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A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Thu - 18.12.2014


non-profit

The Associated Press will start distributing watchdog and investigative journalism from nonprofit organisations at no cost to its member newspapers on July 1, it announced at the 2009 Investigative Reporters and Editors Conference in Baltimore. It will be a six-month trial project involving four nonprofit journalism organizations, reported a press release.

The project is aiming to provide the nonprofits with an additional distribution channel, while making it easy for the AP's 1500 member newspapers to find and use this content. It will be provided via AP Exchange, the AP's web-based delivery system, at no cost to either the newspapers or to the contributing organisations. Exchange users will have the option of routinely displaying the nonprofit journalism in their news searches.

"We're seeing exciting growth in foundation-supported and other nonprofit journalism organizations that are producing public service journalism, which is at the heart of AP's news values," said Sue Cross, senior vice president, Global New Media & U.S. Media Markets. "As a news cooperative that enables its members to share content and provides them with a variety of choices, we want to foster an exchange that helps them easily access this journalism."

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2009-06-15 10:44

The city of San Diego is a microcosm of the current battle raging between the new and the old for the headlines of local news. As American cities struggle to maintain their regional papers, online initiatives are springing up to fill the gap left in community reporting. Now California's second largest city is covered by three reporting projects, functioning on very different business models.

The classic first: the San Diego Union Tribune is the city's only newspaper, which has an apparently bleak future. Revenue from advertising has dropped by 40 per cent from 2006. In March, a buyout shop, Platinum Equity, eager for its first publishing venture, announced that it would buy the paper. Last month the buyers revealed that 200 of Union-Tribune staff would be made redundant. However, it seems that the cutbacks at the Union-Tribune have not damaged its online edition, which averages 1.3 million unique visitors a month and racked in an estimated $10 million on $18 million in sales last year.

Author

Christie Silk

Date

2009-06-09 15:57

Michael Kinsley has offered his insights into what type of ownership model is preferable for a newspaper. He discusses how US newspapers often used to be owned by "grandees: wealthy and civic-minded individuals or families," but many of these sold out to large chains. As newspapers make less money, these chains cannot afford to keep them, so Kinsley considers whether ownership by a 'grandee' or a nonprofit foundation is the solution.

"Which will be most likely to provide the combination of financial security and editorial freedom that newspapers need?" he asks. Having experience of both different arrangements, he believes that "being owned by or dependent on a nonprofit foundation is the worst possible solution." Kinsley was editor of Harper's Magazine when it was set up as a non-profit foundation with money from the MacArthur Foundation. He reported to the board of directors, and had to comply with their "ruthlessly conventional views" and the tendencies of their friends to "take offense at any attempt to be interesting." He mentions that he had to publish a board member's wife's poetry.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2009-06-08 11:07

In an interview with the Telegraph, Tina Brown expresses her views on the future of newspapers and the professional journalist. The once queen bee of the high-end glossy magazine industry has now completely embraced the digital medium as editor in chief of the New York Daily Beast. Brown is now advising fellow journalists to recognise the need for 'innovative approaches' to the delivery of news and the varying business models to maintain them financially.

Author

Christie Silk

Date

2009-06-02 18:09

Google CEO and chairman Eric Schmidt has told the Financial Times that the company had considered buying a newspaper or supporting news businesses seeking non-profit status but that it is now unlikely to pursue either option. Speculation that Google might consider such a purchase has been rife for some time, and a feeling has emerged among some publishers that Google has a sense of duty towards newspapers, as its Google News product is entirely dependent on newspaper content.

Schmidt explained to the FT, however, that having looked into the possibility, the search engine was "trying to avoid crossing the line" between technology and content: "we have done well by letting content people do content in their own terms and in their own way." Google has concluded that any potential acquisition targets were too expensive or carried excessive liabilities.

With regards to any interest in the New York Times, Schmidt would not comment. Google was offered the 20 % stake in the company that is currently held by hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners: the stake which billionaire David Geffen was reportedly after. Schmidt did comment that Geffen would be an "excellent owner," but added that he did not know "what David is up to."

What Google is doing to help

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2009-05-22 11:41

Speculation has been rising on why billionaire investor David Geffen is interested in buying the 19.9% stake in the New York Times Co, currently held by hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners, and what he would do with the company's flagship paper if he had control. Geffen's first approach to Harbinger was declined, but commentators think he may well make another. The company has lost many millions this year already and given that the advertising market, on which the company depends on significantly for revenue, shows little sign of recovery, buying such a stake (likely to cost around $200 million) seems a risky investment at the moment.

