I’m a journalist for a publishing company that primarily focusses on B2B publications, including subscription-based online content. This works for us, because we’re targetting a niche market and providing in-depth information for the industries we write for.
However, when it comes to the general news sites, I often wonder whether they’re worth my time, let alone money.
Unless these online publications are going to improve significantly, they’re not going to make money from subscriptions. When you’re providing the exact same stories that people can hear about from peers on social networking (and with the same spelling mistakes to boot) then why would people pay?
The way I see the industry, the entire model of journalism is changing. People will pay for online content, but only that which is of interest to them – so industry – or interest-specific publications, or those sites that offer more in-depth analysis of current affairs (think Crikey).
The thing that’s especially great about journalism on the net is that you can target a niche audience and still get good returns, because you can reach that niche on a much larger scale. The media needs to stop looking at the mass market (read: mainstream) and start looking at the wants and needs of individual groups.
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