“A luxury we can no longer afford”

“New Business Models for News” was the title of a conference held by the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism. You can read the full post by Dorian Benkoil at E-Media Tidbits but the goal of the (3rd annual) conference was “…to try to find ways that the news business can survive.”

“The 150 to 200 people there were a diverse audience — local bloggers and independent journalists trying to make a living, reps from big media companies like The New York Times and Gannett, venture capitalists, foundation funders, educators, consultants, students, technologists, advertising salespeople, ad network experts.”

“You’d better take an interest in the spreadsheets that represent your income and expenses, and cash flow statements that will determine if you can meet payroll every week — even if that payroll is just you, working alone. You may even have to consider, in the words of NYU’s Jay Rosen, that “there may be no business model to replace the old business model” — but you’ll still have to find a way to pay for it all.”

“But being unaware of anything having to do with the cash flows that support the news operation is a luxury we can no longer afford.”

nama-trends-nafb-09-7Reading and thinking about this conference brought to mind my many chats with Chuck Zimmerman, a former Learfield employee who struck out on his own (with wife Cindy) and has created a small but successful business as an ag journalist (specializing in agriculture marketing).

Over the course of the last several years, I’ve heard Chuck talk about dealing with finances, ad sales, server problems, and a bunch of other stuff that had not much to do with reporting a story but a lot to do with putting bread on the table.

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