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DAY TWO: "Business, Technology and the Media: Charting a Course Through Chaos"

Running notes from Bill Densmore from the second day of the two-day symposium, "Business, Technology and the Media: Charting a Course Through Chaos," at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, Missouri School of Journalism. There may be some typos in the moment, which we'll go back and correct later so consider this a work in progress! Also, there's a CoverItLive blog stream underway: WATCH LIVE VIDEO STREAM AND LIVE BLOG



This week's event is an initiative of the interdisciplinary Center for the Digital Globe (CDiG), the Alfred Friendly Foundation and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI). It involves about 50 international industry leaders in media, technology and business. The idea is to create new business models and it's organized by Randy Smith, Donald W. Reynolds Chair of Business Journalism. Among participants: Mark VandenBrink, vice president of technology solutions for Samsung America; Beth Polish, senior vice president of Hearst Corporate Innovation; Ochieng Rapuro, managing editor of Kenya^Ys Business Daily newspaper; Jim Kennedy, vice president of strategy for The Associated Press; Vin Capone, development executive for Apple; Beth Keck, senior director for WalMart; Jin-Yong Park, assistant editor for Hankook-Ilbo (The Korea Times)and Phil Aucutt, managing partner for WR Holdings and president of Junit, LLC. (For a full list visit http://www.rjionline.org/cdig )

Day Two: Developing new business models and and viable focus areas

Venture capitalist Alan Veeck is leading today's session set up this way: Six round tables assembled in Room 100-A of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.


  • What value do news and information provide people in their daily life?
  • If people were to pay news and information organizations to do important jobs in their lives, what would those jobs be?
  • What value do people get out of creating, sharing or passing on news and information? Whom do they share it with and why?
  • What role do you imagine for journalists in the news and information marketplace and what role for others?
  • Think about the way a company you admire makes money outside of the news space. What news and information business might you build using its business model?
  • Instead of serving everyone (the public), can you define one set of people or a community that would especially value or need your news and information service?
  • How are these people getting theire news and information needs met today, if at all?
  • What solutions can you create to preserve quality journalism in the next week, two years and in 2020?

The six tables have finished coming up with draft business ideas and now we'll record their presentations:


  • NewsSense addresses people who are not regular news readers. Gets people into civic news; read it without leaving the site; ads appear as you are reading this article. contextual news
  • Digitization Agency -- Transforming the local advertising departments of newspapers, radio, into a full-service ad department to serve retailers. More of a service agent rather than buying space. Franchised agency if the newspaper doesn't want to do it.
  • Micropayments proxy -- Take a sample of cohorts and give them access to all kinds of information to test what they will pay. You get one subscription to WSJ, everyone installs a browser plug in so they are going to pay somehow through micropayments. WSJ lets them through with proxy subscription.

Skoler: "This seems to be an idea if you don't create it, someone else will."

  • Newsfeed with Age Filter (Kid's News) -- A filtered news source that you would pay.
  • Test news service for young children who have cell phones. An educational add on for the cell phone so you get little news blips.

Clyde Bentley: "Preroll-- you have to read a news story before you can text."

  • Opinion pool -- Reverse wire service. Editorial pages are overwhelmed with submissions. Creates a central service where opinion providers pay a fee to appear on a rolling edited log where their stuff can appear in a newspaper. Papers will be edited and balance and presented on a member-only website. Editors can communicate with op-ed providers.


Stephanie Padgett: Does this mean you can buy your way onto an editorial page?

PR Newswire and ProfNet do this already, just not specifically for editorial pages

We need data on micropayments.

Padgett -- Digitization Agency is already underway. Alan Veeck says let's remove this.


  • Data Crunch Inc. -- Most of newspaper industry doesn't have resources to crunch data. This is a service play to help smaller and mid-sized newspapers. Deliver interactive widget to paper so people could look at data. (SKOLER/VEECK Concern: Trying to get money from an industry that's dying).
  • Contextual ad exchange -- Separate local from national visitors. News industry sets up exchange and bundles stories about new TVs. Breaks down news/ad wall. Bundle by categories, serve contextual ads around that. Cutting Google out. Aggregate content, not person, only for selling advertising. (PADGETT COMMENT: Yahoo is down this path for newspapers).
  • My universe" -- Giving companies information about me so that they will push to me information that matters to me. "I define what I want. I pay for that, because I get only what I'm interested in. I say who I am, what I am interested in. I'm not speaking about demographics. Feed me what I need to know. News and ad personalization.
  • Global citizen -- Can be national, international, local. Personalized news very specific for global issues. There is no global newspaper right now. Talking about a global publisher, covering global events and things that affect the globe itself. Compared to GlobalPost.com, but focused and curated on big issues, emphasis on the citizen of the globe aspect.



