Media Management Center      Kellogg School of Management      Medill

Research and Innovations to Increase News Readership

The Readership Institute seeks to increase news readership. It conducts actionable research, field-testing of readership-building ideas, and education and training for the news industry on readership-building best practices.

The Institute's most significant studies are:
The Impact study (2000) surveyed more than 37,000 consumers in 100 daily U.S. newspapers to identify current content, service and management practices that got better overall readership results. The Power to Grow Readership summarizes its findings.

The Newspaper Experience study (2003) focused on the feelings, emotions, and reactions that can increase or decrease daily newspaper readership. The 44 distinct newspaper-reading "experiences" identified in the study are described in the study's main paper, The Newspaper Experience Study.

The New Readers study (2004) looked at experiences that cause different age groups - especially younger and more diverse adults - to engage with the newspaper or discount it. It also identified approaches that resonate with them. The concluding report, Reaching New Readers: Revolution not Evolution, urges newspapers to make drastic changes to its editorial, advertising and marketing approaches to capture younger and more diverse readers.

The Star Tribune Experience study (2005), conducted with the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, took all the content and consumer findings from previous research and put them into action in a test with readers under 30. Reinventing the Newspaper for Young Adults describes how "editing for experience" can engage younger readers.

From 2002 to 2007, the Readership Institute partnered with the American Society of Newspaper Editors to conduct dozens of regional workshops around the U.S. to teach newspaper employees to apply the finding of the Institute's research in their daily operations. In 2007 the Institute expanded these seminars to include increasing readership to newspaper websites based on experience research it conducted with the Online Publishers Association.

The Readership Institute is a division of the Media Management Center at Northwestern University. It was founded in 1999 with the support of the Newspaper Association of America and the McCormick Foundation.
On this site:

Research & Reports
This page has links to all of our published research and reports.

Get Smart About Your Readers
This blog discusses a wide range of readership issues.

RI Noted
Brief notes on news related to increasing readership.

RI in the News
Outside reports about our research and activities.

Recommended Readings
Books and articles on change management, culture and leadership.

Other Online Resources
Other organizations and websites concerned with news readership.

The Readership Institute

Mary Nesbitt
Managing Director
phone: 847-467-4285

Steven S. Duke
Managing Director of Training
phone: 847-467-4374

304 Fisk Hall, Northwestern University
1845 Sheridan Road
Evanston, Illinois 60208-2110
phone: 847.491.9900
fax: 847.491.5619

©2011 Readership Institute • 304 Fisk Hall • Northwestern University • 1845 Sheridan Road • Evanston, IL 60208-2110
phone: 847.491.9900 • fax: 847.491.5619 • email: