As a young journalist about to embark in the field, I, along with many others have been wondering in what direction will journalism be headed. In what form are we going to deliver newspapers: print, Web site, Kindle, Iphone, Twitter? We have all been dabbling in different ways to get the news out there but we still have questions as to what is the most effective, what will entice readers to keep coming back for news and still allow us to turn profit?
Although in the video above, journalism is compared to porn, it brings about good point that people will pay for something that they want, despite it being free elsewhere. Journalism needs to “indispensible, necessary and fulfilling a need.” As of now in the digital age, we have come to the point where just about anything can be tossed out and we are on to the next fad.
We need to establish what the most important things that are needed for the new journalism business model. Out of a lot of the models that have emerged there are common themes linking them all. These models are efficient. Our readers need to be able to get everything they need from the news site or have it be easily accessible to them. What makes up that content derives from who your readers are, whether it be the local consumers or for a national audience.
The way that the industry is going, a simple news site is no longer an option. For news to be getting out there to audiences, the models are leaning towards social platforms replacing these sites. With this in mind, these new sites will require more interactivity, where citizens/readers can collaborate more with the news organization.
Because there are so many options currently out there, a news organization simply cannot act alone. It is important for these models to also hold networked content. Outside organizations are necessary for collaboration as well. A lot of the most profitable papers right now are ones that have a hyperlocal base. However, the only way that these papers will be widespread and raise readership is by helped distribution by bigger papers and news organizations. For example, the “reverse-syndication model” holds that the new news organization would create “highly targeted content that can be distributed on the sites of other members of the network.” This model incorporates direct participation from the public, allowing distribution to be easier among citizens as well as bloggers in the area. Within a blog, they have their content and link out to other stories and ideas that are related to their original post. This leads people to collaborate together to get more readers.
These models differ in several ways as well. The payment structure of these news organizations has been changing as the Internet has come on board. In past business models, news organization relied mostly on advertisements, subscriptions, as well as the price of the print edition being the livelihood of their profits. Although there have been models where people have charged for news online, it ultimately did not work. The Wall Street Journal has been successful with this type of model, however. Allowing for some of their content to be free, the articles that are meant for the typical niche reader is charged for certain articles.
New ways to fund news have been on everyone’s radar in this economy lately as well. There have been new proposals of micropayments, which is a means of transferring small amounts of money to get access to articles or other content for the news media. Although there has been a lot of speculation and debate as to whether these will actually work, it is still an option for news outlets. Other newspapers that have gone online only have included “tip jars” for their readers to donate to the livelihood of the newspaper. In the current economic climate, there has been speculation if the government should take part in bailing out newspapers with the enormous amount of debt accumulated on major metropolitan papers.
The model that most interests me for new news models is the one that The Wall Street Journal has been using all along. Although it is aimed towards a highly niche audience that will pay for their information, it reminds me of all the times I am doing research for school. As every student knows, there comes the time in certain classes (in all ages) that it is necessary to research the web for a research project. As a student, you are taught that you need to find credible sources to provide the context of your research. The first place that I always thought to go to was the newspaper because they are your source to go for reliable information. However, when they were trying to have me access just ONE article, they said I needed to purchase an entire subscription. In the end, to view this one article, I would have to pay in the upwards of $500. I ultimately had to use other means because I was not going to pay that amount of money for just one article. However, my point with this long story is that I still would have paid. People will be willing to pay for something that they need and is fulfilling to them.