Media Management Center      Kellogg School of Management      Medill

Impact Study: Overview Page
Impact Study: The Power to Grow Readership

The Readership Institute was launched in October 1999 because of a strong but unproved belief among newspaper leaders that the decline in readership — a slow but steady trend over the past 30 years — could be reversed.

The Impact study was designed to test this belief — to help newspapers grow sustainable readership through research that can be put into action and yield measurable results. Impact asked:
  • What enables newspapers to get above-average results with readers?

  • How does specific newspaper content and service influence readership?

  • How do newspapers' people, culture and management practices influence readership, or enable newspapers to change to meet changing reader needs and interests?

To answer these questions, Impact studied more than 37,000 consumers in 100 daily newspaper markets across the U.S. In addition, Impact looked at 74,000 stories as part of a content analysis of these newspapers, covering all types of news information that appear in daily and Sunday newspapers, and some types of advertising. Impact also did an in-depth exploration of the newspapers' organizations.

The Institute's Impact study has shown that if newspapers improve their editorial and advertising content, culture and management practices, brand perceptions, and service excellence, readership can grow.

Impact Quick-Read Summary - PDF
A brief guide to the Impact study

The Power to Grow Readership - PDF
A report on the results of the Impact study, including the eight imperatives to grow readership.

The Power to Grow Readership - PowerPoint
A PowerPoint presentation on the Impact study.

El Poder Para Aumentar la Lectoria - PowerPoint
A Spanish language version of "The Power to Grow Readership" PowerPoint presentation.

The Impact of Impact - PDF
An ongoing report on how newspapers are putting the Impact study to work.

Impact Study

Additional Information


©2012 Readership Institute • 304 Fisk Hall • Northwestern University • 1845 Sheridan Road • Evanston, IL 60208-2110
phone: 847.491.9900 • fax: 847.491.5619 • email: