to describe the rise of mobile, social, digital media, content production, and an e-commerce element to almost every industry sector from craft beer to coffee to catering. What this means is that each sector is adapting to the digitization of the industries they service in order to adapt to new world paradigms and shape tomorrow’s economy.
Though this transformation comes with relatively low investor interest and the public still isn’t fully behind this model, a new study published by MIT’s Sloan School of Management on the future of online education offers a depressing yet unsurprising picture: The majority of major U.S. universities face “serious financial distress” as non-graduate educational revenues decline and the price of delivering online courses is rising.
That also means that the media (both traditional and digital) faces a major cost savings opportunity by outsourcing to partners that are available on demand (i.e. providers of print and digital content and services) and offering services on the cheap (i.e. providers of printing and data hosting). This opens up the educational experience to a much wider spectrum of consumers with greater purchasing power and makes content providers much more profitable. It also means that the traditional library model, which is currently “outdated”, will be put to greater use: offering content that is sharable through social media, available for purchase in digital format, or simply saved as part of a library collection.
The lessons from the media and other sectors are clear: you don’t need to create a new model if you can create a streamlined, cost-effective learning experience that your customers can immediately take advantage of.
Cross Platform for Bootstrapped Presses
A similar approach is gaining traction for small newspapers across the country. Yet another study published by MIT’s Sloan School of Management highlights how the hybrid model can be used to provide a comprehensive analysis of trends in the media industry. It is used by small businesses on the supply side of media to deliver true holistic analysis of what readers want while measuring the success of individual articles.
The authors of the paper, William Smyser, David Burger, and Shulamit Block, note that the growing role of social media as a destination for both news and analysis has provided significant opportunities for many small publishers who are eager to improve their audience acquisition, engagement, and monetization.