Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
In New Haven, a low-power FM experiment seeks local conversation — and financial sustainability
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
July 31, 2013, 1:45 p.m.
LINK: www.reddit.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Caroline O'Donovan   |   July 31, 2013

Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, answered questions in an Ask Me Anything thread on Reddit today. Most of the conversation focused on the NSA PRISM leak, but he also goes into detail about his understanding of the paper’s business model and strategy.

Asks redditor davemolloy:

The news business is notorious for not making money. Do these big, global scoops have any noticeable effect on circulation or any positive business impact?

Or are they part of the civic duty element of news reporting, to be investigated no matter how much they cost in man hours, legal fees,and so on?

Or, put another way: what do the accountants make of these big investigations? Thanks!

To which Rusbridger responded:

Complicated answer: huge readership on mobile and website. Hasn’t made much impact on print sales. So, no direct revenues. It has also been very expensive: it’s involved a considerable number of reporters, several lawyers, a great deal of cost in travel/hotels etc etc.

Happily, the Guardian has been owned by a family Trust since the 1930s. That means that the main imperative for what we do is journalistic. The business side of the operation completely support this kind of editorial endeavour because they understand that’s the mission.

Having said that, we do have to make money. And this kind of reporting does – hopefully – reinforce a perception of the Guardian as a paper that still does proper journalism. And that, in the end, builds a readership and a reputation. And that’s being reflected in our digital revenues (grew last year 28.9% to £55.9m). So, in the end, good journalism = good business. That’s the theory, anyway!

Also of note, Rusbridger was asked a variant of the now traditional Reddit query: Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?

rusbridger-ducks

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
In New Haven, a low-power FM experiment seeks local conversation — and financial sustainability
WNHH, debuting next week, aims to extend the community journalism of the New Haven Independent to the airwaves — and to reflect the city it’s in.
Sunlight Foundation, Melody Kramer, and 20 other media/tech projects get Knight Prototype Funds
The ideas include Melody Kramer’s Media Public project, which would reimagine routes to public media membership and community engagement.
How AJ+ embraces Facebook, autoplay, and comments to make its videos stand out
“We think a lot about whether a video works with the sound off. Do we have to subtitle it to keep the audience retention high? Do we need to use big fonts?”
What to read next
1119
tweets
New Pew data: More Americans are getting news on Facebook and Twitter
A new study from the Pew Research Center and Knight Foundation finds that more Americans of all ages, races, genders, education levels, and incomes are using Twitter and Facebook to consume news.
803Newsonomics: The halving of America’s daily newsrooms
If you’re lucky enough to have the right deep-pocketed owner buy your paper and steady it, you’ve won the lottery. If you’re in a town whose paper is owned by the better chains, or committed local ownership, your loss will probably be mitigated. Otherwise, you’re out of luck.
698How 7 news organizations are using Slack to work better and differently
Here’s how Fusion, Vox, Quartz, Slate, the AP, The Times of London, and Thought Catalog are using Slack for workflow — and which features they wish the platform would add.
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
The Daily Show
New York
INDenverTimes
ReadWrite
Bureau of Investigative Journalism
Fwix
Journal Register Co.
Dallas Morning News
PolitiFact
Alaska Dispatch
The Awl
Seattle Post-Intelligencer