Business models

Philly media owner explored a nonprofit path

The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News building is seen in Philadelphia, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News building is seen in Philadelphia, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and has given thought to shifting to non-profit ownership status, aligning with Temple University.

It was unclear Thursday whether discussions held by H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest  go beyond the theoretical at this point . But it’s now reported that he’s considered the possibility.  He told Philanthropy magazine in an interview last year that non-profit ownership could be “wonderful” for newspaper organizations.

Several sources with knowledge of the situation declined to discuss it. If such a change of ownership did occur, the Inquirer would be the largest big city northern newspaper to go such a route.

There are newspapers and magazines that are owned by educational institutions and churches, although they are exceptions. Read more


Publishers’ ‘mobile gap’ with revenues painfully persists

The Wall Street Journal

The mobile conundrum persists with traditional and online publishers: nice audience growth, sluggish revenues.

“News and information outlets ranging from the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to Business Insider and all can point to rapid growth in mobile usage,” The Wall Street Journal writes Monday. “Time spent on publishers’ mobile offerings jumped 40% in the 12 months through July and now accounts for 55% of total time spent on their properties, up from 42% two years ago, according to estimates by measurement specialist comScore.”

But reports, earnings calls and interviews all underscore how “revenue isn’t keeping pace—by a long shot—creating what industry executives are calling a ‘mobile gap.’”

The act of hawking ads on mobile devices is no simple task. Read more


How Grist has been able to flourish as a nonprofit news site

This is the fourth of four profiles of journalists at nonprofit news startups.

Chip Giller

Chip Giller

Chip Giller started Grist 16 years ago, when, he says, there was nothing in the world like it. His creation quickly caught on with its snarky environmental news stories, hipster storytelling, and an excellent advice column, “Ask Umbra.” Hundreds and then thousands of readers signed up for Grist’s email newsletter, and then finally, hundreds of thousands found its website: at the beginning of 2015, the site had more than 1.5 million unique visitors per month, according to Quantcast, and another half a million including Twitter and Facebook followers.

Giller wanted Grist to make a difference. He had been an environmentalist since he was a child and says he grew up to be a “very earnest” undergraduate student at Brown. Read more


To boost local journalism, Steven Waldman proposes an AmeriCorps for reporters

Steve Waldman

Steve Waldman

Four years ago Steven Waldman documented in a report for the Federal Communications Commission the erosion of local journalism as newspapers’ business fortunes declined.

Now he is suggesting a remedy — a non-profit Report for America organization, modeled on AmeriCorps and Teach for America. Waldman summarized the idea in an article yesterday for CJR and is presenting it at a conference on local journalism today sponsored by Montclair State University’s Center for Cooperative Media.

Waldman envisions reporters, many of them young but some experienced too, being placed at newspapers, public radio stations and other existing outlets.  Part of their salary would come from the new non-profit, the rest from a match by the organization receiving the placement.

“I think this really has a chance of catching on,” Waldman told me in a phone interview. Read more


Guardian builds a business around ‘snacking’ | CJR | PressGazette

Guardian CEO Andrew Miller told attendees of the Digital Media Strategies conference in London that his publication doesn’t assume readers stay with one news source all day long, Rachel Bartlett reports. Keeping the doors to its journalism open, Miller said, means a big audience outside the publication’s native U.K. And indeed the Guardian recently reported double-digit growth in digital revenue.

“The reality of the world is that people snack,” he said, and the Guardian approach is to “build a business around that”, he added.

Miller said entities that refer traffic to the Guardian “aren’t our enemies, these are our friends.” He said it’s “essential to our business model to ensure our journalism is read,” Bartlett reports.

“This isn’t about trying to protect old business models.

Read more
Marc Andreessen (AP photo)

What Marc Andreessen got right and got wrong in his future of news manifesto

When the history of journalism’s turnaround is written some years hence, I think 2013 and 2014 will go down as years when Internet billionaires, the new Carnegies and Rockefellers, stepped into the fray in a big way — Jeff Bezos, Pierre Omidyar (and let’s not forget more traditional rich guys John Henry and Warren Buffett).

