The future of media business models

I turn back to a point I came across a few months ago: when it comes to understanding online media, tradition is not a business model. Which is why I was more than delighted this morning to read a piece (not shockingly from the Knight Foundation) that at least broke the mold of square peg/round hole suggestions for pay walls.

I said I wasn’t surprised it was from Knight for two reasons. 1) I usually hold them in high regard because of my own work with my Syracuse’s Knight Chair while a graduate assistant a few years back; 2) they are usually on the leading edge of driving innovation in Media. As noted in the article, “its report says journalism does not need saving so much as it needs creating.”  It’s even helping CUNY’s Grad School of Journalism promote the very cool NewsInnovation.com.

There have been a bunch of very cool developments when it comes to pushing the envelope. One of my favorite’s this week was Spot.us, who is driving the idea of community-sponsored journalism. Why not, right? Newspapers are for driving ads, not necessarily the best journalism for the community. The community should decide what’s best for all at hand by more than just subscriptions, right? Just one innovation out of the many listed in the Knight article that turns the current perception of success on its head.

My own joke from a few months ago was the media needs to stop acting like an institution and start imagining itself as an aggressive startup. Get in the weeds with grassroots or community groups who stand to build and provide content, while gaining a mutually beneficial relationship that leads to mass exposure.

Either way, to save journalism (read: investigative reporting, not the pieces of dead tree that prints it), it’s clear that new thinking is mandatory. Let’s keep the ideas coming, because taking news out of Google just seems like an awful one to me.

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