The paid-content riches are in the niches

GVX247Over on the “This is How We Roll” blog, I’ve posted some thoughts about a paid-content site I’ve been working on for weeks with called GVX247.
It launches Thursday and you can get all the details from the post there.
There’s been a lot of talk about paid content in 2010 and there will be more in 2011. Big experiments by media giants have launched in the last several months and more big experiments will launch in 2011,
Some of those involve paid websites, some involve iPad app strategies,  some involve niche sites, and some involve other models, including metered use.
The Analog Dollars to Digital Dimes problem has more than few publishers up at night looking for solutions beyond just advertising-supported media. What consumers will pay for and what they believe they should receive for free is a moving target. Finding the right place on the spectrum will be crucial for the eventual winners … and fatal to the eventual losers.
I do not see much of a future in taking shovelware content behind a paywall. For those that want to try it, good luck. The value equation just doesn’t seem to add up to much for the user along with the downside risk for publishers of becoming irrelevant in the community or marketplace (however you want to define those).
I do see the potential for deep dive paid-subscription content in niches with sports being one of the obvious top of the list plays. Financial information seems to work pretty for the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg as well.
What future do you see for paid content?

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Coming down from the mountain with a few ideas for iPad apps

Last weekend I spent an intensive and fascinating weekend at the Snowbird Resort in Utah working on ideas for applications for iPads, other tablets and smart phones. It was one of those events where the positive energy and creativity of the people there fed on itself.

Dallas Morning News Publisher and CEO James M Moroney III held the “Snowbird Digital Storytelling Conference” to brainstorm some good ideas for tablet and mobile applications for that newspaper. But it wasn’t just an internal brainstorming binge; a diverse group of other people were invited to join in. And that, I think, was part of the secret sauce that made it much more rewarding.

They included some tech industry folk, a science fiction writer, a folklorist, an entrepreneur or two, a couple college professors and some just interesting folks. They brought different perspectives of what they want from news and began from different vantage points.

And in one of those small world moments, I wasn’t the only person from Knoxville among the 30 or so people in conference rooms 8,000 feet up in the Utah mountains. I traveled across the country and met someone who is doing some intriguing mobile projects just a few blocks from my desk. That would be Eric Ogle of the University of Tennessee Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment’s Community Partnership Center.

Ogle has been involved in bringing free WiFi to downtown Newport with the aid of a grant and worked on a project that first came up with a browser-based multimedia tour called “The Beck Tour.” a tour of some historically significant sites around downtown Knoxville. That now has been released as a first-of-its-kind iPhone and iPad app.

We were divided into three, later four, teams, that developed ideas, winnowed them down to a handful and then honed in on the best from Friday evening through noon on Sunday. The goal was to come away with ideas that could be developed rapidly and introduced as early as the first quarter of 2011. We had to use available technologies and require days instead of months or years of development.

There was no skiing, snowboarding or snowman building.

The video above is about one of the concepts that bubbled up to the top. In it are Cassie Clark, web editor for the Dallas Morning News’, and Steve Ross. a long-time journalism professor at Columbia who now is corporate editor of Broadband Properties and continues lecturing around the globe. The concept is called “Take Back the Morning” and it is focused on regaining with the iPad and iPhone that “morning with your newspaper” experience.

You can see videos about some of the other ideas on the MediaWiki created for the conference. In addition to the presentation videos, Ted Kim did a nice conference overview shot and edited entirely on his iPhone.

Moroney had former Belo Interactive vice president/technology and digital journalism pioneer Chris Feola run the conference. He said it was the first “Feola Fest” he had put on in more than a decade. Chris, you need to do these more often. Seriously!

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Article comments: The Abilene experiment

An interesting approach to managing comments by editor Barton Cromeens at the Abilene Reporter-News: Get the commenting community involved and work hard at making comments add value:

The First Amendment is under attack.

Ironically, the attacker is a free press that is frustrated with a
changing media landscape and that is reacting poorly to a populace that
is equally, if not more, frustrated by unmitigated, unrestrained
vitriolic online commentary.

