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Steve Outing – Are We Trying Hard Enough? April 17, 2009

Posted by Raquel in symposium.
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PANEL: Diverse Business Models in Online Journalism – Are We Trying Hard Enough?

The question Steve Outing addressed first was, like the panel’s title, are we trying hard enough? He said that at first the answer is no. Concerned about the direction things are going, he referenced Walter Isaacson’s front-page story on Time about the future of newspapers, which argues in favor of charging for online content.

Yet Outing argues that charging for online content is harder for smaller, community newspapers one in Denver than for larger newspapers like The Washington Post or Wall Street Journal. He mentioned that general buzz is that the model will be charging for online content.

Cautious about not being too negative, Outing referenced that small, local newspapers will live longer than larger, metro papers. Print newspapers don’t have to survive as long the as institution does, said Outing. He also believes in the idea of getting your content everywhere, through every media and through partnerships among media outlets. Though newspapers haven’t tried the agency model, becoming the agency for your community, and getting advertisers from that. The idea of having a content wall is outdated.

So who will be the successor of newspapers? INDenverTimes for example charges $4.99 a month. One really innovative thing they’re offering is that the user also gets the right to talk to their journalists, in a form of an open chat. He also highlighted the San Diego News Network, which developed a model of partnering to whichever outlet they could. So this becomes an ad-revenue, content-sharing model. As part of the deal, everybody has to promote each other. He also mentioned Huffington Post, The Batavian and Spot.us.

To conclude, Outing said that there should be an increased cooperation with Google, for example through Google News. People commonly hate the idea, he said, yet he was surprised at the animosity from the traditional press.



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