Archive for September 15th, 2009

Future models for news

If today’s class focused primarily on the past—especially the sins (original sins?) of newspaper companies in the digital era—then Thursday’s meeting will focus mainly on the future: Where are we going? How are we going to get there?

The key here is to imagine what kind of models for news are most likely to succeed in the future. While there’s some considerable guesswork around that question—as Clay Shirky rightly noted: “We’re collectively living through 1500, when it’s easier to see what’s broken than what will replace it”—we nevertheless need to give it our best effort, to dig around the field of journalism to look for flowering startups and initiatives with promise.

Part 2 of your “consulting project” (which begins this weekend) will take up that very question: Which models for news hold the greatest potential, and why?

There will be no right answer, of course; I’m looking more for your ability to weave together logic, evidence, and sound judgment. To spur you’re thinking in this area, a couple links that I’d like you to tackle for Thursday:

—Clay Shirky’s 30,000-foot view of the need for a revised news model (that is, more than just a reboot of the business model)

—Jeff Jarvis’ proposals for new biz models for news (here and here), although it’s important to point out that both imply significant “cultural” changes to news production as well (additionally, you might want to peruse his New Business Models for News site).

Don’t get too bogged down in the details; just focus on the big-picture takeaways. And I’m giving this to you a little late, so you have until Thursday morning to respond on the blog.

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