The New Newsroom - America East Session Recap

by Cara Neil, Communications Director | Apr 14, 2016

The time has come for newsrooms to step up and help news media organizations make money, and this starts with embracing an entrepreneurial spirit. Creative Circle Media President Bill Ostendorf challenged attendees to look at their products and skill sets, and consider how existing inventory and talent can be repurposed for profit.

Ostendorf suggested developing and implementing new products, redesigning the classified section, committing to newsstand sales, selling existing products, and engaging with the community. Many of these ideas require some changes to current processes, but very few require a clean slate of ideas. Despite the simplicity of some of the changes, Ostendorf said, “Using the newsroom to generate revenue requires a change in culture — which isn’t always easy.”

If changing the culture in your newsroom is a challenge, some of Ostendorf’s suggestions might be a good place to start. Updating the classified section is an easy, no-hassle, free way to make money using the newsroom’s available resources

The classified section is historically a difficult-to-read, but information-packed section. The first step to pulling money back into classifieds is to make them easier to read. After adjusting the layout of the page, Ostendorf suggested creating new section titles, including health, rentals, jobs, cars, homes, services, and “stuff.” Finally, to make them easily accessible, build a web order entry system that will help a seller write their ad copy. Surprisingly (or not surprisingly), 72 percent of potential advertisers give up on self-service platforms because they are intimidated to write an ad.

Another example Ostendorf presented was to sell what you have and what you do. What’s that supposed to mean?

Most newsrooms have pieces of history sitting in them with their front pages, archives, photos, and ancestry information. Selling front pages, especially ones featuring historic events (think about front pages from 9/11 or JFK’s assassination or a local high school winning the state championship), is a simple way to make some extra money. Most newspapers sell their photos from events, but not all have thought about selling their ancestry information or their archives, which are essentially history books. These pieces of the newspaper are already being created, why not bring in some extra revenue from them?

On the same note, selling what you do is easy. Offer to design ads, brochures, annual reports, etc. or offer to photograph or video corporate events. Newspapers employ great artists and should let the artists do what they are best at, and help the newspapers create revenue by doing what they already do.

There are plenty of other ways to make money using the strengths within a news media organization to develop profitable new products and services.

View the presentation slideshow for additional tips.