Google News Initiative, Public Media Venture Group Partner For Local Media Effort

The Google News Initiative (GNI) is teaming up with nonprofit business development group the Public Media Venture Group (PMVG) to create the Public Media Merger Project, an effort to devise business models for local public media newsroom mergers.

The PMVG is comprised of 31 public media licensees.

The ventures cite at least nine mergers between public broadcasters and digital newsrooms that have taken place since 2013. However, they also note there aren’t good business models to support mergers of this type.

The project will involve nine organizations that include broadcasters and digital brands, such as WNET’s NJ Spotlight and NJTV, Colorado Public Radio and the Denverite, WHYY and Billy Penn, Rocky Mountain Public Media, and Southern California Public Radio’s KPCC and

Dr. Elizabeth Hansen will lead the research portion of the project. Hansen’s work deals with the digital transformation of newsrooms and the dynamics of leading and managing innovation.



Hansen will write the Local Public Media Playbook over the next nine months, creating a field guide for mergers between public media entities and local digital newsrooms.

Hansen’s playbook will look at mergers that have taken place since 2013 and include in-depth studies of mergers that have launched over the last two years. 

The resulting guide will focus on the strategic, technical, cultural, mission-based, financial and branding challenges that may be faced as a result of a merger.

Users will also have access to user-focused information around organizational and governance decisions, financial and technical performance indicators, leadership dynamics, and commercial versus non-commercial partnership concerns.

The project will also hold two meetings hosted by the PMVG and GNI that will examine peer learning and capacity-building work between public media and digital newsroom groups, foundations and other entities focused on the future of local journalism.

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