  • Perfect Calendar -- Something which integrates all of your calendaring into a single location. A sort of RSS reader built into your calendar around time of day.
  • Refrigerator News -- Marty Steffens presents -- A screen the refrigerator. Use smart engine aggregation of news in text or video format that will read to you and also can be talked to. YOu wake up, you flip on device and say "headlines" and get scrolling headlines, stop, go back. "My calendar," "Tom's calendar," "Kid's calendar." Synthesizes a lot of the products that are out there. It uses your voice. If it is telling a story to you, you can say more.
  • Slow News Movement -- A media cafe or a slow news movement. People want to receive news in a slower, collaborative environment. A physical place. Slow news seal of approval.
  • Civic Commons -- People are afraid to talk politics or engage across boundaries. Don't know how to work through differences to come to public judgement. A managed-conflict environment. Like the slow movement, a place where people could get together and talk across boundaries. Has a smart-phone ready widget. Uses digital outdoor billboards to display what people are talking about and then prompts you to join the discussion. Encourages people to join the conversation. Addresses fear of not knowing enough.


This could become Starbucks for news.

Larry Dailey -- He calls this NewsCloud idea.

KV Rao: Civic Commons has elements of a meetup.

Clyde Bentley -- In Korea, there is a prototype built into your bedroom mirror.



This table's overarching idea: innovation for underserved populations. YaYa's, old people, aspirational immigrants. Mobile strategy for developing countries.

Four different ideas:

  • The underserved portal, designed to serve relevant content needs of underserved markets. Elderly, immigrants, etc. Feeding content from all over the world. Also integrates advertising, aggregates services specific to that market. VEECK: This is around the issue of personalization. Single singon so you can pre-register for a lot of add on sites. Single signon included: Log on here, refer traffic to a lot of places. Differentiated from great big sites, because it would have the geographical localization.
  • Reporting service for underserved markets in third world countries. Integrates Twitter, mobile video-audio, text and reporting through a mobile device, pushes through a private-label newspaper site and pushes it out from there real time. Integrated advertising system that can put adds on the bottom of the page. All mobile based. VEECK: Like a Twitter but built with structure of how you make money and integrate content.
  • Survivor for news content. News story in central location rated by editors and writers for editorial quality. Also rated by marketing folks for ability to generate revenue and then distributed through the network. Can also doing tagging and through subject matter can be paired with specific articles.
  • Microblogging based classified add system for mobile in emerging countries. You create the classified ad from your phone, and direct links from your phone to the product site. Designed for developing markets. Transactions very small and low cost and would come with a subscription to that particular newspaper. VEECK: Like a mobile Craig's List?


Padgett: Could build on resources out there.

Hickman: How much do you know now about, say, the Somali community, and how they get their news.

How much money is going back to the people who are creating the news? What do you need to support that ecosystem.


  • Personal relevance toolbar -- If you are spending a lot of time on CNN, it can see what you are interested in and make you aware if it. Incorporate your personal profiles. Delivers new content based on your individual interests. Satisfying personal ego, making news relevant to you personally.

SKOLER: Differentiator: Ability to give you feedback on what you are reading. Takes major news items that don't seem interesting to you and finds ways to make them relevant to you.

MANLEY: What is automated and what is manual?

  • Newsroom cafe -- Comes from a personal experience. Go to San Francisco Chronicle building -- you can't get a foot in the door. A cafe/bar that has a news element. Community events, training, a revenue stream and it can also be franchised. You get a sense of community feeling, Cheers, everybody knows your name, a chance to contribute to the news and then to have great coffee and bagels.

PADGETT: Physically tied in with the building. VEECK: A cafe centered as much around coffee as news.

San Francisco based news cite -- "Bold Italic" -- focus on events. David Cohn says events would be a revenue generator, debates etc.

  • Personalized History -- Your diary, your journals everyday. Journal an event. Link what happened that day in the world to your day. Make an album of 70 years of your life. It becomes your family histories. A journal of your personal life connected to world news. SKOLER: Think of preparing a document for the future, integrating your digital photos and all your personal stuff. Personal Wikipedia?

GAFKE: Says he saw a similar idea in Seattle.

VEECK: Biased toward the middle idea, a lot of room to run.

"Is anyone against the Newsroom Cafe idea being pushed forward?"


  • InfoValet -- Bill discusses. Personalization, privacy, interested-based advertising, commerce .... shared user network ... One account, one ID, one bill ... Choice about your infovalet ... Make money sharing each others users ... Subscription / Micro-accounting. Trusted information.

VEECK: My Jeeves for the web.

  • My archiving/virtual library -- Indexing it so you can find all your things. It's a Google search on anything you have read, seen or heard, whereever you have read, seen or heard it.
  • News/storytelling services -- A core story already in existence, the service that idea is going to present is going to be in multi languages. Identify and categorize different power audience groups. Customize each news story already existing in a different format and language.
  • Gaming technology to inspire people to do things. (MANLEY) How do we take public spaces, offline events and online activities, think of that as real game and have people be involved in this through cross media, to rank and be participatory. Game is to encourage news participation and consumption. PADGETT: In the gaming industry a lot of old games are being replayed. VEECK: FourSquare for news?

Is this an alternative reality game?


Veeck now describes a process for each table to focus on one idea and flesh it out over two hours to a 30-minute presentation later today.