The Cause Is Personal…
The SNA Foundation is the only organization of its kind that focuses its efforts exclusively on suburban and community newspapers and supports their role as the leading local information providers, now and in the future, by providing information to help them transform in a digital world; thus helping them preserve and enhance the essential role they play in their respective communities — to serve and promote an informed and participatory local citizenship.
The SNA Foundation understands that community newspaper markets are unique and thus face different challenges and opportunities than their large metropolitan daily counterparts. That is why sponsoring specialized research and educational programs is critical in helping our segment of the industry continue to evolve as information needs and access methods change in local communities.
The Suburban Newspapers of America (SNA) Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable trust, is affiliated with Suburban Newspapers of America (SNA), the largest suburban and community newspaper trade association in North America, representing over 2,000 newspapers with more than 22 million in circulation.
To provide information which guides community and suburban newspaper publishers to better identify and better fulfill future communication needs in changing communities through research and education.
Research and Education
Recent initiatives sponsored by the SNA Foundation include:
Community Web Sites Research Study
The SNA Foundation sponsored the community Web site portion of the SNA Suburban Market study conducted by the Reynnolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri, with more than 2,600 telephone interviews of suburban adults in 11 DMAs across the U.S. This portion of the study examines suburban adults’ online habits and interests; including the content and features they would find most useful on a community Web site, mobile usage, and more. Research findings available for free download. (Released: January 2010) Request this Report
Research Project: Striking a Balance Between Community Journalism and Citizen Participation: A Study About User-Generated Content on Newspaper Web Sites
The SNA Foundation recently received a grant from the McCormick Foundation to fund a research study of more than 3,000 newspaper Web site users to examine the public’s expectations regarding user-submitted content on newspaper Web sites and whether it can compromise the newspaper’s brand and journalistic integrity. The goal of the study is to help guide local publishers as to how they can become even more comprehensive and participatory local media by engaging and supporting meaningful public interaction with their online offerings, but in a way that allows them to integrate user submissions while still maintaining their reputation and credibility. Results are now available in a comprehensive report that includes extensive executive summary, explanation of findings and data slides. Request this Report
Specialized Multimedia E-Learning in Partnership with The Poynter Institute’s News University
The SNA Foundation received a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for a community journalism e-learning initiative to develop e-courses designed specifically to help suburban and community journalists make the transition to a multimedia publishing strategy. These specialized e-courses are designed to help local publishers, editors and journalists learn how to extend their presence from print to multimedia, leverage their influence and serve their communities in even bigger and more relevant ways. Three courses are now available:
- Innovation at Work: Making New Ideas Succeed
This e-course is designed to help you make innovation successful in your organization, including identifying innovative projects, overcoming roadblocks, and engaging your colleagues and management in the opportunities. Examples from both inside and outside the industry make this course applicable for staff at all levels of the organization and in all departments.
- Build & Engage Local Audiences Online
This e-course is designed to help suburban and community journalists and editors make the transition to a multimedia world, including how to attract and retain online audience.
- Leading an Online Newsroom: What You Need to Know
This e-course is designed to help local newspaper editors tackle the challenges of publishing in the digital age, including the importance of instituting a Web-first approach, adapting workflow for a modern news cycle, and training and hiring the right people to make it happen.
A seminar snapshot entitled Layout Driven Editing is also available. This special seminar snapshot provides lessons from the publisher of two local Swedish newspapers where they implemented an innovative process in which stories are written to fit pre-designed page templates; saving time, reducing errors and gaining more local news coverage.
All are free, interactive, and self-paced.
Insights from Social Networking Best Practices Research Project
This research, released in October 2008, examines how community newspapers can best incorporate social networking into their online offerings to help them increase community engagement and traffic to their Web sites. In-depth analyses of four social networking sites (affiliated with newspapers and from outside the industry) were conducted, including extensive interviews with site executives and nearly 3,000 completed user surveys. Results identify best practices and lessons learned from the sites studied; including content, operational issues, user feedback and revenue models. Based on the combined insights from the executive interviews and the user surveys, we provide guidelines for local newspaper publishers on how they can successfully implement social networking on their Web sites. Request this Report
At the Canadian Newspaper Association/Canadian Community Newspapers Association’s national conference in Montreal, Quebec in May 2009, SNA Foundation Executive Director Susan Karol discusses how community newspapers can benefit from adding social networking to their online offerings. Watch video
Innovation Mission to Norway & Sweden
The SNA Foundation hosted a six-day study mission in September 2008 to meet with executives from innovative Scandinavian media companies to learn about their multimedia and organizational success. The Foundation sponsored an Innovation Mission Multimedia Reporter to accompany our group and contribute articles, blogs, videos (see below) and photos about the trip and what we learned. The Foundation is making a comprehensive report, Developing the Local Media House: Lessons Learned from Norway & Sweden, available to the industry at no charge. Request this Report
The American Press Institute’s Newspaper Next Innovation Project
The SNA Foundation sponsored SNA member Web site www.WickedLocal.com as one of seven demonstration projects nationwide in the American Press Institute’s transformation report. Disruptive innovation education is used to challenge newspapers to develop innovative, sustainable opportunities and solutions for the future. For a copy of the first Newspaper Next report, Blueprint for Transformation, click here. Newspaper Next’s updated report, Making the Leap Beyond ‘Newspaper Companies’, can be accessed by clicking here.
We Need Your Help
Donations to the SNA Foundation help offset the cost of research projects, analysis of best practices and development of educational materials and seminars. Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated and are tax deductible.
SNA Foundation Board of Directors
Some of the brightest minds from the community newspaper industry make up the SNA Foundation Board of Directors. There is a good mix of companies represented including large publicly-traded and smaller privately-owned. The board also represents a mix of dailies and weeklies but all are the dominant source of local, community news in the markets that they serve. The Foundation Board welcomes your comments, input and ideas for future projects.