Journalism Online Brings e-Commerce Platform to Nonprofit News Publishers

Arrangement with Knight Foundation to Let Grantees Launch Press+ System to Attract Donors, Members

New York — Journalism Online, the company formed last year by Steven Brill, Gordon Crovitz and Leo Hindery to enable digital news publishers to collect revenue from online readers, today announced that its Press+ e-commerce platform will help journalism grantees of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to seek online subscription revenue and reader donations.  The arrangement will help set these news sites on a course of sustainability for the important work they perform online.

Among the first Knight grantees to begin using Press+ is the five-year-old New Haven Independent (www.newhavenindependent.org), the hyper-local professional journalism site covering schools, neighborhoods, businesses, and local government in New Haven, Connecticut. The Independent, which relies on a mix of foundation support and reader donation, “will now have exactly the platform we need to encourage our devoted readers to support us at exactly the moment that they are reading the stories they appreciate most,” said Independent founder Paul Bass.

Known for its support of the ambitious nonprofit news organizations that are proliferating across the country, Knight Foundation told its news-affiliated grantees that it had made an arrangement with Journalism Online to allow the first ten grantees who launch Press+ within the next six months to receive a one-year waiver of the revenue share that Press+ charges affiliates for its platform and payment and advisory services. The goal, Knight told its grantees, is “to encourage you to seek permanent sources of financial support.”

“The Press+ solution offers an easy way for us to ask for donations or to charge for content,” Bass said. ”For example, we could attach a meter to our education coverage and ask readers who read more than five or ten of those stories a month to pay a few dollars to become Members of an Education Coverage Group. Or we could simply ask for donations at different levels. We’ll no doubt experiment with a mix of all Press+ has to offer us as we integrate their platform.”   

“We’re delighted to jump in and work with the Knight grantees to get them on a course of long term sustainability,” said Steven Brill, co-founder of Press+. “This kind of targeted, pro-active solicitation will be far more compelling than simply having a donate button at the bottom of a website. And, as we continue launching Press+ at the websites of for-profit newspapers, magazines and websites and build a critical mass of Press+ users,” Brill added, “the nonprofit affiliates will receive further benefits by installing our system – because our accountholders will be able to support their favorite nonprofit journalism sites with one simple click to their existing online Press+ accounts. And donors to the nonprofit sites will similarly be able to support the work of the for-profits by buying their subscriptions with the same one click.”

About Press+

The Press+ e-commerce platform, with over 1500 affiliates, launched on news sites across the country this past summer. It allows publishers to choose and adjust multiple options for paid access continually, with each publisher selecting its own business model, offerings, and pricing. This includes the “metered model” under which many readers will continue to access sites for free, while the most engaged readers will be asked to pay a modest charge for full access. Press+ gives consumers the convenience of one account and password to access their favorite web sites.  For more information: www.mypressplus.com.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Since 1950, the foundation has granted more than $400 million to advance quality journalism and freedom of expression. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed and engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.

Contacts

Cindy Rosenthal, Director of Public Affairs, Press+
212-332-6406; cindy.rosenthal@journalismonline.com

Marc Fest, vice president for communications, Knight Foundation
305-908-2677; fest@knightfoundation.org

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.