Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Three years into nonprofit ownership, The Philadelphia Inquirer is still trying to chart its future
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Aug. 18, 2010, 12:30 p.m.

Seeking Sustainability, Part 2: John Thornton and others on strategies for nonprofit revenue generation

Seeking Sustainability: Presentation on revenue generation from Knight Foundation on Vimeo.

This spring, the Knight Foundation hosted a roundtable discussion exploring a crucial issue in journalism: the sustainability of nonprofit news organizations. This week, we’re passing along some videos of the conversations that resulted (and, as always, we’d love to continue the discussion in the comments section). We posted Part 1 of the series, a talk focused on business-model viability over time, yesterday. And in today’s pair of videos, John Thornton, chairman of the excitement-inducing Texas Tribune, leads a discussion about a topic near and dear to the hearts of even, yes, nonprofit news outlets: revenue generation.

“It is nowhere in the mid-life venture capital playbook to start a nonprofit news organization,” Thornton noted; “and so none of us would be doing this if the central mission weren’t about public service.”

Thornton’s introduction is above; below is a discussion that it sparked among the nonprofit all-stars Knight brought together for the occasion — among them The Bay Citizen‘s Lisa Frazier, the Chicago News Cooperative‘s Jim O’Shea and Peter Osnos, the Texas Tribune‘s Evan Smith, Voice of San Diego‘s Scott Lewis, The Atlantic PhilanthropiesJack Rosenthal, Seattle CrossCut‘s David Brewster, the New Haven Independent‘s Paul Bass, California Watch‘s Mark Katches, J-Lab‘s Jan Schaffer, and the St. Louis Beacon‘s Nicole Hollway. The group discussed finance-crucial issues like publicity, community, membership incentives, collaboration, demographic measurement, branding, corporate sponsorship, and more…not from a theoretical perspective, but from the point of view of practitioners who spend their days thinking about how to keep their organizations thriving.

The conversation, by the way, is well worth watching all the way to the end: The video closes with group members discussing some of their more outlandish — and, so, intriguing — ideas for revenue-generation.

Seeking Sustainability: Discussion of revenue generation from Knight Foundation on Vimeo.

POSTED     Aug. 18, 2010, 12:30 p.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Three years into nonprofit ownership, The Philadelphia Inquirer is still trying to chart its future
Buyouts, rebranding, good journalism, and a vision still in progress: The Philadelphia Inquirer has had quite a summer. The metro newspaper business is still tough, even without a hedge fund or private equity pulling the strings.
People avoid consuming news that bums them out. Here are five elements that help them see a solution
“It is important that journalists take the time to fully explain the issue and the response before exploring implementation, results, and insights.”
The Boston Globe continues its regional expansion experiment, with students in a suburb
“Investigative reporting is great to have, but first we need the basics — and we’re no longer getting them.”