Either build the news site for the mission or build the mission for the news site

Updated I gave a presentation similar to this theme to a pair of college classes recently, one of which resulted in these takeaways.

To have a news community ‘succeed,’ it needs to either be built around a mission or the mission needs to be built into its community.

That means, if, for the foreseeable future, a more competitive, newly web-based news and information environment best attracts audience by way of connecting a community to a mission, those best suited to succeed will have one.

So, news distributors of the future should include nonprofits, civic organizations and trade associations — all of which already have the mission and so should build the content vehicle — and existing news-first publications, like newspapers, independent news sites, blogs and the like — all of which already have the content vehicle so should be concerned with building out their mission.

That mission might look something like this: how is your organization making your community better? What is success and how might that be evaluated? If you have strong answers to those questions, you’ll likely be able to grow a community of passionate, like-minded consumers, who should help you fund your work.

Either build the news site for the mission or build the mission for the news site.