Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Exploring a new business model for online newspapers

My tweet above was a verbal expression of an interesting problem that I had been thinking about for a little while. It's no secret that newspapers are in a heap of trouble. Just today I read that average industry revenues fell 7.9% in 2007, 16.6% in 2008 and 30% projected for 2009. But the reaction that followed was astonishing and incredibly exciting. Immediately I had people respond saying they wanted to join in on the conversation - @davegray was my first responder, followed by @nickheise, @elledog, @annaobrien and @christopherberry. I had a flurry of links sent to me, and conversations immediately started happening on what people thought the core challenges were for this industry. Our passion is there. Many people who aren't even remotely involved with this industry want to solve this problem.

But why do so many people care to solve this problem that doesn't directly impact them? This isn't global warming and it isn't the future of health care. I think people want to solve this problem for the same reason I do - because we don't want to see newspapers die, and we know they can have a role and exist profitability in an increasingly digital world.

The point of this post is to begin a series of whiteboard ideas on how we (the dispersed group of individuals passionate about the same issue) can solve the broken business model of online newspapers. I have started to house links that people are sending me in my delicious account tagged under "newsmodel" and for instant communication of ideas, I am tagging most conversations with #journchat or #newsmodel on twitter.

I'm off to a rabble event in Toronto tomorrow to discuss "what's wrong with our newspapers". I won't be live tweeting but I will be following up with a blog post.

Looking forward to the journey.

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