Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Paying for what doesn't come free any more

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  • David Hood,

    There was a bit of discussion in the past few weeks on how, with the collapse in internet advertising revenues, subscribers have (or are about to depending on who you read) become the dominant revenue stream for the New York Times (this ebing seen as a benchmark figure of sorts). Some discussion ensued about the way this may effect the relationship between readers, advertisers, and journalism.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to David Hood,

    Some discussion ensued about the way this may effect the relationship between readers, advertisers, and journalism.

    I expect subscriber revenue to become increasingly important for big media organisations, but there's a basic conflict with public-interest goals in restricting access to the work produced. That's not to say it's wrong -- just that there will be a place fo non-exclusive subscription models.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Griffin,

    One of the things that a few journos have missed in the wake of Bernard's announcement is that it is a collaborative thing with the mainstream media, not a competitive thing - they shouldn't feel threatened. Bernard will never get the eyeballs Stuff or TVNZ get, so he'll need to partner with them, as Propublica and the Center for Public Integrity partner with mainstream news outlets. We had to overcome the same sort of resistance with the Science Media Centre - journalists thought we'd be competing with them. But we do everything in conjunction with the media and on a non-exclusive basis. This is growing the pie, not taking a slice from it.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2011 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The 10 minute Mediawatch interview with Bernard is from 22mins onwards of their whole 35 minute show (listening options). Maybe someone can ask them to put each story up as a separate file like other RNZ shows do?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Graham,

    Like.

    As a publisher, it’s interesting watching how things are developing in media. Television, which used to be free to consume, is increasingly becoming subscription based. Radio may not be far behind.

    Print, on the other hand, is moving (somewhat) from subscription to free and the internet is moving from free to subscription.

    Let’s face it, while content remains king, each media organisation will have to find its own mix of subs/ad revenues/alternative revenues and it seems to me that there isn’t enough creative thinking being applied to revenue streams within most of the larger news organisations.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 217 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan Ganley,

    As things stand, it’s a very time-consuming hobby, with undeniable advantages for visibility and reputation – and the great fulfilment of fostering a community of readers and writers.

    Photographers too, and we thank you.

    Since Dec 2006 • 234 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The idea of using events to fund online content appeals to me, as Russell knows :).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    And what possibility of Journalism.org.nz collaborating and sharing resources with David Beatson’s proposed Public Media Project, and/or the new Coalition for Better Broadcasting (ex-TVNZ7)? It could also be a worthy successor to the late & lamented NZPA.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5439 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Gillatt,

    I agree that charging people for the right to comment would do more harm than good. One option that I don’t think organisations have looked at enough is the offer of extras. This is done by kickstarter and by the subscription supported radio station [ http://kcrw.com/ | KCRW ] and it seems to be working for them.

    One of my income streams is freelance journalism and I’d agree that it’s pretty damn dry at the moment.

    Dargaville • Since Aug 2012 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jonathan Ganley,

    Photographers too, and we thank you.

    Of course. I am very proud of the photographers :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Peter Griffin,

    One of the things that a few journos have missed in the wake of Bernard’s announcement is that it is a collaborative thing with the mainstream media, not a competitive thing – they shouldn’t feel threatened.

    I strongly agree.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    We pay (donate?) $15 a month to Werewolf and would be happy to do the same for this new venture (and PA, of course!). All it might entail is stopping another subscription or two.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2560 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Geddis,

    New Zealand is a better place with No Right Turn keeping everyone honest, and with expert bloggers like Graeme Edgeler and Andrew Geddis writing ...

    I found this to be an interesting and thought provoking piece ... until I read this bit. Then I fell over laughing and hurt my think bone too much to continue.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    I found this to be an interesting and thought provoking piece … until I read this bit. Then I fell over laughing and hurt my think bone too much to continue.

    A better place because otherwise you’d be out on the streets fomenting something?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    fomenting? that's the other bloke

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Something I'd like, which might be easier to do than in-depth reporting, is an online version of the morning news on student radio. Headlines and stories, with a liberal bias (*everything* has a bias), cribbed as needed (but paraphrased) from various mainstream and other sources.

