Text that says: "Solve a community problem people already pay for, which a newsroom will strengthen. Then fight like hell."

Real Life Local News Revenue Experiments: ONA19 session

Powered by a decade of pursuing local news revenue models, I got together a few friends doing similar work and hosted a session during the 20th annual Online News Association conference, in New Orleans, on Thursday.

The session was called Real Life Local News Revenue Experiments That Aren’t Advertising. Building on a 2016 lightning talk at the same conference, I published an essay a few days before the session to gather related thoughts and spark conversation.

My big takeaway: journalism is a strategy, not an industry. Or put another way, it is an approach to competing in any number of business models. For local journalism to thrive in the future, we need to find and experiment there.

Find notes, slides and more below.

Photo of our session by Roxann Stafford

I was joined on the session by my friend David Cohn of Advance Local, Kim Bui of the Arizona Republic and Andre Natta of Lenfest Labs. Together, we each introduced ourselves with a high-level ‘worldview’ and then each shared two mini case studies in local news revenue.

Here are those case studies:

  1. Project Text case study on unique recurring revenue (David Cohn)
  2. Wirecutter with local approaches case study (Kim Bui)
  3. Lenfest Local Lab case study on Philly Eats App (Andre Natta)
  4. Technical.ly case study on employer branding platform (Chris Wink)
  5. SF Public Press case study on an event type (David Cohn)
  6. Subscription Boxes (Kim Bui)
  7. BoiseDev case study on time walls (Andre Natta)
  8. Generocity.org case study on continuing education series (Chris Wink)

Our session was in the 11:30am slot immediately following the conference’s first-day keynote in a large ballroom. We had around 150 or more people listening in.

These are our slides:

Below are a few of the tweet notes from an active audience.


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