Journalist entrepreneurs dream big

You can’t call it a dot-com boom – for one, there’s no money – but a new
generation of journalism start-ups claim to be heralding in a news
revolution, New York Times Magazine

In an article called “Putting the price on words”, NYT Magazine folllows the rise (and challenges) of entrepreneurial journalism:

“You can’t call it a dot-com boom — there is not much capital, there are no parties with catered sushi and no one is expecting to get rich. But this generation of start-ups does share at least one trait with its 1990s predecessors: a conviction that they’re the vanguard of an unfolding revolution.”

The article follows entrepreneur Sam Apple, who launched web publication The Faster Times with a promise that writers would be paid in ad revenue placed next to their articles. Is this the new news model? The article continues:

““Maybe this is what success looks like,” says Nick Denton, speaking of his own business, Gawker Media — a popular and profitable network of Web sites covering technology, sports and celebrity news — as well as of disruptive ventures like Craigslist, the free site that has decimated classified advertising, once a lucrative source of income for newspapers. “You can have destroyed hundreds of millions of dollars, or billions of dollars, of revenue for other people,” Denton says, “but without capturing it all yourself.”

“Yet for some — possibly foolhardy — reason, a lot of people still want to work in journalism, and even amid the depths of the recession, there have been stirrings of creativity. A multitude of younger, nimbler enterprises have popped up, unencumbered by the past and ready to try anything. History suggests that few of these ventures will ultimately survive: Web start-ups have a failure rate between 70 and 90 percent. But it’s quite possible that the experiments they’re staging are already producing the kind of innovations that make for new, sustainable business models.”

Read the rest of the article.