Here’s another success through our partnership with BGV Media, focussed on helping educational and not-for-profit institutions:
In early 2009, we learned that the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media was looking for help in devising a digital media strategy. The Institute is, in its own words, “the preeminent source of training for reporters and editors on the education beat.” It’s no secret, though, that the number of journalists covering education has shrunk as news organizations have cut back on staff. At the same time, the hunger for journalism about education coverage remains, especially with new initiatives from the Obama administration and budget cuts throughout the country.
Hechinger’s leaders knew that one of the best ways to continue to fulfill its mission “to inform the public about education through quality journalism” was to produce and distribute journalism through other outlets and on their own through digital platforms.
That’s where we came in. Hechinger put out a call, asking for experts who knew digital media from both the business and editorial sides, and could help them devise a strategy. They turned to us for guidance. And over the course of the year, we helped Hechinger craft editorial, business and technology models for digital media based on production of high-quality journalism, funded first by grants, then largely offset by additional revenue streams.
We produced a narrative, as well as financial spreadsheets and presentational materials. We also joined a face-to-face meeting with foundation funders to help Hechinger make its case. In addition, we helped develop an operational plan, workflows and technology choices for an interim site covering a smaller education niche.
Ultimately, Hechinger landed $1 million in grants from the Lumina and Gates foundations. We were thrilled to see Hechinger get the funding, and to be part of the process. We are looking forward to seeing an ambitious new website launch next Spring. The Hechinger Report, as it is being called, will provide in-depth coverage of national education issues on its own and in collaboration with major news organizations.
We know it will all solidify Hechinger’s position as the leader in its field, raise the Institute’s profile and serve as an example for others wishing to emulate the model for producing quality journalism in a time of severe media business disruption.