Four Scoops I Found Interesting for Sep 06, 2023

Cupcake with berry toppings and a scoop of ice cream on a plate.

A taste of what caught my attention recently includes Newspapers, Rural, Climate Change, Strategic Planning, Membership, Recruitment, and Value.

One of these scoops might be the inspiration you did not know you needed or have been looking for.


Report: Rural Communities Explore New Alternatives to Closing Local Newspapers

What Caught My Attention: “Nonprofit newsrooms, due to their funding structure, are resistant to buyouts and consolidations that have decimated local news landscapes across the United States.

How many newspapers are near you?

Rural communities are hit especially hard by the loss of local newspapers, a study from 2022 found. Now, a new model for a newsroom emerges that could be a viable solution to the growing problem.

The State of Local News 2022 report, released by Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, found that two newspapers close down every week on average, with around 2,500 having closed since 2005. The report also found that more than half of communities that lost papers were in suburban or rural places that were losing population.

Many of these local newspapers closed after they were bought by private equity firms or hedge funds. Alden Global Capital, Lee Enterprises, and Gannett are the nation’s largest newspaper chains, owning close to 800 papers collectively. Professor at Northeastern University’s School of Journalism Dan Kennedy said these entities often target financially vulnerable local newspapers, consolidating multiple papers into one to cut costs and increase revenue.

“Even though in many cases they are losing money or making very little money they’re still pulling in a fairly decent amount of revenue,” Kennedy said. “So if the hedge fund comes in, what they can do is just start slashing the news content, and you lower your expenses and your revenue stays more or less the same, at least for a while until the subscribers and the advertisers catch on and start fleeing.”

These buyouts leave newsrooms without the resources they need to report on local news. Staff positions get cut and newsrooms cut back their coverage until they eventually close, the report said. For rural communities in particular, these closures leave them with few to no reliable sources covering local issues.”

Link to this scoop


Why Climate Change Matters for Every Leader

What Caught My Attention: “Even so, the prevailing sentiment around climate change, for many businesses, is that they’ll think about it when the problem becomes severely pronounced, or when regulation forces their hand. Tufts University Business Professor Bhaskar Chakravorti told Marketwatch last week that leaders are disincentivized to take the long view. “Most CEOs are under pressure to deliver results to analysts and to the market,” he said. “They are in their jobs for less than five years on average. And the returns from any investment they make has a much longer horizon.”

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When Nonprofit Strategic Planning Goes Wrong

What Caught My Attention: “A successful nonprofit strategy is all about getting critical resource decisions right to achieve organizational goals. The strategic planning process is a rare chance for a nonprofit’s leaders to step back and look at their organization and its activities as a whole—to understand what success looks like and to allocate time, talent, and dollars to the activities that can help achieve it.

It sounds straightforward, yet many nonprofit organizations struggle with the strategic planning process, especially when not knowing why, where, or how to start. This is why it’s helpful to understand the frequent ways strategic planning can go wrong up front.”

Link to this scoop


New Report Reveals a Rebound in Membership Numbers

What Caught My Attention: “We saw the hit membership took in our 2021 report. We also saw the negative impact of the Great Recession in our 2010 report,” he said. “However, coming out of those downturns, now for the second time, we have witnessed a remarkable rebound.”

The rebound is likely due to several factors, including a focus on innovative programs and new member recruitment, as well as associations successfully communicating their value proposition to members. Here’s a look at some of the strategies and marketing tactics that stood out in the report.”

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