Too often in news today, “joining forces” becomes necessary because of austerity and doing more with less. Conversely, in the case of the newly-formed strategic partnership between the Local Media Association (LMA) and the Local Media Consortium (LMC), it’s about broadening the opportunity for innovation and exploring new, sustainable economic and business models.
The LMA supports more than 3,000 local media organizations with research, training and experiential learning. The LMC represents an alliance of local media businesses that helps its members negotiate partnerships with tech and advertising platforms.
“This will be game-changing for the industry because it combines the negotiating power of the LMC with the research and educational expertise of the LMA,” Chris Loretto, chairman of the LMC board of directors, said in a press release that announced the collaboration.
One of the immediate partnership initiatives will come in the form of a jointly held educational conference scheduled for September 2019. According to LMA president Nancy Cawley Lane, the focus will be on media transformation.
“There are a huge number of players in the local media ecosystem,” she said.
A local media organization could range from a small as a digital-only city-centric news site to large regional titles, such as the Seattle Times and other still major-market titles, Lane explained.
“Sustainable business models is, by far, the top challenge facing the industry, especially on the print side and the digital-only side,” she said. “Newspapers have gone from $60 billion in revenue in 2006 to somewhere in the $25 billion range this year. That is an enormous drop, and of course the number of journalists from 2006 to today has been greatly reduced. Finding sustainable business models that will allow for local news in communities all over North America is critical to the mission of the LMA and the LMC. That’s why we’re joining forces. When you put the two of us together, there’s more brain power in the room.”
Both local media associations have independently invested resources to better partnering with leading tech companies, particularly Google and Facebook. That effort will also be coordinated now.
“If you look at what Facebook and Google are doing right now, they are providing a lot of help and support to the industry,” Lane said. “Our strategy is: Let’s find ways to work together with Facebook and Google that will help us with our sustainable business model problems.”