Business of News

Ken Doctor offers insights on business models for news

If you’re following what’s happening in our business, you know that one of the big names today is Ken Doctor. He’s a leading news industry analyst and author of Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends That Will Shape the News You Get. OK, I can hear what you’re thinking: “I’m trying to get out a newspaper in the most difficult economic times in my lifetime for this business. The last thing I have time for is some media theorist.” I get it. But Doctor writes about trends that aren’t as far down the road as we would like to think – and he definitely has some insights that everyone in community journalism needs to be thinking about. At the Center, we frequently talk about these issues as the difference between hurricanes and tsunamis. Hurricanes announce their presence with wind and tide shifts and bands of rain. Tsunamis are different. They are a gigantic wall of water created by tectonic shifts in the earth. You can be on a beach in sunny weather and be totally unaware that just past the horizon a giant wave is headed your way. The tsunami has already hit the metros, but we see less evidence in community journalism. Nevertheless, it’s coming. And Ken Doctor is one of those people who’s writing about the changing business models brought about by the digital revolution. If you haven’t read any of his stuff, here’s a great introduction. In this article, he starts out talking about Netflix and goes ahead to draw parallels to the news business. He calls Netflix “a canary in the circulation coalmine.” Take a few minutes to look over this interesting piece on the future “newsonomics” of our business.

By Kathryn Jones Malone

Kathryn Jones Malone is co-director of the Texas Center for Community Journalism. She began her career as a staff writer at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, then worked as a staff writer for the Dallas Times Herald and The Dallas Morning News; as a contract writer for The New York Times; as a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly magazine; as editor of the Glen Rose Reporter; and as a freelance writer for numerous state, regional and national magazines. She teaches journalism at Tarleton State University.