Communication Leadership Blog
Richard Tofel, ProPublica general manager, praised the substantive work that the nonprofit news organization has been able to produce, citing the coverage of health care for contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet Tofel noted that ProPublica could not alone fill the gap in investigative reporting brought on by dwindling newsrooms. Tofel also argued that the organization's next big challenge will be to find a sustainable business model, so it can persist after the grant that began the project runs out.
Umair Haque suggests that the New York Times might save itself by buying Twitter. The NYT could use the timeliness of Twitter to disseminate the news. Haque suggests that Twitter offers the newspaper viral distribution, context, relational capital, and the ability to experiment with business models.
Over the next two weeks the Knight Foundation is asking the public to help define communities' news and information needs. Journalism's biggest foundation is skeptical that communities will have the information they need to be effective citizens in the digital age.
After the close of the Rocky Mountain News, reporters and investors sought to launch InDenverTimes, a news site funded by subscribers. Their goal was to have 50,000 subscribers by April 23, in order to fund their launch in May. As of today, however, the site has enlisted just 3,000 subscribers, causing the site's three investors to reevaluate the project. Some reports have suggested that the investors are withdrawing their support from the project, but the Westword blog suggests that they are simply readjusting their business model.
The Department of Homeland Security has stopped its subscriptions to general-interest publications like The Washington Post, Newsweek and the New York Times. Any future subscriptions will have to have prior approval. The department noted that employees would still be able to keep up with today's news, as these publications offer access to the content online.
The chairman of The New York Times Company spoke to shareholders today, but revealed no new plans for the future of the newspaper. He admitted that the website does not make enough money to support the newsroom, but offered words of comfort to shareholders that the New York Times will not fail: "It is this commitment to excellence that will get us through this turbulent time," said Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
Eight more hyperlocal community news sites have received funding from J-Lab's New Voices program. Each will get startup funding of $25,000 -- courtesy of the Knight Foundation -- over two years. Half of the winning proposals are associated with universities. Since 2005, New Voices has provided funding for 48 hyperlocal programs.
You might know him as an astute critic writing about film for The New Yorker. But David Denby writes about other things as well -- including some ideas on how newspapers survive the Internet age.
If newspapers go under, the argument goes, blogs and aggregators will lose the source of much of their news. To assess the validity of that assumption, Daily Kos looked at its "front page" posts for the week of April 6 through April 12, and counted up the sources of their linked items. They found that the plurality came from newspapers, 123 items, but that the newspaper content amounted to only 20 percent of the news items that Daily Kos linked to during the week.