That sustainability question

It is not about just refashioning journalism, it’s about reinventing the business proposition for news. Janet Coats of the Patterson Foundation wrote yesterday:

Instead of looking to the past, to the old buckets for ad revenue, we’d better focus on those three themes — mobility, Internet dominance in all content areas and improving user experience — as places where we might get ahead of the money.

For journalism to work, it has to prove its value to the community it serves, and proving that value means attracting business revenue – whether through advertising, subscription, or underwriting by an audience committed to the coverage your provide. Likely, it will be a combination of all those things, and more.

Coats, manager of the Patterson Foundation’s New Media Journalism initiative, is seeing a lot of ideas around journalism projects funded by foundation support, the Public TV/radio telethon model and just plain contributions. But doesn’t see those as sustainable models. And neither do I.

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