There Are Lots Of Ways To Fund Journalism

from the if-you-look-around dept

As various folks in the news business (and outside of it) continue to fret about how it could be possible to ever fund the production of news, some are taking more positive looks at the space. Jay Rosen has listed out 18 different sources of subsidies for funding journalism (or journalism-like) work. Some of them are better than others, but it's a useful list to get you a thinking. Full disclosure: a part of our own business model is on the list. Along those lines, since people have been saying nice stuff about our business model, Jesse Hirsh has a way-too-nice writeup about our CwF+RtB experiment, which I still think is a bit short of a full business model, but is getting closer. Based on our experiences with it, we're getting more and more ideas on how to fund not just journalism, but all sorts of content creation.

And, really, that's the idea. There are lots of different ideas and experiments going on -- and many of them are showing early signs of success, and I'm sure more will come along at a later date that are even more successful. Really, the only ones complaining and demanding changes to the law are those who represent the old way of doing things, and don't want to change. They talk up all sorts of horror stories and moral panics about how "journalism" or "music" or "movies" are going to go away -- despite the fact that we actually have more of all three of those things happening today than at any time in history. Based on that faulty reasoning, they demand special protection not for "journalism" "music" or "movies" but for the old business models and old institutions that produced all three.

Eventually, as these new business models and new institutions work themselves out, it'll suddenly seem "obvious" what the right answers were, and people will forget the hundreds if not thousands of different experiments -- both good and bad -- that went into developing the new model. It's a time of upheaval, for sure, but there's no indication that there's any real risk to the production of content. Just a few businesses that got big and don't want to change with the times.
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Filed Under: business models, funding, jay rosen, journalism

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2009 @ 5:36am

    They talk up all sorts of horror stories and moral panics about how "journalism" or "music" or "movies" are going to go away -- despite the fact that we actually have more of all three of those things happening today than at any time in history

    Not at the same level. Most often you are trading one major league (inset item here) for a dozen minor leaguers. Sort of like killing major league baseball, and then claiming baseball is on the rise because 100 new pre-teen teams have started up for the next season.

    Aggregate volume? Sure. That warms an economist's heart. But quality, content, public visiblity? Things lost in the shuffle to make the largest number of widgets, I guess.

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