Student media finances: Resources and deeper dives

One of the top concerns facing student media is financial durability. If you haven’t yet, we recommend you start by checking out our Student Media Financial Survival Strategies page, where you’ll find ideas and tools geared specifically to high school and college journalists.

Here you’ll find a sampling of resources and guidance on some of those strategies. We’ve also included a list of organizations working toward financial sustainability of local and/or student news.

Have suggestions to add to this page? Email Diana Mitsu Klos at

Coping with more disruption in the 2020-21 academic year and beyond

It’s impossible to truly predict how the 2020-21 academic year will go, but these links will get you up to speed on what we do know and what disruptions to expect including economic fallout, school reopenings and layoffs.

Sustaining local news

  • Industry Outlook and a Path to the “New Normal” for Local News, Local Media Association webinar — Newspaper revenue projections for the remainder of 2020 to 2022, and how to navigate the online transition through three phases: Lockdown, Transition and the New Normal. Presentation slides.
  • Curing Local News For Good, Columbia Journalism Review article — Steve Waldman, the co-founder of Report for America details both urgent, temporary ways to preserve local news organizations and longer term solutions. These strategies cover incorporation status, de-consolidation of ownership, the funding priorities of public media, direct aid to journalists, and strengthening nonprofit news organizations. He also considers government support, with an eye toward structures that guarantee independence and strict non-partisanship.
  • The Democracy Fund’s Local News Lab encourages new kinds of collaborations among journalists, newsrooms, and communities. 
  • The Crisis in Local News webinar by The Aspen Institute and Knight Foundation — Local news, in crisis before the pandemic, is now facing a cataclysm. Advertising has plummeted. Print has no market. And consolidation has driven record cuts. At stake are not only jobs, but the access to critical trustworthy information for millions of Americans.
  • Business Models for Local News A Field Scan by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard University — A 2018 overview of how to diversify and strengthen income streams for journalism, from philanthropy to new news products.
  • The Strategic Digital Media Entrepreneur, book by Penelope Muse Abernathy and Joann Sciarrino, published in 2019 — Abernathy is the force behind “The Expanding News Desert” studies that chronicle the steep decline of local newspapers, the growth of news deserts and its implications for communities and democracy, and efforts to sustain community journalism.

Sponsors, members, donors and subscribers


Not all of the following organizations are specifically oriented toward college news outlets, but all are geared, at least in part, toward financial sustainability of local news. As you continue to research financial strategies for your newsroom, these are some of the organizations you can look to for guidance.

Page last updated Sept. 17, 2020