Paul Bradshaw: making journalism pay

More essential posting on the Digital Newsroom from Paul Bradshaw.  If you haven’t caught up with this series of posts about the changes in the newsroom then you’re missing out.

In his latest post he talks about how to make money from the web. I suppose (and it saddens me a little) that this would be the first and only post many will read. After all thats the big question isn’t it. But there is much more to be had from soaking up all that Paul has to say.

As well as a useful round-up of the key areas to focus on, the post has a number of great sound bites that define the debate.

When talking about creating content people will pay for he says.

Most publishers are not creating commercial value, but social value. This is easy to dismiss, but online, social capital is a very powerful currency. One option (if not too injurious to publishers’ pride) would be reader donations. Readers may be more inclined to support journalism they believe in, such as a particular investigation or issue, rather than the website as a whole.

This is so true but Paul is quick to challenge an idea that this social value is intrinsically linked to local.

Newspapers and broadcasters have been limited by geography, and relevance to readers, so that the ‘why are we spending money on a website that isn’t read by local people?’ culture remains. We need to challenge our ideas of who our readers could be.

Changing markets 

One commenter has already suggested that, whilst the post is excellent, it’s perhaps a bit of a glum summation.  I disagree.

I think it’s makes a simple point very well – there are no simple answers.

Terms like local, community and content all mean different things now. But still a lot of firms are going for a quick fix. Paul makes the point that print has approached the web in the obvious way  “colonise the new territory, and export the business model online”.

The recognition that this doesn’t work has meant that many look for the quick fix. Buy in the solution. But that’s like only reading this last post in Paul’s excellent series. Not a good idea

2 thoughts on “Paul Bradshaw: making journalism pay”

  1. It was a great article, if not somewhat melancholy. At the end of the day, it all depends on users/traffic. and Users/traffic will end up at places with good relevent content. Thats what news agencies should focus on.

  2. It does have a ‘down’ feel but I like to think thats more heads-down there’s lots to be done.

    I agree it’s about users but I’m not sure that something as easy as good, relevent content is all the answer. The idea that news is a service not content is a valid one.

    If you look at the success of things like Facebook then it would be hard to say it was the content that made that site. The facility it offered was the selling point. Likewise, with something like youtube it isnt the content as much as the sites capacity to put that content in front of you in an easy way.

    If news sites can show that they service a requirment for content as well as provide content then they may be on the right road.

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