Dealing with the elephant, elsewhere

Paul Bradshaw comes up with a list of 10 ways that ad sales people can save newspapers:

“…how about a slot against the ‘most popular’ story of that minute (if it helps, think of it as the equivalent as the front page ad), second most popular, and so on (you could even auction these slots in the same way as Google does with AdWords).”

Daniel Victor calls for online news workers to stop playing the Underpants Gnome game:

“Basically, Web-savvy reporters right now are the Underpant Gnomes. We’re getting better at gathering the underpants, but we don’t know how to turn them into profit yet. That Web content is providing very little revenue now, and we don’t know how it’ll produce more revenue in the future.”

A few weeks ago at Idealab, MIT professor Chris Csikszentmihályi questioned the wisdom of looking for a “business model” at all:

“While the model in which a firm produces a product is common and viable, some of the biggest product success stories in recent history don’t actually come from businesses. That’s not to say that no one is making money from these products; there is plenty of green in these fields. But there isn’t a one-to-one mapping between business (in the sense of a firm) and product. These new products are generated under the alternate organization of knowledge, labor, and capital called the free software model.”

When the term “open-source news” has been thrown around in the past, it usually was related to what became a logic (if not exactly a movement) called Citizen Journalism. But what about the idea that the business of a news organization could be open-sourced? What does that even look like, organizationally speaking. And financially?

Things to continue to think about:

  1. Practical, iterative ways to work within today’s organizational structure to increase online advertising revenue.
  2. Getting the Webbiest brains in the newsroom to think about monetizing their work.
  3. What does a news business look like after we throw out the existing model and start fresh?

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