This article was written by the ALMADENSE team and lightly edited by IPI for length and clarity. Receive regular updates on IPI’s innovation and media sustainability work by subscribing to our newsletter, The Outlook: Media Innovation Unlocked.

ALMADENSE is a Portuguese local newspaper, born four years ago to help fill the information gap in the city of Almada – a place with some 180,000 inhabitants, very near the capital Lisbon, that was considered a news desert (a locality with no local news coverage). The newspaper’s main goal is to serve the local community and provide journalistic scrutiny on how the city is run by the local authorities.

In our day-to-day work, we publish information about the interventions taking place in the public space, the housing market and public transportation. Furthermore, we report on social, cultural and innovation projects that are being carried out in the region.

>> You can check out their website in this link

Setting goals for sustainability

In a short period, ALMADENSE gained recognition and credibility among readers, reaching approximately 100,000 readers per month. However, despite this audience growth, we continue to strive for financial sustainability.

Being part of IPI’s incubator was an important contribution that allowed us to redefine our newspaper’s strategy. During the programme, we were introduced to the OKR concept, which we used to define our needs and translate them into key objectives. This helped us organize our work and align it with our guiding principles.

We defined a dual OKR for our project: on one hand, to enhance our financial sustainability through the establishment of a new business model, and on the other, to strengthen engagement with our local community of readers.

We also conducted audience research during the programme, which enabled us to better understand our readers and their interests. The insights we gained led us to the decision to launch a weekly newsletter featuring cultural suggestions – a type of content that our audience had expressed an interest in.

Four young journalists, smiling.

The ALMADENSE core team.

Unlocking revenue opportunities

We divided the tasks among our team, which not only allowed us to better organize ourselves, but also ensured that each member could focus on their specific responsibilities, including management, editorial work, commercial activities, and photography.

After launching the new newsletter, which has a high open rate, we have been able to increase our subscribers by 40% and we are still aiming for further growth. We have received very positive feedback both from our readers and from the hosts of the featured events, showing that the product serves our target community. Additionally, we’ve identified potential monetization opportunities for the newsletter, as two companies have expressed interest in sponsoring it.

Regarding our advertising strategy, our aim was to implement an innovative business strategy for ALMADENSE, that could help us monetize the content. We have succeeded in reorganizing our customer base, as well as increased our sales contacts and introduced a renewed native advertising section. During the six-month period of the incubator, we’ve managed to significantly increase the number of our advertisers.

Direct reader communication

Another key concept we adopted from the bootcamp in Vienna was the need to engage with our audience.

We implemented a direct communication tab on our website, encouraging our readers to reach out to our editorial team. Some of them have already used this tool, enabling us to build trust and foster a relationship with our audience, which is crucial for a local newspaper.

Overall, participation in the IPI accelerator program helped us develop a deeper understanding of our audience and define specific strategies to achieve our business goals, fostering a closer connection with our community, encouraging a more meaningful engagement with us. We are immensely grateful to the International Press Institute and our coach, Fabienne Meijer, for their incredible support and guidance.


ALMADENSE was one of the participants in IPI’s New Media Incubator, part of the Media Innovation Europe (MIE) project, co-funded by the European Commission. The programme is led by the International Press Institute, implemented in collaboration with Thomson Media, the Media Development Foundation and BIRN.