I find that while I rarely get the urge to blog, I love responding to emailed questions with extensive answers. Hope you find this useful.
My friend’s email:
Noticed through some social media-stalking that we share an ambition in saving newspapers. Difference is, I’ve been wavering and translating my journalism skills to a public sector institute, whereas you have entrepreneurship experience and have been applying that to the business side of collegiate journalism. So I’m interested to know. what do you think about the future of journalism and what kinds of competing business models do you think it needs?
I’ve learned a lot about journalism since starting my job (which isn’t saying much since I knew about zip before April 09) and what I think is becoming clear to me is this:
- It’s more about the journalist now than the publication. A strong writing brand is going to mean a lot more than before – especially since distribution on the web is essentially free.
- Journalists need to connect to their audiences in more ways. It can’t just be a one way broadcast of printed words. Engagement means multimedia (audio/video/graphics), and it means listening to and responding directly to the public (easier now than ever with blogs, twitter, comments)
- Journalists need to learn business skills. My mentor from home told me to major in a hard science because “you can always learn that business stuff later”. Journalists are scared of business but shouldn’t be – they ought to carve out their own future rather than just depending on “the suits”
- Multiple Revenue streams: successful publications/content-based organizations are making money from many sources – ads, sponsorships, conferences, paid content, branded 3rd party products and donations. All of this means that journalists and companies and consumer/members of the public need to work closer together (see pts 2 & 3).
Wow – writing that email was a learning process for me too! You should think more about the business side – it’s a way of thinking and doing that I think is quite valuable and doable. It was good meeting you and going out last night – hope you make it back to DC safely and perhaps we’ll hang out again sometime!