Community: A new business model for news

Source Michael Skoler for Nieman Reports on June 14, 2011 0 Comments Ideas
Community News, business models, Michael Skoler, Nieman Reports, RJI
"Community: A New Business Model for News," Nieman Reports, June 14, 2011.

A few years ago, Public Radio International coaxed its most popular host, Ira Glass of "This American Life," into digital cinema. Ira had already expanded his famed radio program into a traveling stage show that toured a dozen cities a year. With this new idea he would perform one show and beam it live to hundreds of movie theaters around the United States at the same time. Efficient, yes, but would it be appealing, Ira wondered.

After all, people came to see him and even hoped to meet him. Radio is an intimate medium, and with Ira, so is a live show. What would be appealing about watching him on a screen from thousands of miles away in the company of a hundred strangers? This wasn't a sporting event—the main draw for digital cinema—it was journalism, storytelling journalism. And people could already watch Ira on DVD.

So would they come and pay $20 a ticket?

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