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 rural 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.

The program at WVU is also available for current media outlets that would like to train rising stars in their organizations for future leadership positions.

This one-of-a-kind online master’s degree program in Media Solutions and Innovation 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.

The first group of students kicked off the program in late June, including five fellows (  More information on curriculum and  enrollment can be found on the Reed College of Media website:

This community media accelerator is designed to strengthen local and regional news ecosystems to ensure community information needs are being met, while helping independent news media owners achieve long-term sustainability through digital transformation and adoption of new business models. This program will also help to enhance trust in the news media by building on the long-established relationship between local residents and their hometown newspaper.

In coordination with the West Virginia Press Association, 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 the NewStart website ( or reach out to program director Jim Lovino at [email protected].

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