November 18, 2008

An online-only nonprofit newspaper? It's happening elsewhere

I don't think an online newspaper can even begin to replace the dead tree version, but The New York Times has a story today that does make the nonprofit web-based alternative seem a little less ridiculous.
The online paper in San Diego, which has gotten lots of attention, has all of 11 staff members. That's less than The Bristol Press has for a city far, far smaller.
On the other hand, San Diego has a big daily newspaper, a bunch of television and radio stations and probably a host of weeklies and monthlies as well.
Bristol has, well, just the Press, really.
So perhaps there's room for an online newspaper, run as a ordinary business with an extraordinary mission or as a nonprofit with a goal of serving the public.
I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has any ideas -- to save the paper as it is, to shrink the paper and keep it in print, to make the Press online only, to form something new, whatever.
What's most important is to make sure that something remains to keep people informed, because the worst alternative is for Bristol to wake up on January 13 and find nothing at all.
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Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

If somebody invested in an online paper in Bristol and hired you to write and somebody else to sell ads on commission, how much do you think it would cost? I might try it if the expense wasn't that high.

Anonymous said...

Steve...I hope you are sending out resumes. These desparte ideas , even if they allow some form of reporting, will not pay much. Benefits...purely voluntary. Use your energy well my friend.

Anonymous said...

"The online paper in San Diego, which has gotten lots of attention, has all of 11 staff members. That's less than The Bristol Press has for a city far, far smaller.
On the other hand, San Diego has a big daily newspaper, a bunch of television and radio stations and probably a host of weeklies and monthlies as well.
Bristol has, well, just the Press, really."

This is exactly why an online local news source could work in Bristol. The idea is viable in San Fransisco, despite all the other competition. In Bristol, online local news will be the only game in town.

Anonymous said...

Steve, don't know if you saw this article but thought you'd find it interesting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/20/business/media/20mag.html?_r=1

Frank Johnson said...

Steve:

Can your web site host give you numbers on the unique hits your blog gets every day, duration of visits, etc.?

Comparing those numbers to the circulation of the BP or the NBH would give you an idea of the value of advertising on your web site.

From there you might be able to calculate whether an advertising supported blog might work. That could then be a financial model for an on-line not-for-profit news source.

You would need a commission sales rep.

You would also need to limit reader participation through comments because many in Bristol don’t read the blog because of the nattering nabobs of negativity that inhabit this blog and others.

Not everyone has a hide like mine and they stay off or avoid using their names. (I know, I know, I am already seeking a personality, trying to be less crass, I am on a diet, the Walgreens windows blah, blah friggin blah)

Me said...

From Google Analytics for this month (which had six days that recorded nothing at all because I messed up the code):
7,699 Visits
18,199 Pageviews
00:03:46 Avg. Time on Site

On StatCounter, where I only had three days with no counting, it shows 36,406 page loads over the past 30 days and 17,234 unique visitors. It doesn't give me an average length, but I do see that nearly one in ten stay for more than a hour at a time, which is kind of scary.

Anonymous said...

It could be sort of a local "Wikipedia" type of contributory local information source. Anyone could submit news , the people who ran the site could verify and coroborate content before it was posted unless stories were submitted as already sourced. In that case you could just edit and post. It would be like having an unlimited pool of reporters.