Working with five major African-American-owned newspapers, LMA is using its recently launched accelerator program to help the papers expand digital revenue.
The Local Media Association has been working in recent months to bring an accelerator mindset to its membership. Last week, it announced the first standalone project in its Accelerate Local initiative: a “digital transformation lab” for African-American newspapers.
Five big-city papers—The Atlanta Voice, The Dallas Weekly, New York Amsterdam News, Houston Defender, and The Washington Informer—are pilot papers in the initiative. The five papers have been published an average of more than 75 years each but have struggled to transition to the digital age: Less than 10 percent of their revenue comes from digital, according to LMA.
“The black press, like the rest of the local media industry, needs help when it comes to digital transformation strategies,” LMA President Nancy Lane said in a news release.
Accelerate Local will help the newspapers assess and analyze long- and short-term opportunities; test two to three projects with their audiences; and then assess and set a path forward for the next 12 to 18 months as they build out the projects.
The program will be led by Accelerate Local Managing Director Peter Newton, who served in executive roles at GateHouse Media, The Boston Globe, and Monster.com. Newton will coach the pilot participants, and LMA is seeking volunteer assistance in the program from industry partners.
“We couldn’t be more excited to launch digital transformation for publishers of color as our first standalone Accelerate Local project,” LMA and Accelerate Local Chief Strategy Officer Jed Williams said in the release. “We are passionate about the role of the black press in North America and look forward to working with these five progressive publishers to reinvent business models for news.”