Readers and communities are fed up. Demands and threats are being made.

The most common demand – put an end to anonymous commentary. The most
common threats – litigation, withdrawal of financial support,
discontinuation of readership.

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Multimedia bootcamp coming up in February

bootcamp.pngFrom Val Hoeppner:

Forum New Media Training at the Diversity Institute will offer a
Multimedia Boot Camp for Journalism Professionals and Educators Feb.
23-27, 2011.

Registration is available immediately and on a first-come, first-served basis. Follow this link to register online:

The multimedia training is tailored for journalists but open to anyone
with an interest in multimedia storytelling, regardless of the
individual’s background.

For an additional charge, successful participants can earn 3 college
credits. The courses are accredited by the Media Studies Department of
Belmont University, which awards the credits.

Journalism educators, professionals, students and others can develop and
hone their skills in audio, photo and video storytelling at the boot

Tuition is $850, payable in advance. Registrations for the Feb. 23-27
class will be accepted until Feb. 7. Once classroom capacity is reached,
registrations will be cut off.

Information about hotels near the John Seigenthaler Center can be found on our website.

Questions may be directed to lead instructor Val Hoeppner at or 615/426-7160.

The hands-on training is modeled after the Freedom Forum’s acclaimed
multimedia curriculum and is equivalent to a 3-credit-hour college
course. It is designed for those with limited or no multimedia
experience. The schedule is intense.

The training will occur at the Diversity Institute’s state-of-the-art
school facilities in the Freedom Forum’s John Seigenthaler Center, 1207
18th Ave. South, Nashville, Tenn. Tuition covers all supplies, use of
multimedia equipment and software during training, some meals and
step-by-step guides to producing audio, video and other multimedia

Participants will learn how to:

• Produce multimedia on a budget, buy the right gear and find cheap ways to record and edit audio.

• Use basic tools in Adobe Photoshop: toning, cropping and text.

• Edit an audio story with Audacity, a multi-track editing software.

• Produce an audio slideshow in Final Cut.

• Produce two video projects, using Final Cut for storytelling and editing.

• Knowledge of smart phones and how they can be used to gather news.

To register for boot camp:

For more information about multimedia boot camp:

The Diversity Institute was established and funded by the Freedom Forum
as a school dedicated to teaching journalism skills and First Amendment
values by advancing news media diversity, fairness and excellence. The
Freedom Forum Diversity Institute, Inc., is a Tennessee public charity
corporation with offices, staff, programs and classes at the John
Seigenthaler Center in Nashville, at the Al Neuharth Media Center in
Vermillion, S.D., and at the Freedom Forum headquarters and Newseum in
Washington, D.C.

The tuition fee, payable at the time of registration, is non-refundable
if the participant fails to show up, drops out or cancels within 30 days
of the program’s start. However, if the cancellation is due to an
unavoidable personal or family emergency, the tuition payment may be
credited to a future class when space is available.

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Fellowship opp

This may be of interest:

Ted Scripps Fellowships in
University of Colorado at Boulder

“The program was better than I expected, mainly because of the educational opportunity. Once I realized how much I did not know, it truly became a renaissance experience for me. I feel like a new man, and I have much more intellectual energy to continue my journalism journey.”

            Jim Mimiaga, Fellow 2009-10, Four Corners Free Press
Apply now for the 2011-2012 academic year.  Full-time U.S. print, broadcast and online journalists with a minimum of five years professional experience are eligible.  Applicants may include reporters, editors, photographers, producers and full-time freelancers.  Prior experience covering the environment is not necessary. Fellows will take classes, attend special seminars, go on field trips and engage in independent study at a university renowned for its environmental science and policy studies.
The fellowship provides a 9-month stipend of $50,000, and additionally covers  tuition and fees.

Application Deadline:  March 1, 2011

For more information and application instructions contact:

The Center for Environmental Journalism
University of Colorado at Boulder
1511 University Avenue, 478 UCB, Boulder, CO  80309-0478
(303) 492-4114

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