Innovating Journalism Structures and Processes: media labs, innovation teams, methods and beyond

Mills, John orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4491-6796, Nunes, Ana Cecília Bisso and Pellanda, Eduardo Campos (2023) Innovating Journalism Structures and Processes: media labs, innovation teams, methods and beyond. Project Report. University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), Preston, UK.

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Since receiving funding in 2019, this project investigated innovation practices within the news industry; identifying their strengths and limitations and creating usable research d ataand tools to have a tangible impact on solving the challenges journalism faces.

With the support of the first ever European Media Management’s (emma) collaborative research grant, researchers from Europe and Latin America united to explicitly answer the question: what innovation processes and structures are emerging from news media publishers, and how is their efficacy judged? Adopting a mixed methods approach, combining quantitative and qualitative perspectives, the team reviewed previous research projects, designed and conducted workshops with journalism innovators and media lab leaders, developed a set of 68 innovation cards, interviewed five funders and 14 news media practitioners and consultants, all to explore a central theme for the news innovation.

More than presenting these data, the three-year investigation resulted in:
• a 6-stage maturity model for news innovation to assess, manage and cultivate innovation: a new tool based on factors as actors involved & leadership, strategy, innovation perception & culture, process and performance management.
• a workshop methodology to envision journalism innovation structures: with a digital template for virtual facilitation and instructions along with cards for face-to-face experiences, released to the community.
• a news innovation website: with methods pack, resources, papers published, research project history and findings, along with additional materials.
• a range of academic and industry publications: over the course of the project, we have published in Journals, books, spoken at conferences, embedded our findings to under-graduate and post-graduate curricula, produced industry reports and submitted evidence to a UK Parliamentary enquiry into the future of journalism.

By exploring innovation methods, processes and roles within news media organisations across Europe and LatinAmerica, the team considered the wider ecosystem, investigating a sample of media innovation funders to better understand their role approaches and impact.

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