Just gathering together a few loose ends concerning news business models… First off, I think that Steven Johnson’s ‘news ecosystem’ idea from his SXSW speech is a pretty useful way to think about things. Here’s one of the key quotes:
But I think it’s just as possible that all this innovation elsewhere will free up the traditional media to focus on things like war reporting because they won’t need to pay for all the other content they’ve historically had to produce. This is Jeff Jarvis’ motto: do what you do best, and link to the rest. My guess is that the venerable tradition of the muckraking journalist will be alive and well ten years from: partially supported by newspapers and magazines, partially by non-profit foundations and innovative programs like Newassignment.net, and partially by enterprising bloggers who make a name for themselves by breaking important stories.
That leaves us with something that looks like this:
Part of the innovation that we’re looking for then is how we can set up some combination of those functions into a unique model that will have some combination of free content along with a money generating mechanism. As I keep saying, in general the functions that seem to make money in these type of systems are aggregating and filtering – so I still think that the way to build such a business model is to include one or both of those functions.
On a related note, Mark Coddington is compiling an extremely useful set of annotated blog posts that address these issues from the journalism angle.
One thing that I found through his site is this from Mindy McAdams – The Reporter’s Guide to Multimedia Literacy. The guide includes fifteen steps to take to become prificient at generating multimedia content for the web. It is aimed at journalists, but I have to think that these are skills that anyone creating content is going to need sooner rather than later. These are the things we’ll need to know to be digitally literate – and one of the best ways to adapt to change is to have extra skills. We should all be working our way through her outline, probably with some urgency.