The Media Management Center (initially named the Newspaper Management Center) was founded by John Lavine in 1989 by a grant from the John and James L. Knight Foundation. It was founded to: i) educate senior media executives in the latest trends in management; ii) do research on the media’s most pressing problems; iii) ensure that news/editorial/information executives were prepared for posts in the organization’s top ranks; iv) build a base of university faculty across disciplines who concentrated on the media and focused their research and teaching on it.
Lavine has led the Center in many initiatives. Most notable was the founding of the Readership Institute (RI) with Mary Nesbitt. The Readership Institute ran from 1999-2007 with the support of the Newspaper Association of America and the McCormick Foundation. RI pioneered audience research on media content, audiences, and internal organization and culture. That work was used by hundreds of companies, organizations and associations in these sectors domestically and internationally.
In addition to audience research, the Center did major work on: diversity in the media, B2B media strategy and its changing role, sales force productivity, and the role of women in the media.