Venture journalism

Dr. Michael Maier, founder of Netzeitung, the 7-year-old online-only newspaper serving Germany, is leaving to come over here for a Shorenstein fellowship at Harvard, I’m glad to report (for our sake). On the way out, Maier is buying the networked journalism project he started there,, as a platform for German-language citizen journalism (Bürgerjournalismus) and the flagship for a new venture, Blogform Publishing, bringing Web 2.0 to journalism. Maier is a accomplished journalist — former editor of the Berliner Zeitung, Stern, and Vienna’s Presse — and an experienced entrepreneur, so I look forward to seeing what evolves. (Here‘s my Guardian column about Maier, Netzeitung, and Readers-Edition.) He sent an email to Readers-Edition writers (if I get the translation right) saying: “I believe that Readers Edition has great potential. . . . This changes the journalism fundamentally and it changes the society fundamentally.” Interesting that in the comments on the announcement at Readers-Edition, there was much discussion of payments. Which leads me to this. . . .

I found this checking out links at Medienlese, where I also saw a link to Thomas Knüwer, Handelsblatt journalist and blogger, talking about VCs supporting new journalism ventures (auf Deutsch). Which leads me to this. . . .

I wonder whether we will, indeed, start seeing more venture investment in not just media but specifically in journalistic projects. Some have said that the moguls thinking of spending billions to buy hunks of Tribune Company or the New York Times Company would be better off just starting new ventures that are not dragged down by the tremendous costs of old media’s infrastructure. There is money to be made in news and I do think it will be made a lot faster creating new ventures rather than trying to reform old ones.

  • Amen.

    Those with billions, please apply here: We need about 1/50th of a billion.

  • There is money to be made in news, yes, but I don’t think creating a “news company” is the best bet.

    We all wonder how “long term assignment” reporters will get paid. I think it will more likely be a free-lance situation than a salary position.

    I’m sure your current and future ventures will be making creative use of these new paradigms.

  • Untill now we not only get a discussion about the reimbursment for the authors, if the “readers edition” go commercial.

    More fundamental it’s about the standing of a project launched in citizen journalism. What are the fortunes of this, what could be special advantages and how to combine professional and citizen journalism.

    Unfortanetly Michael Maier doesn’t offer any informations about the objectives – there was just a very vague Email to the authors that he is waiting for some ideas how to go further – not a very good style for a Web 2.0 project.

    Nevertheless for some /the most (?) of the authors of the “readers edition” this is a very interesting and prospective project in citizen journalism in

  • Hasan Jafri

    The trouble with buying into hunks of The Tribune Company or The New York Times Company would be the cultural baggage peculiar to those organizations. Large, established institutions have very entrenched ideas of who they are and — more troubling — who the reader or the market is. Starting from scratch would be more work in some ways, but it would deliver the buyer from tedious restructuring and debriefing.

    I was an Alfred Friendly Press Fellow some years ago and remember asking the executive editor of a rather large American newspaper what he was going to do about his readers’ age trending toward sixty. He said: “Let the owner worry about it.” He would have been more prescient if he had said “let the BUYER worry about it.”

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