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Toward a new business model for investigative journalism

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Absence of alternative model ... Beginners waste time trying to write perfect sentences about events that affected someone else. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Toward a new business model for investigative journalism


1
Toward a new business model for investigative
journalism
Dr. Mark Lee Hunter Adjunct Professor, INSEAD CIJ
Summer School, July 21-22 2007
2
The Crisis is now
  • Shrinking funding for IJ
  • Shrinking audience for mainstream media that
    funded it
  • Absence of alternative model
  • Disproportion of training/skills between
    journalists and their subjects
  • Deteriorating brand of journalism

3
The Opportunity
  • Internet has created new and growing audiences
  • Diverse and large demand for reliable
    information
  • Disinformation creates demand for criticism
    (media blogs)
  • Communities create new relationships

4
The Goals
Get out of crisis Seize opportunities Earn a
living doing a thing we love… That makes the
world better
5
What is a business model?
  • The answer to these questions
  • What are we doing? (differentiation)
  • What is the value? (for us and users)
  • How do we do it? (resources, process)

6
Part One What are we doing?
7
The Current Model
Providing citizens with information (revealing
secrets) leads to better governance Watchdog
role prevents, denounces or redresses
missteps/wrongdoing THE CORE MODEL IS POLITICAL
8
Three additional answers
Provide informed guidance/judgement Make sense
of chaotic open source info Propose
alternatives (link to civic journalism)
Implication Move from secret to open source,
information to meaning
9
Our roles now become
  • Watchdog (classic function!) but ALSO
  • Aggregator/Monitor (massive info)
  • Guide (explanatory)
  • Critic (sense-maker)

10
Differentiators (key success factors)
  • Inquiry is a special skill
  • Massive data requires greater effort
  • Others dont have time to watch(dog)
  • Independence is appreciated

11
Part Two Wheres the Value?
12
The Value to Others
Help consumers to make better choices Help
investors make better decisions Identify
promising new talents, products, policies,
etc. Find sense in confusing information Denounce
false information Paradox Few of these practices
are considered investigative
13
The Value to Ourselves
  • Differentiate product (Canard, New Yorker)
  • Win prizes, fame
  • Develop skills
  • Enjoy the work
  • Gain independence…
  • and power (over self and environment)
  • Make money!

14
Part Three How are we doing it?
15
Our Processes Stink
  • High transaction costs
  • Bad product design
  • What marketing?
  • Poor cost control (what outsourcing?)
  • Poor and narrow evaluation of results

16
Our revenue models suck
Poor diversification/leveraging Weak and costly
distribution Losing advertising markets Losing
viewer/reader bases
17
Our HR policy is for losers
Low salaries/benefits lost talent What
managerial/team training? What mid-career
training? Early training focused on info not
inquiry
18
Our branding as journalists is suicidal
  • The public increasingly perceives our internal
    rewards…NOT general benefits!
  • Concentration of ownership corruption
  • Journalists NOT seen as differentiated pros
  • Journalists ARE seen lackeys
  • IJ is used for occult purposes!

19
Part Four Promising Alternatives
20
Style is Added Value
Michael Moore The news is bad, but getting it
is fun Agnès Varda (The Gleaners) News you can
use to stay warm
21
Local news is now global
Internet communities Global consumers have same
products/concerns. Courrier International
(France, weekly) Aggregated local news becomes
international themes
22
Independence pays… at least in France!
Le Monde Shift from counter-power to power costs
circulation Le Canard enchaîné 400,000 weekly
readers investigation (2/8 pp) underlines
credibility of commentary and reportage
circulation and revenue rising
23
The Internet Pays… for communities
  • Environmental movement Leading NGOs are now a
    news network
  • Radins.com Guide and tests of free offers
    supports owner.
  • Media blogs Desire to understand news
  • Potential value added Lifestyle support,
    reputation (access to ancillary revenues),
    advertising revenue, diversify audiences
    (plural!)

24
The Internet Pays… for VA content
  • Economist Group Electronic advertising revenue
    increased by 39 over year. Electronic revenues
    represented 17 of Group turnover. Consumer and
    business information businesses growing.

25
Value-added content leverage (Economist Group)
Group The Economist, Economist.com, Economist
Intelligence Unit, Economist Conferences,
Economist diaries, Rights syndication, CFO
brand family, Government brands, etc. Combined
advertising revenues up 20. Economists
worldwide circulation up 9 for the July-December
2006 ABC audit period, up 12 in North America,
8 in UK, 4 Asia-Pacific. Print advertising
revenues at The Economist up 18. Economist
threatens dumbed-down BW in US.
26
Part Five Strategic Perspectives
27
IJ as a disruptive technology (cf Christensen)
  • To promote/diversify IJ
  • Identify niche markets where VA info has value
  • Invade the niche
  • Widen applications to other markets

28
IJ in the blue ocean
Red ocean news, people general public
approach Blue ocean specific demographics,
communities poorly served by mainstream media Cf
Hamilton, All the News Thats Fit to Sell
Different folks like different info!
29
Diversify revenue streams
Private contracts/consulting Research/content
services to consumers, policymakers, NGOs Sell
IJ services to media, outsource scutwork to
specialists
30
New content media
  • Aggregators
  • Brand positioning around specific content
  • Portal/ring approach interlinked special
    interest sites/media (health, conspiracy, etc.)
  • Multi-media (incl. SMS), multi-lingual
  • Consulting services (subject to ethics code!!!)

31
In conclusion
  • IJ requires a wider definition to seize
    opportunities.
  • IJ requires renewed branding and ethics.
  • IJ requires new processes.
  • IJ requires an aggressive strategy of expansion
    based on differentiation.
  • IJ ISNT DEAD…
  • IT JUST ACTS LIKE IT WANTS TO DIE.

32
LET THE SOURCES SPEAK!!!
  • Beginners waste time trying to write perfect
    sentences about events that affected someone
    else. Let people who lived the story tell it.
  • NEVER STAND IN FRONT OF VICTIMS. What YOU feel
    does not matter compared to them!

33
When the draft is done….
Is it coherent? (the details fit together) Is
it complete? (all questions are answered,
contradictions are resolved) Does it MOVE well?
34
RHYTHM IS KING
A good story is like a train. The reader/viewer
must be invited to get on. The writer must get
the train moving. DO NOT STOP THE TRAIN. SLOW IT
DOWN ONLY TO RELIEVE THE READER OR SUMMARIZE
BRIEFLY.
35
Editing the work
Watch out for long sentences. They reveal your
confusion slow you down. Watch out for long
paragraphs. When a person/place/idea changes, so
should the paragraph. Watch out for bureaucratic
language. It makes sense only to bureaucrats.
36
For writing samples using this method…
Please visit my site http//markleehunter.free.f
r
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