Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Jobs-to-Be-Done and Journalism Innovation: Making News More Responsive to Community Needs

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Abstract:  Developing successful innovations in journalism, whether to improve the quality and reach of news or to strengthen business models, remains an elusive problem. The challenge is an existential concern for many news enterprises, particularly for smaller news outlets with limited resources. By and large, media innovation has been driven by never-ending pivots in the search for a killer solution, rather than by long-term strategic thinking. This article argues for a fresh approach to innovation built around the “jobs to be done” (JTBD) hypothesis developed by the late Clayton Christensen and typically used in business studies of innovation. However, attempts to bring the JTBD framework into the news industry have never taken hold, while scholars, too, have largely overlooked the framework in their study of journalism innovation. We argue that the JTBD approach can foster local journalism that is more responsive and relevant to the needs of local communities. It reorients journalism by focusing on identifying and addressing the underserved needs of communities, as understood by the communities themselves. It suggests that a bottom-up approach to appreciating the “jobs” that community members want done offers a model that supports both the editorial and business imperatives of local news organizations.

Keywords:  audience; business; community needs; engagement; innovation; jobs to be done; journalism; management



© Seth C. Lewis, Alfred Hermida, Samantha Lorenzo. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.