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News Media

Preservation and evolution: Local newspapers as ambidextrous organizations

Abstract:

This study uses 48 in-depth interviews with managers, editors, and reporters at local and regional newspapers and their parent companies in four countries (Finland, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom) to examine how they discuss changes to their business models and the ways their news organizations are adapting to emerging audience-consumption trends in the digital environment. The results show that interviewees continue to prioritize the economic importance of their print products, despite declines in advertising and subscriptions. They also believe that for local news to continue, journalists must better understand the business strategies of their news organizations. Finally, they acknowledge the value of experimenting with new approaches to monetization, including implementing paywalls and using analytics to personalize content. In balancing the merits of their print products with their desire to develop new digital offerings, local newspapers seek to operate as ‘ambidextrous organizations’ that exploit the products of the past while exploring innovations that may help sustain them in the future.

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