As the coronavirus outbreak dents media revenues, investigative nonprofits are grappling with tough issues around income and expenses. Following GIJN’s latest webinar on strategies for financial survival, entrepreneurship expert Ross Settles details the planning considerations that could help shape these difficult decisions in the months ahead.
As part of GIJN’s new series, Making Investigative Journalism Sustainable: Best Business Practices, we are featuring a set of key tips from 10 leading journalists and experts from around the world who are either working to build viable organizations around investigative journalism or work as experts to support these enterprises. Here is Ross Settles, Adjunct Professor of Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Hong Kong University
See videos from all 10 experts here. Also, check GIJN’s Resource Center sections on sustainability and fundraising to find useful tips and tools, and case studies on all the issues and more covered here. GIJN will continue to expand its work in this area and we welcome suggestions, feedback, and support. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Journalism has been mired in an economic crisis for years, prompting journalists to find new models of funding, and to experiment, innovate, and learn from one another. Some nonprofit organizations are raising funds through a range of commercial activities. GIJN’s latest Resource Center addition, written by Ross Settles from the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at the Hong Kong University, is designed to help journalists navigate the complex field of commercial revenue.
Introduction: The Three Main Commercial Revenue Strategies
Nonprofit investigative journalism organizations are increasingly borrowing strategies from larger commercial publishers to supplement their grant funding and to extend their impact. While membership and subscription strategies are focused on your consumers, commercial revenue strategies mean making deals with other institutions. There are three broad categories of commercial revenue strategies, each defined by what is being sold. Advertising: Selling marketers and advertising agencies access to your audience. Syndication: Selling other publishers access to your reporting or other internal data/information.
Six independent media start-ups in Poland are trying to counter the growing politicization and the financial pressures that have ravaged quality journalism in the country. But can these start-ups build audiences and become sustainable in a challenging media market?
At a recent meeting of the Institute for Nonprofit News – for my sins, I now sit on INN’s board – we learned an interesting statistic: About half the organization’s members have a strategy to drive readers to their own sites/destinations, and the other half count on distributing their content via other platforms. Does it matter how we reach readers? And should we care?
The proliferation of nonprofit newsrooms is one of the more promising developments in an industry wracked by a crumbling financial base and sweeping technological change. Since 2000, dozens of nonprofit media groups have sprouted, not only across America but worldwide. Many are deeply committed to investigative and accountability journalism, working to fill a void left by a mainstream media that either can’t or won’t do its job as social watchdogs. In April, the Knight Foundation published the third installment in a series of reports since 2011 tracking the progress of nonprofit news sites as they strive for a sustainable financial base. There are lessons here for media nonprofits worldwide.
I may have misled people for the last few years by saying that investigative journalism is not a business but a public service. Investigative journalism does, in fact, have commercial value. While investigative journalism may not produce the web traffic of popular topics, a media organization reaps intangible but valuable benefits. Jeff Bezos, for one, seems to appreciate that value.