    The problem (which is why Wikinews flopped) would be getting people to work a reliable rota. Maybe it could incorporate student radio - has this ever been suggested?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    I'm happy to put money into anything that combats the "Len's Train Set" / beneficiary-bashing / race-baiting propaganda we get from the sadly degraded MSM in NZ. I've indicated I'd pay $50 a month just for starters....which is about half of what sport-loving people pay for SKY TV every month. I'd rather have something closer to the truth for my money. If it's good enough, I'll pay more than that. Sky isn't on the menu anyway as long as Rupert Murdoch owns any of it.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    And your generosity to Werewolf is greatly appreciated Geoff, you are blazing the trail.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Give away the news and sell the analysis? Thus, read for free the bare bones news about the Kiwi deaths in Afghanistan, pay to read the in-depth story and analysis by xyz.

    It is the payment method has always struck me as clunky on practically every media site I have every been to, exhorting me to buy a subscription to their internet magazine when all I want to do is read their science writer every couple of weeks and make the odd smart alec comment under a nom-de-plume in their gaming section. This why I believe internet subscription models largely don’t work. Payment is a conscious parting with a whack of cash when you only want to read the bits you want and only when you have a bit of spare time, you are in the mood to comment, or it is of interest to you.

    I am curious to know if anyone has ever tried a sort of trademe model – you deposit an amount of money and everytime you access “below the fold” for indepth news and analysis a deduction is made. Once your account has run out of money your attempt to access or comment takes you to the payment screen.

    And how about everytime you comment you earn “comments money”, maybe 1 or 2c, which is credited to your account. Moderation would deal with comment spamming for “comments money” and “fines” could be imposed on users by moderators for bad behaviour. I have seen a site which used arbitrary points (and published a league table) to reward active members, and believe me it works. And active and engaged members are more likely to feel happy depositing $10 or $20 to keep up their habit, or to stay in the top 100 of the comments league table.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    One idea is that a certain large US governmental organisation has been keen on funding moderate left-of-centre publications in the past. Maybe they'd be keen on throwing a few million dollars at a website that was critical, but not too critical, if you see what I mean.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Allan Moyle,

    and the cleansing satisfaction...

    Nice !

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    The American Prospect stays afloat by crowd sourcing from time to time. I get most of my political US news from it.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3225 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    If I dig around a bit I can find enough information on almost any subject to come to an "Informed position" and thus form an opinion worthy of an educated person. I don't need no stinkin' agrogators (or badgers for that matter)
    The problem is not what the curious can find to broaden the mind but what "Joe Average" is fed to keep him in line.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Graham, in reply to Russell Brown,

    ...but there's a basic conflict with public-interest goals in restricting access to the work produced. That's not to say it's wrong -- just that there will be a place fo non-exclusive subscription models.

    You forget, Russell, that the bulk of news media is not there for the public good, as much as it pulls that cloak on, but as a business,notwithstanding Hickey's new venture. News media before the internet was largely accessed by buying a newspaper or magazine. TV was 'purchased' by watching ads.

    Ad revenue is not sufficient to pay for online news services. I have some scepticism around public supported news organisations working, too. You might recall Salon tried this some time ago - no sign of that model now.

    In fact, I lament for the anticipated future of independent news media. As potentially compromised as it has always been, overtly in some cases, especially overseas, there has been some great journalism done. With fewer resources available, this is where we will all suffer - more Fox, less CNN.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 217 posts Report Reply

  • Kiwiiano,

    Perhaps a solution will be to devise micropayments like iTMS/Apps. I find myself faced with paying such trivial amounts for stuff I don't even think about it until the Visa bill comes in and then it rarely adds up to more than a decent bottle of wine. Gone are the days when software cost so much every purchase was carefully considered for days.
    Surely in this modern day lots of 20-50c payments or a dollar here or there is no more complex than the volumes of spam or stock exchange fiddles that slosh back and forth across the globe?

    ChCh • Since Nov 2006 • 46 posts Report Reply

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