THE NEW YORK TIMES.- A good way to understand the fast-evolving thinking is to check in on people who are trying to build a news and information business from scratch. I did that last week over breakfast with Jim VandeHei, a co-founder of Politico, and Mike Allen, one of the site’s best-known journalists. Both are also veterans of The Washington Post.Seguir leyendo...
Mr. VandeHei, who stepped down last week as Politico’s chief executive, and Roy Schwartz, the company’s departing chief revenue officer, have been seeking potential investors and video and television partners. Mr. Allen is for the time being continuing to write his vital morning tip sheet at Politico, “Playbook,” seven days a week.
When I met with Mr. VandeHei and Mr. Allen, they were tight-lipped about their next venture. They would only describe it in the broadest terms, as “a media company” that will focus on news and information, exist largely on mobile devices and social media, and not directly compete against Politico.
But that was O.K. for my purposes. I was more interested in hearing what this venture wouldn’t be doing. Their answers may require a trigger warning for the proudly ink-stained set.
It starts with Mr. VandeHei’s admittedly provocative proposition that “journalists are killing journalism.” They’re doing this, he says, by “stubbornly clinging to the old ways.” That’s defined as producing 50 competing but nearly identical stories about a presidential candidate’s latest speech, or 700-word updates on the transportation budget negotiations.
Survival, Mr. VandeHei says, depends on giving readers what they really want, how they want it, when they want it, and on not spending too much money producing what they don’t want.
It’s not only about creating big audiences for advertisers, he and Mr. Allen said. It’s about convincing already-inundated audiences that they want what you’re producing, and they want it so badly that they will pay for it through subscriptions. That’s essential as advertising revenue drops to levels that will not support robust news gathering.