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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 The idea of having a content wall is outdated.

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Steve Outing warns journalists of charging for online content April 17, 2009

Posted by Stephen Keller in symposium.
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Steve Outing, columnist for Editor & Publisher, told a packed room of media professionals and students Friday that the news industry needs to think outside the box.

Outing kicked off the first panel at the 10th International Symposium on Online Journalism with a presentation called “Diverse Business Models in Online Journalism: Are we trying hard enough?” His answer was a resounding no.

“Personally, I’m a little bit concerned about what’s been happening,” he said.

Many news organizations have been toying with the idea of charging for content, but Outing warned that paid content won’t work except for niche publications like the Wall Street Journal.

He mentioned the new company Journalism online, which will set up paid content models for news providers.

“The idea is setting up a technology system to make it easy for news publishers to charge for their content,” he said. “If you look back in history, there are many examples of trying to charge for online content — It’s tough.”

He said news organizations need to become “digital-centric.” Elaborating, he said digital content needs to be at the center of the organization, even though that’s not the biggest revenue yet.

“You have to go where the puck is going, not where the puck is,” Outing said, quoting Wayne Gretzki.

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