New Models for Professional Journalism - Day 2
March 2, 2010
- Facilitator: Anders Gyllenhaal, Executive Editor, The Miami Herald
- Scribe: LuAnn Lovlin, The Winnipeg Foundation
How can traditional, mainstream media work together with start-ups, and how can the community foundation can play a role in this new media landscape? There are new and exciting opportunities for organizations to play a role in these interesting media times.
Mainstream media and start-ups have been at odds the past few years, and really should be working together. Strengths can help partners fit together for a new approach. Collaboration can bring new power to the picture. A new role for community foundations could be pulling all the players together.
Ex: Miami Herald wants to be experimenting with new approaches and ideas to local news coverage;
- Partners provide coverage;
- Work with Miami Herald tools;
- Provide online news;
- 8-10 active partnerships underway.
Seattle Times also partnering with others to cover the news throughout their state, and in Tucson – newspaper folded and in its place an online reporting site focused on sports has developed that is a mixture of news and information.
Sites can be topical – areas of interest may drive specific content. Five sites working with J-Lab, the Institute for Interactive Journalism (a Knight-supported operation that funds Web collaborations.) Miami Herald is one of the five.
Network built from open source concept of working more effectively to have more local coverage of news. Existing mainstream media provides conduit and tries different approaches to encouraging input/content. Sources of information need to be identified in the collaboration. A variety of information sources encouraged. In many collaborations, it is former journalists taking on reporting areas.
A source of revenue for new partnerships is through advertising. Many are still working on developing systems that will allow partners to make money – has to be self-sustaining in the long run. Develop complex sponsorships, new advertisers (not as costly as traditional print media).
How do you deal with the stories that are posted? Web gives you opportunity to track issues/areas of interest. Are there strategic areas of coverage? How can sites ensure a broad continuous view or coverage of an issue?
Don’t want to dictate coverage journalists do. Basic premise is they adhere to code of ethics in their work. Will there be problems? What about journalistic standards? Have to make room for different kinds of approaches, and deal with problems when they come up. To what extent do the new collaborations reach underserved communities?
All the big online players (AOL, Yahoo etc.) want to come in and take over the community coverage. It’s not necessarily a successful venture for the community. Trying to encourage interaction with communities…connectedness is not as big an issue any more…70 – 80% of most communities have online access.
Practical questions in the mix:
- When a partner wants to feed content to a site, is it reviewed or vetted by anyone?
- What about liability?
If you are not editing or reviewing content, you are not responsible for it. More importantly, partnerships are established for new opportunities.
Discussion of liability specifics and what is evolving. For community foundations, public perception is a huge issue. There are board concerns about affiliations – reviewing materials before going live…safety factor for community foundations very high. Do community foundations have the ‘starch’ to tell the community news it may not want to know?
An actively managed site often encourages more polite exchanges than expected, more interest and interaction. Over reaction about issues or news and comment is not as worrisome as anticipated. It is more of a conversation than reaction.
How do you convince traditional media that new approaches and ideas for information sharing are OK? That they can work well together and not demean traditional journalism? Monopolies have disappeared…no one entity is the only source of news. They can complement each other. Organizations may have to rethink their business model and consider new collaborations, shedding of some traditional roles to embrace new realities.
Community foundations are being asked to partner with grantees. How does it work well or fit together with defined boundaries - especially in the news and information business? You have to establish clear framework for the collaboration. Perception is important. How do the community foundation trustees participate? An Advisory Board could be effective.
Example: Community Foundation plays no role in influencing editorial content even though it is a funder of the community news reporter position.
Another example is where reporters are for hire to follow certain stories / issues for development and sharing.
Another question asked: Can community foundations fund positions to mine existing data and pull it together in a usable/readable fashion and post online to support other information?
Scale is not always in the best interest of sustainability. Community foundations have to be focused and realistic about what they can do. They have to figure out what they are going to be about. You can’t be everything.
How do you get these new partnerships working? Looking for ways to help each other…traditional media partners have great reach…need new partners to fill in the gaps with information sharing. New partnerships can grow the pie together for a very long time.