The Work Department partnered with Detroit’s public radio station WDET 101.9 FM to explore sustainable ways of generating revenue for and from engaged journalism projects. As our testing ground, we used Framed by WDET, an audio-visual series that integrates photography and storytelling to tell the story of ethnic and cultural communities who have a rich legacy in Detroit. The project goals were to:

  • Generate $50,000 in non-grant support
  • Increase contributions from project stakeholders
  • Gain knowledge about the interests of prospective contributors
  • Increase diversity of revenue-generating stakeholders
  • Diversify the channels, messaging, and incentives to encourage giving

WDET staff brainstorming sustainable revenue sources
WDET staff brainstorming sustainable revenue sources

Our design process had four phases: discover, design, do, and evaluate. We wrote a research report documenting current media revenue generating strategies, facilitated workshops with WDET staff, developed implementation frameworks for three experiments, facilitated an evaluation of their first experiment (a Kickstarter campaign for a Framed by WDET photobook), and captured learnings in a final report.

WDET brainstorming and prioritizing ideas for sustainable revenue generation
WDET brainstorming and prioritizing ideas for sustainable revenue generation