This used to be my candidate blog for the National Association of Black Journalists Region II Director race. The campaign is over (I lost, by the way), but I'm still really interested in the latest in journalism trends. So now the blog will be all about that. There were a lot of great sessions at this year's NABJ, which was held last week in Tampa. But today, I'll talk about a few items that showed up on my Google Reader.
First up, former CBS News anchor Dan Rather used a column in the Washington Post to ask President Obama to create a commission to study the "perilous" state of America's news media. "I am not calling for any sort of government bailout for media companies. Nor am I encouraging any form of government control over them," he wrote. "I want the president to convene a nonpartisan, blue-ribbon commission to assess the state of the news as an institution and an industry and to make recommendations for improving and stabilizing both"
While I applaud Rather for his passion on this issue, I have to wonder how much it will really help. The media got into this mess by not addressing the unleashed power of the Internet when it first started growing, and I doubt that a presidential commission will stop that movement.
Next, I read with interest two items -- one from PaidContent.org and one from Beet.tv -- on getting readers to pay for content. Paid Content posted about a plan being considered by FT.com to "unveil a pay-as-you-read model loosely based on Apple’s iTunes" as a way to boost online revenue. An executive says the plan could be introduced in about a year, and can work "as long as it’s easy for readers to pay and at the right price."
Beet.TV has posted a video interview with Josh Tyrangiel, Managing editor of TIME.com, who says in the future, "there will an upside for highly valued, niche content, and that subscribers will pay for "indispensable" information."
As newspapers and magazines scramble to put the genie back in the bottle and stop readers for getting news and information for free, it seems smart that readers will pay for information they see as "indispensable." It will be interesting to see how those payments are calculated and if readers will take the bait in the future. But whatever happens, someone needs to come up with a monetization model to stop the continued job losses in journalism.