Media advisory: New book chronicles successful business model for rural newspapers

LAWRENCE — As news deserts expand and challenges to small newspapers grow, a new book aims to help such publications employ a new business model to survive and thrive. “Reviving Rural News: Transforming the Business Model of Community Journalism in the U.S. and Beyond” shares the results of an experiment that has proven viable and can help papers update a financial model that’s been in place nearly unchanged for 200 years.

Teri Finneman, associate professor of journalism at the University of Kansas, led an experiment with Kansas Publishing Ventures, which owns and operates Harvey County Now in Newton and the Hillsboro Free Press in Hillsboro. Finneman is available to speak with media about the book recommendations, current and future publishing business models, news deserts, the central role newspapers play in rural areas, the history of journalism and similar topics.

Written with co-authors Nick Mathews of the University of Missouri and Patrick Ferrucci of the University of Colorado, “Reviving Rural News” details the project in which researchers and their publishing partners developed and tested a model known as Press Club. Based on surveys with more than 400 rural readers, the model is designed to help weekly publications expand from the advertising and subscription model that has been dominant since the 19th century. The book shares findings from the experiment as well as historical context on American publishing and recommendations on how to adapt financial strategies of weekly newspapers to suit modern readers.

Based on data from surveys, focus groups and a yearlong oral history study of Kansas Publishing Ventures, the book shares a template that includes memberships, events and newsletters to engage community members via the Press Club model.

“It’s one thing for researchers to predict what business model could work. Our strategy was actually implemented in a working newsroom, which saw both significant revenue gains and improvements in community relations as a result of fairly simple changes,” Finneman said.

Finneman has conducted research, including oral histories, of how newspapers operated during the pandemic and is publisher of the Eudora Times, a community newspaper serving Eudora produced by KU students, and is host of the podcast Journalism History. To schedule an interview about the book and newspaper business models, contact Mike Krings at 785-864-8860 or by email

Mon, 03/04/2024


Mike Krings

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