So you want to do journalism but are worried about all the change hitting the craft?
Do what digital pioneer and entrepreneur Elizabeth Osder has done: “I always tried to be about what I get to do rather than where I get to do it.”
But the economic models just aren’t working for newspapers online, lamented one student attending USC Annenberg School of Journalism Director’s Forum.
Not true, said Osder, fresh off consulting work with Tina Brown’s just-launched “The Daily Beast.” Plenty of people are making plenty of money online. (As if in confirmation, David Westphal, Annenberg’s executive in residence, noted that McClatchy right now makes more money online than it costs to pay all the editors and publishers in the company.)
Here’s how to think about it, Osder told the group:
“Start with the impact you want to have. Figure out how what audience you need to assemble to have that impact. And what kind of content is needed to do that. Then price it out: How much money do you need to do it?”
“If I wanted to do that, I’d have gone to Marshall (USC’s business school),” a student groaned in reply. Understandable, said Osder, but having to do this kind of thinking brings a needed discipline. “It forces you to be relevant and useful versus arrogant and entitled.”
Hmmmm. This nostalgia we’re feeling: Is it for The Wall, which guaranteed the purity of our journalism — or for the folks on the other side of it, who had to worry about whether it was read and paid for?