Fishing for new models

“We don’t make any money and we’re
not designed to make money,” the Tyee’s David Beers said in this
interview with the Chicago Reader
. That business philosophy
didn’t stop BCBusiness from naming the Tyee one
of the province’s most innovative companies

How do you produce quality journalism
that you give away for free? In this BNET Media post, David Weir
writes the
alternative press has a business model, too
– and it seems to
be working. Relying on advertising and foundations, adapting to a
free content environment and working with smaller profit margins are
some features behind the steady success of alternative media outlets.

In this 2006 Project
for Excellence in Journalism roundtable
, Richard Karpel of the
Association of Alternative Weeklies predicts that mainstream papers
will move to a free newstand model within five years. That’s now just
two years away, but the mainstream still seems stuck in the paid
content model, even looking to expand it to the internet.

Can the dailies step out of the tarpit? “Not since the Seventies have we had
a genuine chance to imagine the possibility of a different business
model for newspapers,” says the Guardian’s Ray Greenslade, quoted
in this
Media Notes post
. A special
in Editor and Publisher looks at spreading the financial
risk of news reporting among non-profit societies and community-based
entrepreneurs – looking a bit more like the alt weekly sector.

It’s not all roses and rainbows in Indy
Media Land, though. In this panel
, alumni of the Independent voice familiar-sounding
concerns, like the spreading influence of alt weekly chains. For more
information about alt media, visit J-Topics
– Alternative Media.