“Undeniably, there is money to be made in digital publishing with free reader access, but whether that revenue leads to profits depends upon the scale and scope of the organization. The potential revenue does not appear to be of the magnitude that will support the massive operations of existing news organizations. What works in today’s web landscape are lean and mean organizations with little or no management bureaucracy — operations where nearly every employee is working on producing actual content. I’m an extreme example — a literal one-man show. A better example is Josh Marshall’s TPM Media, which is hiring political and news reporters. TPM is growing, not shrinking. But my understanding is that nearly everyone who works at TPM is working on editorial content.”
I think that John’s on to something here. One of the things that I’ve been pondering lately is whether it would be possible to do a news site devoted to a small, niche market which didn’t follow the usual norm of “cover everything in little depth”.
Instead, it might be possible to do few stories, but high quality ones – two or three stories per week which really dug under the skin of a topic, getting real exclusives.
In other words, do real reporting rather than rewriting everyone else’s stories.
Of course, you couldn’t support a newspaper-sized organisation like that: But one person, working on their own, might just be able to make a decent living out of it. In a sense, it might be the long-hoped for “real” internet revolution: true disintermediation.