Research & Resources

To survive and to thrive, local news enterprises must be nimble, tech-enabled, and committed to constant innovation. The Lenfest Institute offers a number of resources to help news organizations improve their coverage and discover new tools for sustainability. 

Solution Set

Solution Set is a newsletter covering innovative ideas in journalism, including editorial strategy,  business models, news products and more. Solution Set features long-form case studies on specific projects from news organizations around the country as well as resources that can be applied to any newsroom.

Collaborative Sustainability Guide

An increasing number of local news organizations are collaborating with one another to produce stories, test new technology, host events, and better serve their communities’ information needs. For journalism collaboratives that hope to continue long-term, it’s important to diversify revenue streams beyond philanthropy.

In partnership with Solutions Journalism Network and the Center for Cooperative Media, we created the Collaborative Sustainability Guide to help news organizations navigate and fund their partnerships. The free guide features case studies on journalism collaboratives from across the United States and other resources for project managers and news organizations.

Elements of Nonprofit News Management

Starting a nonprofit news organization requires more than great journalism: You’ll need a solid revenue strategy, operational infrastructure, legal representation, and much more. 

To help nonprofit newsrooms and news entrepreneurs build sustainable organizations, The Lenfest Institute for Journalism published “Elements of Nonprofit News Management,” a book by Richard J. Tofel, the former president and founding general manager of ProPublica. 

The Membership Guide

The Membership Guide is a tactical, practical guide to membership models in news published by the Membership Puzzle Project and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism with support from the Google News Initiative. In addition, we published the Guide as a short email newsletter course in membership, taking you through key steps, identifying best practices, and warning of common mistakes using real world examples.

Digital subscription strategy

As news organizations have been pressed to develop digital subscription and membership models to support themselves, there’s been one question that publisher after publisher asks: How am I doing? 

To help news organizations answer that question and better understand their audiences, we assembled data on how more than 500 news organizations have approached their digital subscription businesses. We also published a playbook on digital pay meter best practices with Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center. 

Signposts for the Future of Local News

The crisis in local news has accelerated rapidly in recent years, but the prospects for emerging solutions are encouraging. At the Local News Summit in 2022, The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and Aspen Digital brought together dozens of thinkers working to reinvent local journalism across the United States.

Together with partners throughout the field, we’re identifying Signposts for the Future of Local News, beginning with a series of essays from industry leaders on how news organizations can move forward and find sustainable solutions.

The Lenfest Local Lab

The Lenfest Local Lab was a local news product & UX team based in Philadelphia that explored ways to make news and news organizations more inclusive and responsive to community needs. Established in 2018 at The Lenfest Institute before moving to The Philadelphia Inquirer until 2022, the Lab developed a number of experiments with news products, including a news mapping tool, hyperlocal newsletters and apps, texting services, and more.

Additional research and resources