WVPA Sharing

WVU’s NewStart offering virtual info sessions on newspaper ownership effort

Program starts Friday with West Virginia Press

WV Press Sharing

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Newspaper ownership, community journalism, online news opportunities, college scholarships and fellowships.  The list of topics for discussion during West Virginia University Reed College of Media’s virtual information sessions on NewStart is extensive.

Starting Friday, NewStart Director Jim Iovino, West Virginia Press Association Executive Director Don Smith and an assortment of NewStart fellows are presenting a series of virtual information sessions on the program.

Register online here for this Friday’s session: Oct. 2 – Friday from 10-11 a.m. ET, with Don Smith of the West Virginia Press Association (Register Here). Other sessions this month are listed below.

What is NewStart:

NewStart is a local news ownership initiative, created by West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media in collaboration with the West Virginia Press Association, that has a mission to recruit, train and support the next generation of community newspaper owners and publishers across the country.

Who are these new owners? They could be current college students who have an entrepreneurial flair. They could be current journalists who want to run their own publication. They could be journalists who have been caught up in the downsizing of newsrooms that has occurred across the country and want to start anew.  Or they could be entrepreneurs with no journalism background who know how important journalism is for a healthy democracy and a strong community.

All West Virginia newspapers and more than 90 percent of newspapers in the U.S. are considered “small market,” with a circulation of 50,000 or less. These newspapers are often family-owned and remain trusted sources of news and information in the communities they serve. They also remain economically viable because of the continued demand for their exclusive hyper-local coverage and their commitment to improving their local communities.

However, many of these media outlets have reached a crossroads. The individuals and families who nurtured these publications for decades are looking for new owners who will continue to publish news that holds the powerful accountable and maintain a strong community presence.

During the sessions, viewers will learn more about the NewStart program, potential fellowship and scholarship opportunities, and how to apply for the 2021-22 school year.

The sessions, with all times being Eastern Standard, are as follows:


Oct. 7 – Wednesday from 3-4 p.m., with NewStart student Becky Pallack (Register Here)


Oct. 15 – Thursday from Noon-1 p.m., with NewStart student Victor Hernandez (Register Here)


Oct. 19 – Monday from 6-7 p.m., with NewStart student Becky Pallack (Register Here)


Oct. 27 – Tuesday from 8-9 p.m., with NewStart student Tony Baranowski (Register Here)

For more information on the sessions, email Shannon Cunningham ([email protected]).

This one-of-a-kind fellowship program provides a comprehensive ownership transition plan that matches potential buyers with publications that want to sell, and offers extensive training for the new owners on how to manage, operate and grow their media properties. NewStart also is establishing a collaborative community of media entrepreneurs, who can share best practices and work together to create a sustainable model for local journalism.

Through the West Virginia Press Association partnership, the program offers insight into current small market revenue growth and long-term profitability. Participants will get updates on market analysis, staffing, website development, online presence, digital and print subscriptions, online and print advertising sales, events, sponsorships and partnerships.

For more information on the program, visit https://www.newstart.media/ or reach out to program director Jim Iovino for more information.

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