Next Steps: What We Heard, What We Need

Posted on 19. Nov, 2009 by in Hyperlocal, New News Organization, Not-For-Profit, Revenue, What's Next?

At the end of our New Business Models for (Local) News Conference last week we asked a question we’ve been asking since our first go-round three years ago: What’s next? What do we, as practitioners of journalism, need to do to help sustain journalism in this new age?

It seems there is still a simple two-word answer: More training.

Sure, responses were all over the map (the full list is posted below the jump) and I’ll get to some of those in a moment. But, the most common request at root is for more help understanding our new media environment.

Some of the independent, hyperlocal startups (dare I call them bloggers?) in the audience said they could use help with everything from basic research and editing practices to selling and analyzing ads to understanding business finance. They also want to build a stronger indy-web community that, at a minimum, would be a forum to share best and worst practices.

The churched journalists in the room asked for some of the same instruction: editing for the web, learning the basics of graphics, and web literacy (tweeting, texting and blogging). But, like the indy’s, the guys inside established media organizations need help with the business side (see Jeff’s post on getting “theah from heah”).

Folks want to see programs for bringing business students into media management (much as we tried to do last summer). A few more suggestions:
– Future conferences organized around specific revenue opportunities – some people also want to have a conference organized around verticals and niche sites.
– Research into what kinds of advertising small businesses need.
– Strategies for making that advertising more valuable.
– Looking at what impact greater bandwidth and mobile devices will have on journalism and advertising.

One veteran journalist told me someone should create a not-for-profit, possibly based in a university, that offers free business consulting services to journalism startups. He said the consultancy could cultivate a thousand test cases for our business models – a much better approach, he says, than getting funding for a lab to test them out in one area (which was another suggestion from the panel).

Finally, here are two of my favorites: training for small communities that have lost their papers and a conference aimed at media in Africa and other parts of the world. It is important to keep these areas, so often left out of the conversation, in our minds.

As I said, there are a lot more topics below the fold. We’ll be doing more work on some or most of these suggestions in the coming weeks and months. Do you have more? Send them along!

New Business Models for News Next Steps:

How do we get a cooperative relationship? Or not?

More help from the Schools for “Bloggers”–
– Equipment
– Training
o How to sell
o Style, editorial, quality
o Research
o Video
o Trending
o Analytics
o Biz Finance
o Marketing
o Mistakes /best and worst practices
o Relationships

Training / Education for the Pros in the newsroom:
Content programming
Networking – building the network
Simple graphics, basics
Editing for the web
Web literacy – sms, tweeting, blogging, etc.

Transparency – read more watchdogs from the community
– Press government to make data available in a usable format

Map out a route for an existing newspaper to reinvent itself into the New News Organization – with specific steps

Get business school students to learn media management

Partnerships in technology, databases

Big media guys need quality/reliability scores for bloggers

Way to spread listservs

Making clickthrus more trackable, making ads more valuable for the advertisers


Making comments rateable

Assignment desk
Better aggregation tools

Advertising (how to make it more valuable for the local advertiser):
– Offering a suite of services to local businesses (consulting, optimization)
– Standardization
– For schools or others: more research on what local businesses need

Selling Data –

A way to maintain newsinnovation momentum throughout the year

Hack-a-thon – developers and journos collaborate to see what results.

Community building among sites – a Blogger meetup?

Targeted conferences around specific revenue categories – B2B, etc.

Success stories

More on social media

A lab to test the assumption in the newsinnovation model

Access to capital – a meet up of investors and journos.

More on web metrics, and what happens as we shift to mobile and streams from web pages

Mentoring program – for communities that have lost heir papers

Best practices / less tech more content

Impact of improved bandwidth and improved smartphones

Conference on media in Africa & other parts of the world

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