|Joey Young of Kansas Publishing Ventures, left, followed Nick Mathews of the University of Missouri, right, to discuss his weekly rural newspapers' role in the interventional research being done by Mathews and his colleagues. (Photo by Al Cross)|
"Our data reveals a profound grip of fear in rural weekly newsrooms, leaving leaders in a paralyzing state of inaction and risk aversion," Mathews said. "Innovation is undermined as they exhibit a pronounced lack of urgency and passively await the emergence of an industry trailbazer. In other words, some newsroom leaders would rather follow than lead into the future."
The researchers' surveys found that readers are more willing to support them with non-subscription revenue than publishers think. That has been previously reported, so Mathews' presentation emphasized the focus groups that they held with the publishers, which Mathews said found "an overall hesitancy to embrace contemporary innovations."