In the year-plus since the Knight x LMA BloomLab launched, 18 Black-owned media organizations participating in the lab (10 in Cohort 1, eight in the more recent Cohort 2) benefited from substantial progress toward long-term sustainability.

The lab, focused on sustainability for Black-owned local news media and supported with a $3.2 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will soon announce a third cohort of eight publishers.

Working with the first two cohorts, lab directors John Celestand, Apryl Pilolli and Robert Walker-Smith led more than 850 consultations thus far, including 12 on-site visits with the participant teams. The directors have prepared a BloomLab Year 1 Impact Report (10 mb PDF) that describes the publishers’ successes to date, and provides illustrative case studies that could be helpful to any small local media organization.

Highlights from the report

  • Cohort 1 participants, as a group, saw 21% total revenue growth (print and digital) and 133% digital revenue growth year-over-year.
  • Lab participants realized more than $1 million in savings on technology thanks to lab-negotiated rates with service providers.
  • More than 150 total technology migrations, including:
    • Four participant companies migrated to new digital content systems and websites.
    • Seven migrated to new email and reader revenue systems.
    • Fifteen completed migration to Google Analytics 4.
    • Fourteen completed Google Ad Manager audits, training and optimization.

How’d they do that?

The 24-page BloomLab Impact Report describes these initiatives and details how each organization adopted and adapted new technology and revenue approaches to meet unique local needs. It is available here for free download.