Friday, October 23, 2009

Stanford panel discusses future of news

How healthy is the news business these days? “On a scale of one to 10 of healthy media, we’re somewhere around two,” Alberto Ibarguen, president and CEO of the Knight Foundation, said at last night's 44th Annual Kelly McClatchy Memorial Symposium at Stanford.

The topic was the future of journalism. The Stanford Daily reports that New York Times Co. CEO Arthur Sulzberger, perhaps the biggest name scheduled to appear, was absent.

Much of the discussion focused on producing journalism in the digital age, and how to get people to pay for it.

Martin Nisenholtz, senior vice president of digital operations for The New York Times, said there was a delicate dilemma in charging customers who had previously enjoyed content for free.

“There’s a fine line, a balance that needs to be taken into account that stops [The New York Times from decisively engaging in online monetization],” he said. “The problem with charging out of the gate is that you don’t have much trial ... you need a significant constituency to charge what you want without risking your survival as a news organization.”

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