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Yikes. How’s a nonprofit news organization supposed to take that? The tweet by CUNY journalism professor and industry expert Jeff Jarvis sparked quite the exchange with Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis last week.
Jarvis called in to join Lewis and co-host Andrew Keatts on this week’s podcast to explain what he meant, what entrepreneurs can learn from nonprofit news (and vice versa), along with his five rules for philanthropy-funded journalism. Here are some of the takeaways from Jarvis’ interview.
Yes, much of the news industry is broken.
“The best journalists are a finite resource. We should put them where they’re most needed and most valuable. And this is a larger discussion about getting rid of a lot of the commodity news we have. You know, the junk of TV news, the repetition of so much of what we do. You go into any story in Google News and look at a topic and you’ll find a thousand articles on the same thing — we can’t afford that kind of waste.”
Nonprofit news orgs need to get smart, and diversify.
“Now the smart organizations that are sustainable, that have lasted – Voice of San Diego, Texas Tribune, ProPublica – put a lot of resource into development and fundraising and events and other revenue streams. Part of the problem here is that a lot of these organizations don’t.”
Wait, did he just solve the impossible future of advertising?
“We can improve the advertising but the way we can do that is by getting past the notion that we’re in the mass media business still, that we’re in the content manufacturing business still. I think that we’ve got to be in the relationship business, and we have to know more about people.”
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