Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
The Kansas City Defender is a nonprofit news site for young Black audiences across the Midwest
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
 
Join the 60,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
The Kansas City Defender is a nonprofit news site for young Black audiences across the Midwest
“We do advocate against the racist function of policing, [but] we focus equally on being present in the community, doing poetry nights, basketball park takeovers, and other community-building, life-affirming activities.”
Cable news has a much bigger effect on America’s polarization than social media, study finds
“Compared to online audiences, partisan TV news consumers tend not to stray too far from their narrow sets of preferred news sources.”
Doing a little word puzzle as the world burns
“I started playing word games as a way to stop reading the news first thing in the morning.”