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Vin Crosbie Vin Crosbie
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Dorian Benkoil Dorian Benkoil
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Bob Cauthorn Bob Cauthorn
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Ben Compaine Ben Compaine
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Dorian Benkoil senior consultant at Teeming Media. An award-winning journalist and editor, he was a foreign correspondent for AP and Newsweek, and international and managing editor for ABCNews.com. At ABC News he moved to the business side, handling sales integration and business development, before joining Fairchild Publications as General Manager for their Internet division, becoming editorial director for mediabistro.com, then a consultant for Teeming Media in New York. He graduates this year with an MBA from Baruch's Zicklin school of business. Learn more about him at Benkoil.com or his blog - MediaFlect.com.

Robert Cauthorn is a journalist, former vice president of digital media at the San Francisco Chronicle, and was the third recipient of the Newspaper Association of America's prestigious Digital Pioneer Award. He launched one of the first five newspapers web sites in the world and is generally considered to have delivered the first profitable newspaper web site in 1995. Cauthorn has been in the middle of the transition from old media to new and is recognized as frank-talking critic when he believes newspapers stray for their mission. In mid-2004 he became the president of CityTools, LLC a new media startup based in San Francisco.

Ben Compaine has divided his career between the academic world and private business. He was a journalist when manual typewriters were considered state of the art, but also led the conversion of his college newspaper to cold type. He has started and managed weekly newspapers. His dissertation at Temple University in 1977 was about the changing technologies that were going to unsettle the landscape of the staid and low profit newspaper industry. Since then he has focused his research and consulting on examining the forces and trends at work in the information industries. Among his most well-known works (and the name of his blog) is "Who Owns the Media?".

Vin Crosbie has been called "the Practical Futurist" by Folio, the trade journal of the American magazine industry. Editor & Publisher magazine, the trade journal of the American newspaper industry, devoted the Overview chapter of executive research report Digital Delivery of News: A How-to Guide for Publishers to his work. His speech to the National Association of Broadcasters annual conference was one of 24 orations selected by a team of speech professors for publication in the reference book Representative American Speeches 2004-2005. He has keynoted the Seybold Publishing Strategies conference in 2000; co-chaired and co-moderated last year's annual Beyond the Printed Word the digital publishing conference in Vienna; and regularly speaks at most major online news media conferences. He is currently in residence as adjunct professor of visual and interactive communications and senior consultant on executive education in new media at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and meanwhile is managing partner of the media consulting firm of Digital Deliverance LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut.
About this blog
Two forces have shattered the news media. Technology is the first. Although media technology is undergoing its greatest change since the day in 1440 when Johannes Gutenberg first inked type, for more than ten years now the news industry has mistaken new technologies merely as electronic ways to distribute otherwise printed or analog products. Estrangement is the second. The news media has lost touch with people's needs and interests during the past 30 years, as demonstrated by rapidly declining readerships of newspapers and audiences of broadcast news. How we rebuild news media appropriate to the 21st Century from the growing rubble of this industry is the subject of this group weblog.
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

Rebuilding Media

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April 7, 2009

What's a Community News Site's Obligation?

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Posted by Dorian Benkoil

The below is from Steve Outing, who posits that allowing only paid subscribers to participate fully in a community’s news site can be a component of a valid business model. He may be right. But what about the competing issue of blocking those who haven’t paid from commenting and participating. Do we create a separate class of reader/citizen? Does the paper have an obligation along these lines? Not taking a position. Just asking the question.

A paid subscription also will allow you to interact with the site and its staff, and participate in discussions, daily chats and comment threads; free readers won’t have their voices heard. (I have to say, this is not a bad idea. Many popular newspaper Web sites have comment threads that are out of control and populated largely, it sometimes seems, by idiots who drown out the sane and smart voices. Charging to be part of the conversation is one way to create more rational, intelligent and useful discussions — albeit smaller — between journalists and readers, and readers and other readers.)
Can Former Newspaper Employees Invent a Brave New News Model?

Comments (4) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Blink › | Newspapers


COMMENTS

1. Steve Outing on April 7, 2009 11:10 AM writes...

Dorian: I haven't formed a strong opinion on this yet either, but I do find it interesting at addrressing:
- News websites' need for more revenue.
- Big news websites need to better control the discussions and comment threads that get out of control when no staff are participating to keep things under control, and the conversation is so large and out of control that it ends up serving no one.

Perhaps there are other ways than charging money directly. But I think it's worth spending time on devising ways to create and maintain online forums where intelligent people can gather to solve problems with all the noise kept out. I'm not saying every online forum should be that way, but there's value in figuring out how to develop some that accomplish public good.

If you've read the classic sci-fi book Ender's Game by Scot Orson Card, you'll know what I'm suggesting. In his vision, a series of public nets solve the world's problems by only the "right", smartest people being invited to participate; some participants are even allowed to be anonymous, but allowed in based solely on the quality of their content/intellect. Pretty idealistic, but who knows? Maybe we'll get there someday.

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