Thirty Minutes on Nonprofit News Sustainability

"We're going to do it American Idol style," says Kevin Davis in this video of a session at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference on nonprofit news business models, "I'll present what we've learned, and you critique it, from a global perspective." Want to hear more?  See the complete video here. Continue Reading →

Snowfall for All: Small Newsrooms Can Do Immersive Storytelling — Just Like The Big Guys


Sure, big organizations like The New York Times can create immersive storytelling experiences like Snowfall -- but is that a useful example for small or midsize organizations? The good news is that new tools are making large staffs and budgets unnecessary even for projects that seem like they must take a lot of custom development times.  These tools allow you to create fullscreen, scrolling, and (sometimes) responsive features.   Adam Schweigert of the Investigative News Network and Jessica Plautz of Skift presented. Creatavist -- Created by the Atavist magazine, this mini-cms creates fullscreen "magazine experience" minisites. Continue Reading →

How independent news organizations can build sales

Eleanor Cippel of EW Scripps

Eleanor Cippel, Corporate Managing Director of Sales, Business Development and Operations for EW Scripps today addressed participants of CJET, a training and mentoring program for news startups. "It's incredibly important to know your identity as a business," says Cippel. "You should have a very clear message both internally and externally -- and that should help you develop an elevator pitch that expresses what your unique value proposition is." This applies to for-profits and nonprofits, says Cippel. "Unless someone is walking by with a tray floating you money, you have to ask people for money, and to do that you have to understand what your value is." Continue Reading →

How News Startups Can Convert Readers To Members

Mary Walter-Smith, head of Voice of San Diego's membership operations


Mary Walter-Brown, head of advancement for the Voice of San Diego, spoke to news entrepreneurs at CJET on the nuts and bolts of building a membership program to support an independent journalism organization. "At the bare minimum, I encourage you to do reader surveys -- we did them through SurveyMonkey and it was very easy to administrate," Walter-Brown says.  "But break the target audience for your survey into segments."  Walter-Brown says Voice of San Diego broke survey respondents into groups -- people who had given the site money and those who hadn't; people who were subscribers to the organization's email list, and then for readers who engaged with specific beats, like the arts. "We asked what devices they used. Continue Reading →

News Startups Accelerate at CJET

Lila LaHood, Publisher, SF Public Press, presenting at CJET

Over the next two days, a select group of investigative and community news startups will gather together to work out step-by-step plans to make their organization thrive for years to come.  CJET helps the people who drive new online news organizations build business skills and work out a plan that will bring them to financial sustainability. Continue Reading →

What is the “secret sauce” of online news sustainability?


Michele McLellan started out with a list -- "Michele's List," which counted online news sites that had "journalistic DNA."  As a fellow at the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Missouri, she focused on these sites -- how many of them were there, and how many of them would survive? Today at CJET (Community Journalism Executive Training) in Santa Barbara, she presented her new research to independent online news publishers who were taking part in business training aimed at creating sustainable journalism organizations. "I think I'm going to be a little 'tough love' with you guys," she said. "The love piece is that you folks are just doing amazing work and the passion and energy you put into your work is something I'm in awe of. Continue Reading →

How To Keep Your Digital Accounts Secure


Lately, news organizations have been in the news not just reporting it. In recent months and weeks, several major news organizations have been victims of hacking in which they have had their social media accounts, computer systems and/or email compromised. Continue Reading →