Disruptive News Technologies: Stakeholder Media and the Future of Watchdog Journalism Business Models
Posted: 5 Apr 2010 Last revised: 23 May 2012
Date Written: March 31, 2010
The decline of the news industry is rooted in a vicious circle of financial leveraging leading to capacity cuts, and then to declines in quality of content, credibility, audiences and revenue streams. Simultaneously, a competing sector of media, which we call stakeholder media (because they are driven by communities of practice or interest), is expanding. We argue that the future of watchdog journalism is directly linked to stakeholder media, which will furnish a growing share of the public and the revenues necessary for investigative reporting. We first analyse the decline of the news industry and identify capacity as the key vector. We then outline the chief characteristics of stakeholder media, and conclude that in key respects their values and operating principles are consistent with investigative reporting. We proceed to analysis of four successful enterprises that offer investigative news and services directly to stakeholder communities, from the standpoint of content, processes and value created. In our discussion, we identify emerging and potential revenue models for watchdog news enterprises, and the necessity for reform of processes and distribution. We also point to non-monetary sources of value for investigative reporters. We conclude that there is an urgent need for increased focus on business development, as opposed to investigative projects, for watchdog journalism to progress.
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