BusinessWeek's Ron Glover and Newsweek's Johnnie L. Roberts both believe that Geffen is fully aware such a purchase would not be a good investment, and that he would buy the paper out of a sense of civic duty. According to Glover, Geffen already contributes large sums to arts and hospitals and would see his purchase as "a financial contribution to a national institution that likely will never be a large money maker." It would be a "deeply personal" investment for a man who was born in New York and grew up reading the paper, Glover believes. The paper is also "an impassioned voice for the liberal causes that Geffen likely holds dear." The billionaire tried to buy the Los Angeles Times back in 2006: this is not his first attempt to get involved in the newspaper world.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2009-05-14 14:11

Former industry analyst and media commentator Lauren Rich Fine wrote a strong criticism of the growing consideration of not-for-profit status as an option for newspapers. Last week she took part in the Duke Conference on Nonprofit Media, where she saw her role as "to remind everyone that the business model wasn't working and that philanthropists don't typically give funds to organizations that have yet to find stability."

Rich Fine believes that the best way to preserve good journalism is to "let the market figure it out on its own." She asserts that successful not-for-profit start-ups such as ProPublica or MinnPost are surviving not because of their philanthropic support, but because of their "entrepreneurial spirit and lean cost structure, two things most newspaper companies are lacking."

And indeed, many non-profit news outlets are online-only, with few staff and frequently concentrate largely on investigative journalism, meaning that their costs are low and they are more likely to attract funding as their reporting falls clearly within the public interest domain. Supporting a newspaper through donations would be a far greater challenge.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2009-05-11 15:09

Last Wednesday, May 6, the US Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet held a hearing to review the plight of the newspaper industry, to better understand new media and the new model emerging, and to assess the role that government should play in the media as it evolves. The Future of Journalism hearing was presided over by Subcommittee chair Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, who called the hearing in response to the threatened closure of his local paper, the Boston Globe, and the troubles facing newspapers across the country as advertising and circulation decline and the Internet replaces traditional media.

In his opening statement, Kerry says the committee has met to discuss not only the jolting condition of the newspaper, but also its implications for the future of journalism and the country. He believes it is important to "preserve the core society function served by independent and diverse media" and questions whether online journalism will "sustain the values of professional journalism the way the newspaper industry has." The committee invited five prominent representatives of various types of media to express their views about the Future of Journalism and offer their solutions.

Author

Caroline Huber

Date

2009-05-11 10:04

In advance of a of gathering at Duke University's Sanford Institute of Public Policy for a series of working sessions to explore new models for non-profit ownership of media, Penelope Muse Abernathy has prepared a background paper examining four distinct non-profit options for the New York Times. Abernathy holds the Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The NYT's financial situation

Abernathy starts by describing the New York Times' "unique" financial situation. For the last decade, its assets have been impressive, with a dual revenue stream from advertising and circulation that totalled $1.7 billion in 2008. In recent years, the New York Times Media Group has received 55-60% of its revenue from advertising, 30-35% from circulation and the remainder from other sources such as syndicating content. This is significantly different from that of many other newspapers, which typically count on advertising for 80-85% of their revenue.

Both advertising and circulation rates for the print edition of the Times are among the highest in the print industry, leading Times executives to speak of a 'virtuous circle' or cycle: premium content attracts a premium audience willing to pay a premium price, and hence advertisers are willing to pay a premium rate, which is then reinvested to continue producing the premium content.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2009-04-28 14:48

ProPublica general manager Richard Tofel said that the non-profit investigative journalism outlet cannot "save investigative reporting" in the US, reported Poynter. Speaking at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Wednesday, Tofel explained how the organisation could not possibly fill the gaps left by newsroom cutbacks across the country.

ProPublica has 30 reporters and offers its investigative stories to news outlets for nothing. Tofel stressed that the initiative has proved it can do major important work, such as a story earlier this month on medical care for US contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, published by the Los Angeles Times and broadcast by ABC News, which prompted a call for a congressional investigation. The site has also hired bloggers from Slate and Talking Points Memo to do three to six short stories a day, and Tofel said that its ChangeTracker and bailout blog produce interesting story ideas that other outlets could pursue.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2009-04-24 16:23

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The World Editors Forum is the organization within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.


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