MORE INFORMATION FROM KUER 90.1 Radio West about Newspapers and New Journalism Landscape

Monday, Oct. 31, 2011 | Connor Harrison

business_meeting2-300x199Salt Lake news professionals along with others gathered last Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011 at the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah to discuss the new business model of news organizations. Many newspapers are still shedding jobs and trying to find a creative business model that works.

Mark Jurkowitz, Associate Director of the Pew Research Center Project for Excellence in Journalism initially discussed what questions he was asking in his research about new business models in news organizations. His findings were that most organizations understood that there is a crisis and their corporate culture has evolved and changed. Yet these same organizations aren’t sure of what the model should be or will become.

[one_sixth][blockquote cite=”Codestar”]I think the newspaper itself is far from dead[/blockquote][/one_sixth]

I think the newspaper itself is far from dead, we are not dying we are actually very healthy, and learning to be more nimble, and responsive, and adaptive,” said Nancy ConwaySalt Lake Tribune Editor. “More information is better. We would be hypocrites if didn’t believe that. “

With no set business models for current news organizations it has become difficult to determine what works and doesn’t work for organizations, but there are some underlying themes within the situation.

“The media industry doesn’t have an audience problem, it has a revenue problem,” said Jurkowitz.

graphNews organizations are actually receiving more viewers and new audiences according Conway. The Salt Lake Tribune has its core readership, but Conway says they are receiving a younger audience online, serving more readers than ever.

“Because we have brand equity, people trust us, we have legacy, and they are used to us. And I also think you shouldn’t underestimate habit,” said Conway.

With organizations seemingly shrinking in size because of lost revenue organizations are fighting to determine what works and what doesn’t work. Large organizations newsrooms are still producing a majority of the news we hear in mainstream news.

“We produce the content, and we can’t paid for it,” said Jurkowitz. “The ants are stealing our picnic stuff, but we brought the goods.”

What Jurkowitz is saying is that the industry is having a problem with determining where its revenue can come from. Organizations can still advertise online, and they do, but where do they draw the line of aggregation or round-up news that takes what was already written and repurpose it?

Jurkowitz suggests, but fails to mention how, news organizations can create an appetite for good, reliable news, which can ultimately lead to revenue.

Clark Gilbert, President and CEO of Deseret News Publishing and Deseret Digital Media, suggests that the new model is a gain for the consumer, but a net loss for the industry.

“Most news orgs are doing the same thing they did with less resources, I don’t see how it’s a net gain from the lens of a news organization,” said Gilbert.

Organizations are trying to determine focus in what to write about, or focus on. Gilbert mentions that due to these limited funds, we are seeing more specific topic newspapers. Organizations have to focus in order to be reasonable in what they are publishing. You can’t have a bunch of content that doesn’t follow journalistic standards.

13108731According to Gilbert, Historically newspapers have done things “reasonably well.” Metro newspapers like the Tribune and Deseret News in Utah have to be reasonably well at everything, where as the Wall Street Journal is topic intensive and creates content that goes beyond being reasonable. They would be considered experts.

“On the internet, if you do something reasonably well, you’re a click away from someone who does it the best,” said Gilbert.

For organizations, the new business model needs to help them be the best in what they do. However, it was clear that even from professionals in the field that run large organizations, they don’t know what to do about these problems, they just know they need to attempt changes.


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