Remember the scene in Blazing Saddles when the sheriff installed a toll booth in the midst of the prairie, and all of the crooks lined on horseback to pitch a dime in the turnstile as opposed to ride around the gate? Classic 1974 Mel Brooks; revisited with a perspective of 2009 irony. newsone Following the U.C. Berkeley Media Technology Summit held at Google a week ago, it appears that some strong voices have moved discussions from paid content. ‘Sell News Online’ won’t pass the smell test for 95% of news sites because shhhh…. online news is free.
The turnstile gate is up: readers can undergo it, around it, over it, and obtain news however, whenever, wherever they desire. Consumers are in control, advertisers have voted to pay their dollars elsewhere and media companies perhaps, may be starting to go over opportunities that scale. But the question remains, will investigative journalism survive the slow, painful transition of the media industry?
Not-for-profit business models like ProPublica are cropping as much as support investigative journalism.
John Temple’s compelling presentation on lessons learned from the Rocky Mountain News included comments that online news needs “more ways for local businesses to achieve prospects locally.
Advertisers were not represented. I didn’t see Associations from Restaurants, Car Companies, Auto Dealers, Convention Centers and certainly small businesses were not providing input.
It is interesting that the bread and butter of the media industry, advertisers, remain not asked what they think and how online news may play a role in the advertisers’ future. Perhaps since paid content is on the back burner, (I is likely to make the broad assumption that advertisers were not asked about paid content as a company model either), perhaps journalists can do what journalists do: research, investigate and report. There are numerous niches, industries and geographies that would provide data and perspective, if analyzed. If media firms had reached out and asked for feedback as early as 2006 when advertisers began to leave newspapers, they may be presenting an alternative history today.
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