The future of online news: where are the business models?

Good, robust common sense from Jeff Jarvis.

At the end of the day, what we’re trying to do is make hard, unemotional business judgments. The question is not whether content should be free or whether readers should pay; “should” is an irrelevant verb. The question, very simply, is how more money can be made. What will the market support?

The other question, then, is how much journalism the market will pay for? What kind of journalism will it support? This doesn’t necessarily start with the current spending on current newsrooms. Part of the equation, especially in the other models, will be new efficiencies (e.g., do what you do best, link to the rest) and new opportunities to work in collaboration and in networks.

This is a good, hard-headed essay. And I couldn’t agree more about the need to ban the ‘should’ word from these conversations. Too many print journalists — and even some journalism professors — are locked into normative dead-ends. We need to move on. The question is: what will work in the new ecosystem?