Sunday, April 10, 2011

How to make money on digital journalism: a course in Spain

Last week I gave an all-day seminar to 30 journalists in Valencia, Spain, on the business aspects of starting a digital news outlet.

It‘s easy enough to launch a blog or web page, but the hard part is making money. I gave participants a series of examples of revenue sources other than advertising and subscriptions:

The day after the workshop, I did a live chat Q and A with the local newspaper, Levante. Here is a sample of some of the exchange:

Q. For a journalist who wants to launch a news operation, where is the best place to start?
A. First, think about creating a community, about serving a particular community. You have to offer something unique and different to a specific group of people in a well defined niche. You can‘t offer what everyone else is offering. Some niches might be environmental coverage, health, education, local businesses, women‘s sports, the local art and music scene, etc. Pick something you care about and that the mass media are neglecting.

Q. How does a young person find financing for a web 2.0 operation? 
 A. Banks and venture capitalists don‘t usually bet on young people without a track record. Start with family, friends and associates.

Q. Should a new online venture assume that its future lies with tablets and smartphones or are these a passing fad? 
A. The important thing is to be platform-agnostic, meaning that you focus on the content rather than putting all of your energy into developing a product for a specific platform. Platforms will evolve and change. Your content needs to have lasting quality.

Q. What would you say to the old guard who view new online media as a threat to their circulation and a haven for tech freaks? 
A. I would tell them that they have to change. We journalists are no longer in the center of the media universe. The audiences are now running the show. Although we‘ve lost our status as media authorities, this new digital world offers us opportunities to get closer to audiences and serve our communities better. I started in the news business using a typewriter, but the new tools of technology offer great advantages and have allowed me to improve the quality of my journalism.


Mark Briggs: create labs for journalism innovation
You don't need all the skills to get started
Robert Niles: How to Make Money Publishing Community News Online
You create more value with "community" than with "audience"

No comments:

Post a Comment