Project: A public research project at New York University’s journalism institute to study how news organizations are diversifying their revenue, optimizing for trust, and encouraging members to participate in their journalism.
People: I managed the Membership Puzzle Project with Jay Rosen and Ariel Zirulnick. The project is funded by Democracy Fund, Luminate, and the Knight Foundation.
With decreases in funding for news organizations and crises in public trust, we saw the need to create sustainable paths forward that are more inclusive of audience needs. Membership is one approach to revenue generation and public inclusion and has yet to be comprehensively studied. As research director, I led a global team of designers, reporters, and researchers working to create knowledge products and design principles for the news industry.
At the Membership Puzzle Project, we:
Collected what's already known about making membership work by seeking out the people who have deep experience with membership models (including members themselves). You can see details about our research collaborations with the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, the Global Investigative Journalism Network, the Tow Center at Columbia, and the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin.
Researched all the ways that community members can contribute, not just their money, but their knowledge and expertise. We offered a public database of membership models within news, the first such offering for program understanding and ideation.
Funded innovative membership models that are being tested at news sites as part of a global experiment to identify best practices for sustaining independent journalism in the 21st century.
Helped our editorial partner De Correspondent launch The Correspondent in 2019. The Correspondent will be an English language platform for unbreaking news and will launch in September 2019. Members follow correspondents who have self-defined beats or obsessions, varying from climate change to the future of education. Correspondents bring readers into the journalism process by sharing what they are reporting on and involving their knowledge during their reporting.