Does 'Radiohead Journalism' Make Sense?
from the give-it-away-and-pray dept
Then, with little direct publicity -- beyond mentioning it on Facebook and Twitter -- the story got a bit of attention. Not a ton, mind you, but a few thousand views, which resulted in about 160 people donating a bit over $1,500. Combined with the kill fee from the NY Times for backing out on publishing the feature, her expenses were covered.
There are some interesting things here, but I'm afraid that the catchy name "Radiohead journalism" is not really accurate or a very good way of thinking about this particular experiment. Radiohead had a variety of other income streams, and from the very beginning, the band admitted that the "name your own price" offering for digital files was part of a way to get more attention for the fancy "discbox" tangible version of the album. In other words, Radiohead always had an additional reason to buy, which Williams didn't really have. Her model was more of a "give it away and pray" for donations, which can work in some cases, but isn't really sustainable.
Still, it does show that there are some creative ways (and this is but one of many) to fund longer form journalism -- and, contrary to the opinion of some, if there's real demand for such things, business models will begin to develop. Williams, for her part, seems interested in further experimenting and improving on the model, and I'm hopeful that she'll look at some more involved business models that go beyond a straight donation model.