Revenue 2.0: Practical solutions

by Mathew on March 26, 2009 · 13 comments

My apologies to regular readers for the scarcity of posts at this blog lately. Being “communities editor” at the Globe is taking up every minute I have and then some. I realize it’s not much, but here’s a recent post I wrote for the Nieman Journalism Lab

As almost everyone is well aware by now, there’s been a never-ending roll call of doom in the newspaper business for some time — papers closing, companies filing for bankruptcy, massive layoffs and so on. Some have chosen to deal with this by clinging to the old “accentuate the positive” approach, but the most optimistic signs by far have been the journalists who are forging ahead (such as the InDenverTimes, an online startup staffed by laid-off Rocky Mountain News reporters and editors) and trying to come up with concrete solutions, instead of moaning about how much better everything would be if we could only convince people to pay 50 cents every time they read a story on a newspaper’s website.

One of the most recent efforts at developing practical solutions was the Revenue 2.0 project, which came together for a brainstorming session last weekend in Washington, D.C. aimed at revenue-generating ideas that newspapers of all kinds could implement right now. The project started with a manifesto, in which the group declared that “unlike recent confabs of executives, editors and academics, we are hands-on professionals charged with delivering media solutions every day” and added:

We reject the belief that media companies should pursue models based on pay-for-content plans or philanthropy. The latest report from Pew concurs. Instead, we believe the best hope for media companies to make money is the old-fashioned way — by earning it from advertising.

The group was brought together by Alan Jacobson of Brass Tacks Design and Matt Mansfield of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, a former deputy managing editor of the San Jose Mercury News. They set out four practical goals.

(read the rest of this post at the Nieman Journalism Lab)

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