Newspapers Get Smart With One Day University

With print advertising in decline and digital ads growing slower than hoped, it’s no secret that newspaper publishers are looking for new sources of revenue.

One of the promising areas of new business is events -- including conferences, consumer expos, and the like -- all of which benefit from a newspaper’s local brand recognition and trusted reputation.

With their authority and editorial expertise, newspapers are especially well positioned to profit from growing demand for continuing education among well-heeled readers with intellectual interests.

Toward that end, dozens of newspapers across the U.S. have partnered with One Day University, an organization that arranges for nationally recognized instructors from colleges and universities to teach one-day courses about a range of topics, catering to adults who love learning -- “like fantasy camp for the academic minded,” as the company describes itself. 



The program emphasizes the high quality of its teachers, according to founder Steven Schragis: “All of our speakers are renowned for their great teaching,” adding the other usual academic credentials don’t count.

“It doesn’t matter if they’re great researchers, or if they’re tenured; these are people who love teaching and are great at it.” Schragis was quick to add that there is no homework and no tests.

Through its partnership program, newspapers can work with One Day University to host co-branded events, sharing the revenues while strengthening their relationship with their most engaged readers. The events also provide a new opportunity for advertisers, which can participate in the courses as sponsors with on-site messages and experiential marketing.

Schragis noted: “Newspaper publishers can reach out to their existing advertisers and give them something new. The audience members are people who live in the local community. While you might only have 600 to 700 people in the audience, that’s exactly who you want to reach if you’re an auto dealer or financial services.”

The list of newspapers that have partnered with One Day University to host events includes The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Seattle Times, Dallas Morning News, Arizona Republic, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, San Diego Union Tribune, Miami Herald and Washington Post, among others.

One Day University was founded in 2006 by Schragis, who previously served as national director of the Learning Annex, as well as CEO of the Citadel Publishing Group and publishing director of Spy Magazine.

Schragis runs the program together with his business partner Kevin Brennan, who is managing director.

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