Now comes Marc Andreessen, Netscape founder and venture capitalist, with a take on the future of the business that is wildly optimistic, dare we say, irrationally exuberant.

His essay last week on where news is headed, well summarized in a Wired piece and readable itself, projects exponential growth in market demand. Andreessen sees solid Internet businesses with strong financial backing coming into their own even as legacy platforms continue to falter. Read more


At Circa, it’s not about ‘chunkifying’ news but adding structure

You sometimes hear what we do at Circa described as “chunkifying” — taking the news and presenting it in mobile-friendly chunks. And while on the surface this observation is correct, it misses the bigger picture.

Yes, each “point” of Circa is a single unit of news — something designated as a fact, quote, statistic, event or image. We thread these points together to tell stories. The end result is succinct and allows us to track which points a reader has consumed, powering our unique “follow” feature.

But I often respond to talk of chunkifying by pointing out that what we’re really doing at Circa is adding structure to information — and it could be the most powerful thing we do. Indeed, there’s an increasing amount of discussion around “atoms” of news. Read more

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Copy-spaced image of a young man drinking morning coffee and reading the newspaper at home (Depositphotos)

Why is local news innovation struggling financially while national thrives?

On the national level, we’ve seen an exciting burst of investment and innovation in digital news.

The New York Times crowed that “Web News Is Thriving,” the evidence being that Ezra Klein, the wonk’s wonk, is starting an explanatory journalism venture at Vox Media. This comes soon after the news that eBay founder Pierre Omidyar is doing a massive $250 million investment in a new journalism project. And the success of BuzzFeed, Upworthy and Huffington Post has showed that content oriented sites can be business successes.

But the headlines are bleaker when it comes to local news. With a fresh round of layoffs, Patch has now purged three-quarters of its workforce. Main Street Connect, a platform for local news that got much attention a few years ago, filed for bankruptcy in May 2013. Read more

Poynter's Future of News Audiences conference kicks off Sunday with a discussion on demographic trends with Paul Taylor, executive vice president of special projects at the Pew Research Center, and moderator Jill Geisler, Poynter senior faculty, leadership and management. (Dave Pierson/The Poynter Institute)

Future of News Audiences: what’s next as young fail to become strong news consumers

Paul Taylor, executive vice president of special projects at the Pew Research Center, talks about demographic trends impacting the news industry, at a Poynter discussion moderated by Jill Geisler, Poynter senior faculty, leadership and management.

Journalism executives and other participants at Poynter’s Future of News Audiences conference heard Sunday night what some would have preferred not to hear: younger generations simply aren’t growing into dedicated consumers of news the way their parents and grandparents did.

As young adults age and begin families, the theory goes, they start to care more about the world around them and read the news — a development that would help reverse the fortunes of news organizations which have seen precipitous declines in their audience numbers. But this may be a false hope — so far there is no “life cycle” effect, at least none that can be detected. Read more

chat green glossy icon on white background

Understanding opportunities and challenges in sponsored content (Replay chat)

Shane Snow, cofounder with two friends of Contently, manages a network of 25,000 freelancers. According to Contently’s website, the sweet spot where these freelancers thrive is creating content for “brands, nonprofits, and lean new media companies.”

Snow and his team, described as a mashup of journalists and nerds, are on the front edge of branded content or native advertising.

Forbes, a Contently client, recognized Snow this month in “30 under 30: These People are Building the Media Companies of Tomorrow.”

Snow joined us for a live chat on the opportunities, challenges and values of sponsored content.

Participants asked Snow about the ins and outs of branded content.

Twitter users can participate in any Poynter live chat using the hashtag #poynterchats. You can revisit this page at any time to replay the chat after it has ended. Read more

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