This series of 10 moneymaking tips for journalists began on Adam Westbrook’s blog, but continues exclusively on Journalism.co.uk from today. Adam’s e-book, Next Generation Journalist: 10 New Ways to Make Money in Journalism will be available to download in full on 20 May.
05. develop news apps for mobiles
By the end of last year more than 41 million smartphones had been sold worldwide. That’s 41 million potential customers if you can create the right product, which is why it’s one of the new career paths the Next Generation Journalist would be stupid to ignore.
The iPhone, iPad, Nexus, Blackberry and Android: there’s no doubt the mobile market is a massive one. And it’s one we’re already seeing many journalists step into. Larger organisations like CNN, the Guardian and NPR have all developed popular apps for users. We’re also seeing smaller startups move into this area too.
Apps don’t just have to deliver hard news, they can also provide useful public services such as crime data.
The business model might work like this: you take publicly available information like crime stats, authority information, traffic data etc., craft it into a useful and easy to use app and sell it. If it adds value to peoples’ lives, they’ll buy it, and that is the test your idea will have to pass.
Apps also benefit from a double sell: you can charge users a small amount for the app itself, and then if you’re providing fresh content within it, you can charge a subscription fee to use it too.
Developing apps for mobiles…
- gives you experience in an area hardly any journalists are familiar with
- can be satisfying to work on as a journalist if you create the right product
- can potentially make a lot of money (it’s a huge market don’t forget)
- once the product is created and on sale, it brings in money with zero effort (allowing you to pursue other work)
The key point I get across in the ebook is that you don’t need to know code to make an app. If you have the killer idea you can outsource the design and the coding parts to either specialist companies or talented individuals.