Typically journalists are reporting on tax credits for other industries. Should news organizations make a case for one of their own?
Yes, this might sound like it comes at a strange time, as trust in the media is waning. But I think that’s a good reason why: we need to incentivize and instill trust.
In the U.S. tax code (and others), there are straightforward deductions for anyone’s business expenses, including reporters, but I’m imagining something more. This could be a payroll tax credit, rather than any direct distribution, so this is an indirect subsidy of a public good, rather than a direct government intervention. A payroll tax credit would essentially subsidize a news organization’s investment in information gatherers, making them cheaper than other roles in the organization.
It’s worth noting that I’d bet a lot of old head Inquirer folks will remind others that the paper tried something not unlike hyperlocal with its Neighborhoods initiative, dropping Inqy staffers to every gosh darn civic meeting around. It didn’t take, from what I hear.
That said, this is surely part of what Dan Victor and company are doing over there, and I’m always excited to experimentation. I support people doing anything with a plan. Maybe it’ll fit into my vision for what Philly.com should become.
Hyper-local advertising and content. Speaking of my home base of Philadelphia, the hyper-local eco-system here features sites of every make and model. Examples: PhillySportsDaily.com leaves local sports radio 610WIP.com & 950TheFan in the dust with its 24/7 online sports coverage & analysis. Gawker-influenced; Philebrity.com, probably assisted in the decline of our once great alt-weekly: City Paper. Smart and dominant technology coverage of ‘Philacon Valley’ by the young team at TechnicallyPhilly.com certainly must embarrass the top brass at the legendary Philadelphia Business Journal. And if you taste-test the foodie editorial of JerseyBites.com, it’s easy to imagine this content eventually being licensed or sold to The Food Network or Fodors. MORE
In short, NewsWorks, which had its official launch last Monday, Nov. 15, is WHYY’s new online news brand, serving as home to its existing journalism, in addition to (A) new columns, (B) calls for community contributions and (C) a trial hyperlocal push in northwest Philadelphia.
It’s a big bold swing and at least four years in the making.
Indeed, where Newsworks is a year or two from now will mean a great deal to the entire news ecosystem of Philadelphia, at least. Some of those people who come to mind:
I’ve been asked a dozen times in the past few weeks what it takes to develop communities on the Web. There isn’t any scientific response, but I’ve started thinking about four Cs that come to mind.
Connection — Whether it’s a geographic or topical vertical, or one strictly based around a product, organization or experience, there has to be an identifiable reason for people to come together around a single site or platform.
Consistency — If it’s going to be once a week, or once a day or five times a day, you need to remain consistent in connecting with your community
Communication — Dialogue is sticky. Active communication online around your audience keeps people around and coming back.
Compelling content — What is going to bring that community back to that blog, or social media account or forum or mobile application? It needs to be content in one of its many forms and it has to be related and compelling to your audience.