NewBizNews: The podcast

The latest edition of the Guardian MediaTalkUSA podcast, which I present, features the work of CUNY’s New Business Models for News Project and discussion with two folks who know hyperlocal: Deb Galant, founder of Baristanet, whom I crowned the queen of hyperlocal; and Jim Willse, editor of the Star-Ledger (who begins the podcast confessing that he began his day reading papers … online).

What’s fascinating is that Galant and Willse extend the idea of local networks.
* Galant wished for a local associated press that would enable news organizations and local blogs to share content and distribute each other.
* Galant at first resisted the idea of ad networks because, to date, they devalue sites and she’s already getting national and regional ads – but then, when asked whether she’d want a piece of advertising that would be up for grabs if a metro paper dies, she relented. The problem is that we need a new word and reputation for networks.
* Willse proposed a co-op apartment model in which the members of the ecosystem/network (call it what you will) engage others – a super – to perform mutual tasks (that’s the role of the framework in our NewBizNews models; it’s what Mark Potts’ Growthspur hopes to provide as a service).
* Galant and Willse also liked the idea of collaborating on journalism, doing more as a group than any of its members could do alone. That’ll be the subject of their next lunch.

It is gratifying to see these people who work in the heart of local adopting and extending some of the ideas we discussed at the Aspen Institute.

By the way, we will hold another meeting in New York to discuss the models, sometime in early November (as soon as I’m sure I’ll be back in full fettle). In the meantime, please take a listen:

  • “a local associated press that would enable news organizations and local blogs to share content and distribute each other.”

    The AP is the WRONG model for content sharing in a networked competitive ecosystem. The AP is a cost-avoidance mechanism not a source of profit. The AP charges for the content it distributes but doesn’t feed revenues back to the content producers (other than it’s own employees). It is cheaper to buy the shared stuff than to write it yourself but the real cost of working with them is that you forgo any cut of the revenue generated by your content when it appears on other people’s sites! That made sense in a world were folk had a monopoly on local content distribution but it doesn’t make sense if you’re in a competitive market.

    The CORRECT model for news bureaus would be the for-profit news syndicates like King Features, LA Times Syndicate, etc. With those syndicates, you can not only buy content, but you get paid real money when anyone uses the content *you* produce. Today, everyone should be demanding hefty revenue splits on everything they produce. (i.e. No money, no story…)

    The AP’s focus on cost avoidance rather than revenue generation was really useful in the old world of geographically defined markets and local distribution monopolies. The AP did a great job at what they were trying to do. However, the problem is different today and the AP has stuck to its legacy business model. The problem today isn’t reducing the costs of serving a captive market — it is market growth and monetization.

    bob wyman

  • Bob P.

    You may know this, but I just wanted to mention there is a great little network of hyperlocals that has sprung up in Seattle. Here’s one, for instance … … there are links to the others on that site. I’m not sure what the relationship between these sites is exactly. But I like them because they are just very simple, clear and elegant. I don’t always see a lot of discussion here about how hyperlocal sites are actually executed. Execution is important. I think these are well done. Sure, not News Of Huge Import, but things people in the neighborhood surely care about.

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