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July 28, 2014, 1:38 p.m.
Business Models
LINK: www.netnewscheck.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   July 28, 2014

We wrote several times about Digital First Media’s Project Thunderdome in its relatively brief life. (Its shutdown was announced back in April.)

Wikipedia defines “Thunderdome” as “a euphemism for a contest where the loser suffers harsh consequences” — in this case, a lot of layoffs. But there were a few interesting ideas behind it.

Former boss Jim Brady, now over at NetNewsCheck.

…I’d argue that any centralization plan needs to include something that improves your journalism. A cost-cutting-only centralization plan won’t improve your sites or your relationship with readers, both of which are key to future relevance.

…Watching the Thunderdome team work so collaboratively was, to me, an example of how newsrooms have to operate to survive in the future. We need fewer egos, fewer divas, more collaboration and more stepping into the breach to help colleagues. All in all, the Thunderdome newsroom was the lowest maintenance newsroom I have ever managed.

… One of the key reasons for centralizing is to get scale in national news production. But do we think local news organizations — in the disaggregated Web world we live in and the even more atomic mobile world we’re speeding into — actually need much national news anymore? I’m not sure, especially when you consider the cost of acquiring that content. So it may be that part of centralization isn’t really needed for much longer.

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