Business Models

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Patterson to back collaboration platform, training to help local online news communities reach sustainability

This post has been updated with a correction (see end of item).

A collaboration platform help local online news communities, characterized by one researcher as entering their business "adolescence," will receive support from the Patterson Foundation and possibly the Knight Digital Media Center at the University of Southern California, news entrepreneurs have been told. 


RUNNING NOTES: "How to Make Money on News" at Shorenstein Center

I took running notes of the discussion yesterday at the Harvard-Shorenstein event, "How to Make Money with News." You can read them

Also, there's a Twitter stream here:  and here:

Seattle LONC "Crosscut" goes nonprofit

Crosscut, the Seattle-based local online news community (LONC), has moved from for-profit to nonprofit. Announcing the news on their website, publisher David Brewster said that after years of trying to build a for-profit model, they now believed the best model for the future would be nonprofit:

GrowthSpur: new business to help local sites

Media giraffe Mark Potts (along with other known names in media, including Jeff Jarvis) has started a new company to help local sites earn money.  Mark Potts once ran Backfence, a collection of local sites, but it failed for financial reasons.  He's now coming back with GrowthSpur, which offers a host of services to try to help the kind of sites he originally intended to start up.  You can read more on the GrowthSpur website, or in this Business Week article.

Netflix could be awarding $1 Million soon

About a year ago I read a Wired story about a Netflix contest with a million dollar prize attached.  The contest was to try to improve their recommendation system, and I was interested in the crowd-sourced and intelligent-search implications.  For anyone who's been following it, it looks like this week there might be a winner, barring any competing teams being able to outdo their result (a recommendation improvement of 10.05%) over

Knight Foundation committed to new models for investigative journalism

Yesterday, The Knight Foundation announced $15 million in funding for models that support online investigative reporting (read the full press release here).  Some of this money goes to projects already committed to, but they also announced new grants for ProPublica, Sunlight Foundation, and the Center for Investigative Reporting.  All three are giraffe prospects---we interviewed Paul Steiger from ProPublica last month, and you can listen to that interview from his profile.

Literary world weighs in on newspapers

Dave Eggers announced that the next issue of McSweeney's, the literary journal he founded, would be in newspaper format.  He said they wanted to show that the newspaper was viable if done in an interesting, colorful fashion.  One imagines the next issue, then, will be a full, hands-on display of this potential.   Read More.

CircLabs, a new project to help sustain newspapers

Last week at the DC conference "From Gatekeeper to Information Valet," the formation of CircLabs was announced.  (Read the press release, or watch the announcement.)  CircLabs is a Silicon Valley startup financed by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.  Their first project is named Circulate---the goal is to help ensure a future for newspapers by finding ways to monetize online news. 

Circulate comes out of MGP's Bill Densmore's year-long research fellowship at the Reynolds Journalism Institute.  His project there was called the Information Valet.

Densmore will be joined by Martin Langeveld, Joe Bergeron, and Jeffrey Vander Clute as co-founders of CircLabs.  It is set to launch in the second half of 2009.

Larger Kindle will make it easier to read newspapers

This recent New York Times article, "Amazon Introduces Big-Screen Kindle," talks about plans to release a larger Kindle in the summer that is meant for textbooks and newspapers.  It mentions a deal for newspapers to sell the Kindle at a reduced rate with long-term subscriptions, but currently it's limited to subscribers who live outside the area where paper versions are available.

Google launches profiles, questions about their intentions

Last week, MGP Director Bill Densmore pointed out that Google had started a new profile service.  People can now create a profile page about themselves that will come up when their name is Googled.  Google is promising this will give people more control over their image on the web.  This is probably true, but it's also true it could increase Google's leverage. If enough people sign up, it becomes a centralized way for people to organize their identity on the web.  If this occurs, Google has managed to make itself even more essential.

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