How Will Journalism Keep The Lights On?

Friday, May 10, 2013


As audiences for media splinter and advertising with it, how will the journalism concerns that we've grown to know and love keep the lights on? Bob talks to Alan Rusbridger of the Guardian, Mike Perlis of Forbes, M. Scott Havens of The Atlantic, Erin Pettigrew of Gawker, Evan Smith of The Texas Tribune, Richard Toffel of ProPublica and Pam Horan of the Online Publishers Association about all the ways they're striving mightily to keep journalism financially viable.  


John Lennon - Imagine (Instrumental)


Mike Perliss, Erin Pettigrew, Alan Rusbridger, Evan Smith and Richard Tofel

Hosted by:

Bob Garfield

Comments [6]

Dane from St. Marys, PA

Aaron, to answer your question about BitTorrent, the problem with BitTorrent is that outside of the Free and Open Source Software community and the occasional Humble Bundle, torrents are not seen as a way of distributing legitimate media by most people. That perception, while not accurate (how else would I download the current Ubuntu .iso when the direct download is so much slower?) would have to change before it could be used by legitimate outlets.

Aside from the perception factor, most average people aren't going to go outside of their current framework and do a bunch of extra work to listen to their media. They'd see it as "too complicated" or "too technical", even if it really isn't either of those things.

So, alternatively, the torrent part would have to become an invisible part of the podcatching software, which would more or less require Apple to get on board with it, as they have the most prominent and popular podcatcher/player environment via iOS and iTunes.

And I'm not sure that even that works, when so much of that podcatching software is directly on the player, now. I use PocketCasts on my Android phone to listen to podcasts, and I know that in interest of keeping up battery life, I'd not want it uploading surreptitiously whenever it's on WiFi. And I'm not even sure how I feel about it even if it happened only when it was plugged in and on WiFi.

Jun. 10 2013 01:57 AM

I will ask you the same question I asked the folks at This American Life. I never got an answer from them though.

It is often the case that podcasters bring up the issue of bandwidth cost. Well... I have great news for you. I (and most of your listeners) have plenty of bandwidth to give away. Why not simply let/ask your listeners to distribute the podcast via bittorrent?

Jun. 04 2013 08:38 PM

There was a missing element from every aspect of every story that was left unsaid: the government role. The government has such broad powers and interest in every aspect of media. And understanding the past, current and possible future role of government will help shape and explain the various business models.
Copyright and patents are government regulations that have shaped every aspect of the film industry production and distribution.
The right of way allowed by governments and FCC frequency regulations and auctions. Also the public airwaves which were a government grant much like the land for the railroad companies, led to the network system.
The municipalities granting cable franchises and how those regs and contracts led to the creation of many new media outlets.
The role of the government in the Internet, not just funding the research, but also that if one or more of the competing electronic networks like GE, Prodigy, BBSs, AOL, etc, had eclipsed the Internet, the rules and possibilities might be very different now.
How governments laws on public disclosure/sunshine requirements helped to give local newspapers steady income.
The direct funding of CPB and BBC led to a creative revolution that has also contributed to the private sector media systems.
You should have included the government role, not to say that the government is a solution, but to truly understand issues that are determinative to business models. For example, that copyrights are oddly regulated and weirdly enforced as one might expect trying to bottle “intellectual property.” Rethinking copyrights, in the age of ad blockers and DRM enforced by civil and criminal law is necessary before considering new sustainable business models. May be in your next show.

May. 13 2013 12:09 AM
Jessie Henshaw from way uptown

Or...... think of information as the global society's blood stream.

then just ask what the real business model of your blood stream is, and for the cells that put stuff in and take stuff out...

That's the answer, it's just "throwing stuff away", and the system develops around what works.

May. 12 2013 03:58 PM
Ramesh from ny

Brand loyalty is no more existing so on-line readers will go else where, if the site starts charging money. In print-age whole family was bound to a specific new paper. Now that model is gone and is not coming back.

May. 12 2013 12:01 AM

Instead of thinking up new and exciting ways to huckster the increasingly savvy and thus dwindling audience out of their money, why cannot "professional journalists" simply report the impartial facts in good faith instead of promoting, demonizing and ignoring certain important news items?

May. 10 2013 09:15 PM

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