This academic year, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Pantic on a research study that explores how local news organizations in the United States maintain financial sustainability in a digital era. During the summer of 2019, Dr. Pantic traveled across the country to conduct interviews and obtain information from multiple media outlets. Some of the organizations included Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico, New Haven Register in Connecticut, El Paso Herald Post in Texas, and more. Once Dr. Pantic conducted the interviews, I assessed and edited the transcriptions. I also contributed to the results section of the manuscript.
From our interesting findings, I learned that organizations still rely on advertising to make a profit. On the other hand, many of the local news organizations under study are experimenting with other methods to earn revenue. Some of the methods include reader donations, subscriptions/membership, and designated events. To attract new readers, subscribers, and donations, I learned that media outlets heavily focus on producing original content. While this can be challenging, the data suggests that creating stories that would garner attention at a local level, but not a national level will ultimately help the organizations achieve stability.
Overall, this study was a great experience. While there were times I felt that I wouldn’t complete my portion of the study, thanks to Dr. Pantic’s patience and communication, I did. Not only have I learned a lot, but this study has also prepared me for when I enter the media world. Now, I understand the contemporary nature of the industry and the issues that journalism currently faces. It was an honor to work with Dr. Pantic and I am excited to present our findings at the Research Day virtual event in May.