October 21, 2009

Building a better journalist: it takes a village, $ and an evolving business plan

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rita_hibbardwebBuilding a better journalist. The future of the news media. These aren’t small subjects. They’re what’s on the table Saturday at the University of Oregon in Eugene where I’m invited to be part of an all-day conference sponsored by the Oregon and Southwest Washington chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. The lunch panel, which I’m joining, takes on that subject — the future of the media with emphasis on new and emerging business models.

I’m happy and honored to be asked to participate. I feel I have a unique perspective — InvestigateWest truly is representative of the new media ecosystem — a new business model emerging from an industry that is struggling to continue to support public service and investigative journalism. Also on the panel with me will be be Steve Woodward, co-founder and CEO of Nozzl Media INC, a Portland startup that builds real-time streams of news, ads, social media and public records content for newspapers to deliver to smartphones and embed in their Web sites; Greg Swanson, founding partner and CEO of Portland-based ITZ Publishing, which has partnered with Journalism Online’s effort to introduce a paid business model; and DJ Wilson, president and general manager of the KGW Media Group in Portland. The panel is moderated by SPJ President-elect Hagit Limor, WCPO-TV’s Emmy and national award-winning investigative reporter. Should be a lively discussion.

What InvestigateWest brings to the table is a triple revenue stream-supported business model. Today we are announcing a generous grant from The Bullitt Foundation. We previously obtained support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.  We have support from individual donors, and will be launching a campaign soon to generate more. We also will sell the investigative journalism our journalists produce to media partners. We hope this three-legged stool can support the kind of in-depth, accountability journalism that costs money, time and resources, and that the old business model, supported by near-monopoly advertising that once generated rich revenues that supported large newsrooms, once provided.

InvestigateWest journalists are taking risks, trying new approaches, seeing what works. We’re dedicated to the journalism. The business model evolves. Stay tuned, it will be an exciting ride.

— Rita Hibbard

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