Great post from Martin Moore, director of the Media Standards Trust, on paywalls, business models and collaboration in journalism. The post is worth reading in full, but some of the important points Moore makes include:
The future of advertising as part of a newsroom’s business model:
The paywall is not the only way to sustain the digital newsroom. Advertising – much maligned by many – could yet make online non-paywall newspaper content viable within 5 years.
The problems with paywalls:
Even if paywalls provide a secure financial future for news organisations – which right now seems unlikely – they will reduce the pool of shared information, and cut those news organisations’ content off from the openness, sharing and linking that characterises the web.
But perhaps most interesting in the post is Moore’s own suggested model for news and revenue – the ‘carrier pigeon model’:
In this model you let people share, link to, recommend, search, aggregate, and even reuse your content – you just make sure it’s properly marked up and credited first, so you can keep track of it, and develop revenue models off the back of it. You do this with – excuse the geek terminology – “metadata” (…) I call it the “carrier pigeon” model because the news doesn’t just go out, it comes back.
Using the West Midlands, where he edits TheBusinessDesk.com, as a microcosm of the publishing and journalism industries in this post on the future shape of media, Marc Reeves concludes that the only constants right now are “perpetual revolution and reinvention”.
Reeves’ post intelligently dissects the problems facing both the ‘old guard’ of traditional media and the ‘new old guard’:
The economics that sit behind great media engines like News International, Trinity Mirror and ITV have changed forever, but – just like the recession – that change comes with a very long tail, and its effects therefore will be felt for a long time to come (…) many players think the only sensible action is to keep on fighting the same battles will the same weapons.
(…) Anyone comfortably settling themselves in for a long career as ‘web publisher’ had better get real. Print monopolies may have lived high on the hog for a couple of hundred years or so, but the equivalent timespan in web publishing is measured in months.
And this is the real problem for the ‘old guard’. When they eventually get what the internet really means for their business, they’ll be seduced into thinking they’ve swapped the old certainties of print for the new certainties of digital.
Having set-up a discussion group online and run two successful offline meet-ups, Adam Westbrook’s Future of News initiative has inspired new events in the West Midlands, Brighton and Scotland. The idea: to discuss new tools, new directions and share ideas for the future of UK journalism.
On the same date Journalism.co.uk’s own Judith Townend has set-up the first meeting of the Brighton group – with scheduled talks from the Brighton Argus’ web editor Jo Wadsworth and the Guardian’s Simon Willison. It’s at The Skiff from 7.15pm – and you can sign up here.
Both of which have got digital editor Iain Hepburn wondering what demand there is for a similar meet-up in Scotland. If enough people register an interest, he says he’s happy to get the ball rolling. If you are, let Iain know on this blog post.