You are on page 1of 3

2017619 7businessmodelsthatcouldsavethefutureofjournalism|IJNet

7businessmodelsthat
couldsavethefutureof
journalism
TOPIC: BUSINESSOFJOURNALISM MandlaChinula|June19,2017

Thedigitalerahasalteredconsumerpatternsand
hasinturndisruptednewspaperstraditional
advertisingmodels.Thishaspushedmedia
practitionerstolookforinnovativewaystoremain
profitable.Someofthesestrategiesarealready
provingthatjournalismwillcontinuetoexistinthe
future.Belowaresomeofthemostpromising
modelsforfinancingqualityjournalism:

Sponsoredcontent
Sponsoredcontentreferstooriginal,authentic
storieswrittentopromoteoradvertiseacompany.
Sincesponsoredcontentisquitesimilarto
journalisticstorytelling,theformerisusually
taggedwithasponsoredcontentlabel.Media
housesareabletoleveragetheirreputationstocreatebrandedstoriesthataudiencesaremore
likelytotakeseriously.Thishasinparthasattractedcompaniestoadvertisewithnews
organizations,andhaslargelyworkedforlargerpublicationsandnonlegacymedia.

Crowdfunding
Anumberofpublicationsnowrelyondonations.Thishasbecomemoreapparentparticularlyfor
nonprofitsthatareheavyoninvestigativejournalism.Whilesomemediaorganizationsinvitepeople
todonatetowardindividualjournalismprojectsthroughKickstarter,otherslikeTheGuardianhave
incorporatedmembershipschemes.AlthoughDutchpublicationDeCorrespondentearnsmoney
throughsubscriptionsandpaywalls,thenewssitewaslaunchedwithacrowdfundofUS$1.7million
(GBP1.2million)allowingittopayitsjournalistssalaries.FrontPageAfrica,anindependent
newspaperinLiberia,isfundedbytheLiberiandiaspora.EditorandfounderRodneySiehhasbeen
abletoreportonhumanrightsissuesinLiberiathankstotheindependencebroughtthrough
crowdsourcing.

Subscriptions
Someonehastopayforjournalism,orjournalismwillhavetopayforitisapopularargument
amongpublisherswheneverthereistalkoffreenewscontent.NewspaperssuchasThe
Information,whichiswhollybasedonasubscriptionmodel,haveshownmediacompaniescanstill
surviveonthismodel.Althoughsomeorganizationscangetsignificantrevenuefromsubscriptions,
majormediaoutletslikeTheNewYorkTimescannotbesustainedbysubscriptionsalone.
Subscriptionmodelsarealsolargelydependentontargetingaudiencesthatnotonlyvaluethe
contentproduced,butarealsowillingtopayforit.

Livejournalism

https://ijnet.org/en/blog/7businessmodelscouldsavefuturejournalism 1/3
2017619 7businessmodelsthatcouldsavethefutureofjournalism|IJNet

ThankstoFacebookLive,Periscopeandotherplatforms,journalistsarenowbeinggiventhe
opportunitytopresenttheirstoriesinfrontofaliveaudience.Livejournalismallowsjournaliststo
presentthenewsinnewandinteractiveways.Examplesofmediacompaniesthatareinvolvedin
livejournalismincludeTheBostonGlobesGlobeLiveandGannettwithitsArizonaStorytellers
Project.Althoughsomerevenuecomesfromfromticketsales,sponsorshipsseemtogeneratethe
most.In2015,theArizonaStorytellersProjectbroughtinmorethanUS$100,000througha
presentingsponsorship.

Donorfunding
Thistypeoffundingcomesinvariousforms,includingphilanthropicbacking,governmentfunding
andcorporateresponsibility.SouthAfricasAmabhunganeisfundedbysixdonororganizations,
withonethirdofitscostsbeingcoveredbyTheMailandGuardian.

Philanthropistsgenerallygivegenerousdonationstopromotegoodjournalism.Oneexampleis
eBayfounderPierreOmidyar,whothroughhisphilanthropicfirmhasmadeaUS$100
millioncommitmenttosupportinvestigativejournalismandfightfakenews.Anumberof
governmentsstillfundnationalorpublicnewspapers.GoodexamplesincludecountrieslikeFrance
andNorway,whichdirectlyfundforprofitmediacompanies.Corporateresponsibilityisanother
formoffundingthatnewspaperscanseekout.OneproposedexampleisFacebookandGoogle
fundingjournalismaspartoftheircorporateresponsibility.Themainchallengewouldbeforthese
corporationstoprovidefundingwithoutseekingtoexertinfluence.

Micropayments
Withmicropayments,readerspaysmallamountstoaccessasinglearticle.Blendle,aDutchnews
platform,iscurrentlyrunningonthismodel,withindividualstoriescostingbetween10centsand90
cents.Basically,itstheiTunesofnews.Blendlehaslicensedcontentfromnearlyeverymajornews
outletinAmericaandEurope.Therearenoads,nopaywallsandusersonlypayforarticlesthey
like.Ifanindividualdoesnotlikethearticlethattheyhaveread,theycansimplyaskfortheirmoney
back.

Qualityjournalism
OneinterestingreasonwhyBlendlereaderssometimesaskforrefundsforparticularstoriesis
becauseoftheirquality.Clickbaitarticleslowerqualitystoriesthatpeoplecangeteverywhere
andforfreeseemtogetmorerefundsthanindepthbackgroundpiecesandanalysis.

Peoplewillonlypayforcontenttheyfindworththeirmoney.SoinBlendle,onlyqualityjournalism
startstrending,BlendlecofounderAlexanderKlppingwrote.

Investigativejournalismalsodrivesadvertising.Itswhatelevatesourbrand,saidJedHartman,
TheWashingtonPostschiefrevenueofficer,inarecentNewYorkTimesarticle.Andotherbrands
wanttoattachthemselvestoatrustedbrand.Newspublishershavecometotherealizationthat
thefakenewsandinformationoverloadthatisoccurringonsocialmediawillleadaudiencesto
seekalternativesourcesofreliablenewsandinformation.

MainimageCClicensedbyFlickrviaChrisPotter.

RelatedStories:
'RebelAlliance'anewbusinessmodelforVenezuelanindependentnewssites
Howtofinanceyournextjournalismprojectthroughcrowdfunding
https://ijnet.org/en/blog/7businessmodelscouldsavefuturejournalism 2/3
2017619 7businessmodelsthatcouldsavethefutureofjournalism|IJNet

https://ijnet.org/en/blog/7businessmodelscouldsavefuturejournalism 3/3