Readings for this week:
1.) “Do Women Lead Differently?” by Sherry Ricchiardi for American Journalism Review
2.) “What Makes A Successful News Startup?” by Mark Briggs
3.) “What Can I Build Today?” by Michael Meyer for Columbia Journalim Review
Discussion on the Briggs and Meyer’s articles:
This was one question I attempted to tackle in my Orientation to Graduate Studies course from last semester. Of course, there are many complexities as to why so many startups fail and no correct method to success. However, reading the Meyer’s article helped open a whole new idea as to how online news sites can work as becoming a successful model in an expansive world of journalism. The digital age certainly affects the way the public receives news. There are many outlets and models available out there; however, with so many available options comes the issue of high competition between numerous startups. The process of producing a successful online news site is even more complicated for community papers. I tend to agree with Meyer’s idea of building for the present rather than focusing on futuristic elements and methods that may never be available to those community, or national, newspapers. Rather than setting their sights on the future and what it may or may not have in store of online papers, community sites should focus more on the “influence model” that Briggs discusses in “What Makes A Successful News Startup?” Papers should focus more on following the present (successful) models of print papers rather than relying up digital elements. It’s about building a strong community that will follow and support the site and not about revenue. It’s about using the present and past models of print to help online startups grow. It’s about “audience loyalty,” as Briggs claims. According to Briggs, online startups “work best if [online] conent is ‘produced regularly, placed strongly in the news cycle, strategically linked to off-site resources and published in conjunction with an effective social media strategy,” (30).
The future is full of uncertainty. Journalism cannot depend on what the digital world has in store. Instead it should combine present models to build a strong readership with digital, interactive models of the future. A balance of the two, along with a desire to grab hold of a loyal readership, is the best way to ensure the success and power of one’s online startup.
Take the Demopolis Times for instance. I hate to talk badly of my hometown paper, but those individuals fail to understand the importance of combining all levels of journalism and technology to help make their online paper a success. Instead, they have two individuals running the site and all of the information online comes from print stories of the week. According to Meyer’s, social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook should be used to “break the news” with short, quick updates until a full, detailed story can be produced from those details. Those who fail to see online startups as a business model will fail to earn the readership and revenue needed to survive.