OK, class: Last weekend you were “hired” by Big Media Company to craft a quick-hit report on the state of newspapers—their past sins, present struggles, and future challenges/opportunities. This weekend, it’s Part II of your consulting project: You are to write another report (again, roughly 750 words), but this time focused on evaluating the various models for news in the future.
By “models,” I’m referring both to business models as well as reporting models, as we discussed in class today. In either case, our concern is with creating value—journalism worth having (for democracy), and journalism worth funding.
As with the last report, Big Media Company has a few questions they’d like answered, such as:
—There are so many models for news, with buzzword-ish kind of names. Generally speaking, what do they have in common? Where do they differ? How can we make sense of them all?
—Which kinds of models are most likely to work? (And which are most likely to fail?)
—What are the key trends in finding new ways to “make” the news and new ways to fund it? Which seem to matter most, in your opinion?
—Finally, what kind of model for news most interests you, and why? (This is to get you thinking about how it might be a springboard for your Knight News Challenge proposal next month.)
As before, I don’t expect a thesis. I just want to see that you can (a) find good information, (b) synthesize it clearly, and (c) reference it appropriately through the use of links.
Some starting points: A good place to begin is a nice overview piece, and here are two—one from Michael Massing, and this chapter from the Project for Excellence in Journalism‘s State of the News Media 2009 report. Those are must-reads. You’ll also find lots of material from my saved links on Delicious here. … Another key stop on this tour is NewsInnovation.com. Poke around the site for ideas. Then see Jeff Jarvis’ “What crisis?” post, and related posts on new business models (more here). Moving on: Paul Bradshaw’s insights on media economics here, and his take on the Jarvis CUNY project here … also, Bradshaw’s 21st century “news diamond” model is important for understanding how the process of newsmaking is changing in the digital environment (and a precursor to “networked journalism” that we’ll discuss next Thursday). As Jay Rosen suggests, there might not be a business model for news, at least not as we’ve come to know news; find out why. … We’ve talked a lot about news “packaging”—that there’s value in the packaging, and that the value has come unbundled on the Net. Ryan Sholin has some thoughts on this; use that as a starting point to learn about link journalism and the link economy. … Also, there’s some fresh material from Steve Outing on a save-the-news event in Denver; see his PDF handout, as well as a recent column on the future-of-journalism gathering in Aspen last month.
Write your report on WordPress: Yes, this is the second purpose of this assignment—to get you up to speed with wordpress.com, in case you’re not already there. This will be crucial for our group blog project later in the semester; we need to make sure everyone understands how the basics work here. To that end, I’d like you to assemble your consulting report as a blog post, complete with links, at least one embedded video, a photo or two (and caption!), and so forth. Add a few widgets (e.g., a Links list for a blogroll, some HTML text, an RSS feed, etc.). Obviously, that means starting with your own blog, which we set up at the end of class today. Just pick a URL that works for you, for now. Then, when you’re finished, come back to the class blog and post a comment to this post, telling us the URL of your blog and a very quick overview of your experience with WordPress.
Any questions? Just let me know. Have a great weekend!
p.s. Please finish all of this—report/blog/everything—by 8 a.m. Tuesday.