The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE) launched in 2010 as an initiative of the Center for Sustainable Journalism housed at Kennesaw State University near Atlanta, Georgia. The nonprofit uses professional and student journalists to cover youth justice issues in Georgia, the Southeast and around the nation.
Its target audience is policy makers and practitioners “who seek reliable information to make informed decisions” that can improve the juvenile justice system. This includes lawyers, judges, social workers, and others working professionally within the field.
JJIE seeks to test a membership program that will sustain the nonprofit’s work in the long term. The experiment begins by tapping into its existing audience to survey their interest and from there put “respondents” into four different groups. The survey will be conducted by Kennesaw State’s in-house research department.
The goal is to create a mutually beneficial, customized relationship with specific subsets of our audience tied to their individual financial capability and interests. Examples of subsets include groups interested in youth justice and mental health, substance abuse, ethnic inequality, LGBTQ, girls or foster care issues.
JJIE will produce added benefits for each subset, including targeted newsletters, online discussions with high profile thought leaders and webinars in their interest areas. By launching a fundraising campaign, JJIE hopes to gain 50 new paying members in each group or a total of 200 at the end of the first year.
Members will be allowed to access two webinars annually on topics specific to each group. The idea behind this experiment is to test whether the membership model is the best way to fund a news outlet focused on one important subject matter like juvenile justice.
What knowledge will be gained from this experiment?
JJIE hopes to learn more about what its readers want: what kind of specific information they need on a daily, weekly and bi-weekly basis; what it is that keeps them coming back and how to tailor content to their needs in the future. If successful, the project will bring JJIE closer to its audience along with a new stream of revenue to fund the kind of information that its readers want.