More than 90 percent of newspapers in the U.S. are “small market,” with a circulation
of 50,000 or less. These newspapers are often family-owned and remain trusted
sources of news and information in the communities they serve.
They also remain economically viable because of the continued demand for their
exclusive hyper-local coverage and their commitment to improving their local
However, many of these media outlets have reached a crossroads. The individuals
and families who nurtured these publications for decades are looking for
new owners who will continue to publish news that holds the powerful accountable
and maintain a strong community presence.
NewStart is a local news ownership initiative, created by West Virginia University's
Reed College of Media in collaboration with the West Virginia Press Association,
which has a mission to recruit, train and support the next generation of
community newspaper owners and publishers across the country.
Who are these new owners? They could be current college students who have an
entrepreneurial flair. They could be current journalists who want to run
their own publication. They could be journalists who have been caught up
in the downsizing of newsrooms that have occurred across the country and
want to start anew. Or they could be entrepreneurs with no journalism background
who know how important journalism is for a healthy democracy and a strong
This one-of-a-kind fellowship program provides a comprehensive ownership transition
plan that matches potential buyers with publications that want to sell, and
offers extensive training for the new owners on how to manage, operate and
grow their media properties. NewStart also is establishing a collaborative
community of media entrepreneurs, who can share best practices and work together
to create a sustainable model for local journalism.
The Media Solutions and Innovation program at WVU is open to more than just selected fellows. Anyone who has an interest in owning their own media outlet is encouraged to apply. The program is also available for current media outlets that would like to train rising stars in their organizations for future leadership positions. More information on enrollment can be found on the Reed College of Media website.
This community media accelerator is designed to strengthen local and regional
news ecosystems to ensure community information needs are being met, while
helping independent news media owners achieve long-term sustainability through
digital transformation and adoption of new business models. This program
will also help to enhance trust in the news media by building on the long-established
relationship between local residents and their hometown newspaper.
For more information on the program, check out our FAQ, and then head to our
Buying and Selling sections or reach out to program director Jim Iovino for more information.