In the spirit of the SPJ conference…

After attending the SPJ conference and hearing Etan Horowitz describe how to attain and sustain a career in the media world, I checked out his blog. It was interesting to hear how his skills and his blog led to his current job at CNN International. He encouraged us to find something we enjoy writing about it and blog about that subject.

On his technology blog, I found an older post about a BarCampOrlando conference where he semi-spontaneously did a talk on paid journalism. He asked, “What kind of journalism would you pay to support?”

First, he asked the audience what print publications that they pay for. Then, he asked what online news sources or other online things that they pay for. Just based on these questions, he found that this audience pays for more specialized publications than anything else.

He presents several ideas that could be options for newspapers and media to make revenue online. One of the ideas is charging for advertisement-free version of a newspaper’s Web site. He says, “Perhaps if, in addition to being ad-free, these sites were better designed and cleaner than normal newspaper web sites, people would be willing to pay.”

Other ideas he brings up are having papers organize sponsored events, allowing readers to pay for premium coupons and adding a “donate” button to news sites. Even a year after he wrote this blog, there still isn’t a solid and positive answer to his question “what kind of journalism would you pay to support.”

“Whatever solutions newspapers come up with, they are going to have to pass muster with our local readers and community members, so it’s in your best interest to get them involved early,” he said.

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