Business Models

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Battle Plan for The New York Times

This week, The New York Times had the dual role of trying to figure out how to stay alive, while also objectively covering the process of newspapers dying.

In an article on their website today, "Battle Plans for Newspapers," they asked eight people to come up with plans for how to save newspapers, though they didn't mention their own desperate need for such a plan.  One of the plans, "'Culture of free' is Suicide," was written by Steven Brill, who

January was the month for interventions

January seemed the month for considering the waning health of newspapers (specifically, of The New York Times), and for interventions.  It made me think of a family gathering where everyone knows what's best for the one relative who can't get his life together.

The Atlantic ran a much-cited article by Michael Hirschorn in their January issue, titled "End Times."  It predicted that the end of the print New York Times may be coming sooner than people think.  It concluded:  "Ultimately,

Sustainability Models and the Voice of San Diego (cont.)

As a follow-up to the New York Times coverage of the Voice of San Diego (see post below), I transcribed some of our interview with Voice Co-Editor Andrew Donohue. You can listen to the whole interview here, or click here to go to his MGP profile, where I've put the transcription.


Sustainability models: local news websites

Yesterday's New York Times article, "Web Sites That Dig for News Rise as Watchdogs," covers the rise of local news websites--as an alternative for traditional newspapers that are no longer financially sustainable, and as an alternative for the "partisan commentary, gossip, vitriol and citizen journalism" often found online. 

Overlooking the easy poke at citizen journalism, the article brings up the dilemma that is news-on-the-web.  By focusing on the Voice of San Diego, it shows how you can be a success (their small staff exposed local scandals that would have gone uncovered) and still have no clear idea how to make money.  It reminded me of an article the OJR did on the Voice (read it here, including an interview), calling them a leader in a growing field, before adding:  "There's just one thing missing:  a business model."  READ MORE, including a list of MGP information about websites covered in article. goes live January 12

When the Boston Globe cut their foreign bureau, Charlie Sennott was out of a job.  He took a year to figure out what to do about it.  What he created, along with Philip Balboni of New England Cable News, was, a for-profit news website with 70 foreign correspondents from around the world.  They're set to go live on January 12, 2009.

In this video (taken at the New Business Models for News Summit) he gives a personal and lively 6 minute explanation on what they intend on doing.  Their goal, he says, is an "American voice for foreign news." 

Also, Next Newsroom's Chris O'Brien interviewed Sennott last week.  You can listen to the audio and read his article here.  At the idea of something so ambitious--70 reporters around the world--O'Brien writes:  "Sound crazy? I thought so. But I changed my mind after listening to Sennott."  


Institution vs. infrastructure: The question of ProPublica and reaching to the local level, too

Outgoing Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Paul Steiger's ProPublica project will put $10M in philanthropy to work on civic/watchdog jouranalism for the nation. But what about funding journalism at a more granular level? Josh Wilson, founder of, examines the question.

The Seattle Times: Newspapers, family ownership and public policy

In this 2006 interview, Frank Blethen and Mike Fancher discuss the Seattle Times on its 110th Anniversary, talking about the joys and challenges of running a locally owned family newspaper. They touch upon the uniqueness of this business model in the modern newspaper industry and the familys commitment to journalistic values and community service.

Knight Foundation unveils $5-million effort to seed innovation in web-based local news; may invest in for-profit ventures

A $5-million, multi-year effort to seed innovation in web-based local news -- by both profit and non-profit entities -- was announced Sept. 18 by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Earlier, the foundation�s journalism initiatives program officer outlined the initiative to participants at a Media Giraffe Project summit conference.

We Media Global Forum blog explores the question: Who is going to pay for journalism?

The WeMedia Global Forum explored the question of who's going to pay for news and journalism in the future. John Burke, who edits the Editors' Weblog at the World Association of Newspapers posted a blog report on the session. One conclusion: Stop talking about "business models" in the singular.

Gillmor sees finding a business model for watchdog journalism as now of urgent concern in media executive suites

Former San Jose Mercury News tech columnist and "We Media" book author Dan Gillmor has posted an inciteful column speculating what might happen if no business model emerges to support so-called "watchdog journalism." He says finding a replacment for mass-market newspaper advertising -- which is being diminished by new-technology competitors -- is an urgent concert in the media business now.
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