INMA recommends News Sustainability Project to members

By Earl J. Wilkinson

International News Media Association (INMA)

Dallas, Texas, United States

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The News Sustainability Project has released a diagnostic tool, in beta, that will allow publishers globally to assess their sustainability readiness, compare their business performance against relevant peers and receive tailored recommendations.   

It’s the biggest diagnostic project of its type and more than 20 months in preparation. A high-powered external expert advisory panel was brought together to guide the work. 

Key executives of INMA corporate members were involved in the 50 deep-dive interviews that laid the foundation for the tool, and many INMA members have participated in earlier dry-runs. Nearly 500 companies have been involved in the research. 

The tool is available now in its beta form.
The tool is available now in its beta form.

INMA helped FT Strategies and Google News Initiative shape the project. 

The central focus of the project is to deepen understanding of sustainability across the news ecosystem and bring those insights to life through a self-service diagnostic mode. The survey will also support gathering insights into business models. 

Why it’s important: It’s free, it’s vast in ambition, and it assists media assess their sustainability as a business with scores comparing them to best practice benchmarks, producing customised recommendations, and tailored project plans.

Making it relevant: There are 11 archetypes of news media companies that are divided and compared by ownership-type, business type, size, geography, audience focus, and revenue focus. The archetypes are explained here. While the sustainability of the business of journalism is a complex topic, breaking into these categories allows publishers to understand potential pathways to success that might be relevant for them. 

Dive in: You can set up an account and complete the diagnostic here. If you’d like to receive a free consultation on your report and provide feedback on the tool, you can sign up here. Arun Venkataraman from the Google News Initiative provides an overview of the project in this video:

What about market-sensitive data: All your information remains confidential. Google and INMA do not have access to the raw data or publisher-specific data submitted. Only a handful of FT Strategies employees have access for the sole purposes of verifying the accuracy of your data. INMA expects that completing the survey will almost certainly require your CFO’s office to assemble the numbers, but the questions are shaped to make it as practical as possible. 

What you get: The diagnostic tool delivers an instant report with scores, recommendations, and tailored plans. If your company participated in the early proof-of-concept version, you may wish to now enter your latest data so it is compared against the full dataset. 

What’s next: The News Sustainability Project is in beta, which means it will be fine-tuned as more publishers enter their data ahead of its full launch soon. INMA will report back with a summary of the insights the project generates on the drivers of success across the regions and media types so you can get a broad fix on the DNA of the highest performers in news media.

Feedback: We at INMA are also keen to hear directly from you with any feedback about the project’s usefulness for your business or brand, so drop us a line with how you rate it.

About Earl J. Wilkinson

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