Publishers add more online education programs


The pandemic has sparked renewed interest in online education programs, like Masterclass and Coursera. Now, publishers including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Penske Media’s Rolling Stone and WWD are adding more programs to their digital education portfolios.

The New York Times has been in the digital education arena for decades. Launched in 1998, the Newspaper Editor’s Learning Network provides approximately 1,000 new resources each year, including teaching materials, activities, lesson plans and writing instructions (in part through a partnership with Verizon) to middle and high school students and teachers. But in recent years, he has beefed up those offerings by launching a series of new programs after expanding his team size.

In 2012, The Times had two employees working on The Learning Network, and as of September 2019, it had four. But his team has more than doubled in the past two years, with nine full-time employees now, according to Michael Gonchar, editor-in-chief of The Learning Network.

During the pandemic, the Learning Network added around 20 webinars on topics such as writing, math, and social studies, two live events where students could ask questions of Times reporters, and a professional development program for The Times. ‘one year for teachers. Today, the team is working on a year-long study program focused on journalism and information literacy for students that will likely be available over the next year, following the successful completion of a Previous program the team produced on course writing two years ago, Gonchar said.

“The Times sees us as part of its corporate responsibility to give back to the world of education. To get kids interested in the news and help teachers bring the world into their classrooms… and maybe one day they’ll choose to subscribe, ”said Gonchar.

The Wall Street Journal has found that online education programs can help stimulate more active direct relationships with the public. In August 2020, the publisher launched its first free class-style newsletter – the Six-Week Money Challenge – to help people with their finances, followed by a six-week Fitness Challenge last winter with exercises that could be done at home.

The Fitness Challenge had “one of the highest open and click-through rates we’ve seen for a WSJ newsletter,” led readers to the Journal’s website, Ebony Reed said, The Wall Street Journal’s new audience leader, in an emailed statement. The Journal refused to share these rates. Whatever the numbers were, they were enough to get the publisher to launch another newsletter education program. On June 3, the Journal announced a five-part course on equity investing written by WSJ Heard on the Street columnists called the Investing Challenge.

As informative as the publications may be, education is not necessarily their area of ​​expertise. That’s why Penske Media like WWD and Rolling Stone have turned to the online education platform Yellowbrick, which currently has over a dozen programs, working with media companies like Complex and Condé Nast. and schools like the Fashion Institute of Technology and New York University.

Publishers work with Yellowbrick by contributing content and promoting the program to their audiences. Yellowbrick offers production, development, technology, marketing and paying customer acquisition for the programs, according to Rob Kingyens, CEO and co-founder of Yellowbrick. Publishers are paid through a revenue sharing agreement. Everyone Digiday spoke to for this story declined to provide details of the deals. WWD and Rolling Stone courses cost $ 999, each offering five units.

“I don’t know if we could have built this ourselves,” said Amanda Smith, president of Fairchild Media, which owns brands like WWD and is part of Penske Media. Yellowbrick has “a real understanding of what schools need and expect from programs like this. We know the fashion industry very well, ”she said.

WWD created a program in February with Yellowbrick called Fashion Business Essentials, in conjunction with The School of Fashion at The New School’s Parsons School of Design. It has over 15 hours of instruction that can be completed at its own pace.

Programs like these are a “great way to show off our expertise, knowledge and connections,” said Smith. The Rolling Stone program, for example, features renowned film industry contributors like Judd Apatow and Ang Lee. Providing training courses helps “bring more new voices into the fashion business community” and “develop and find talent,” Smith added.

Fairchild Media will be launching another course with Yellowbrick, under its Beauty Inc. brand, possibly this fall. The company will also do another under its Footwear News brand afterwards.

Last fall, Rolling Stone worked with Yellowbrick, IndieWire, and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts to launch a film and television course. Rolling Stone is now working with Yellowbrick on another course focused on writing. Before working together, Rolling Stone “researched” how to engage with students who wanted to learn more about the film and television industry, accommodating them in their offices and getting the Rolling Stone editors and reporters talking in colleges, said Gus Wenner, president and chief operating officer. by Rolling Stone.

“Plus a company like ours can offer compelling ways to engage online with our content and our brands – we’re always looking to pursue that,” said Wenner.


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