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The Texas Tribune: Why, What, How U.C. Berkeley Media Tech Summit September 30, 2009. Commercial and Non-Profit Journalism: A Co-Existence Manifesto. Newspapers are not going away – not soon; maybe not ever However, growing fragmentation => growing Specialization Cooperation

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The Texas Tribune: Why, What, How

U.C. Berkeley Media Tech Summit

September 30, 2009


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Commercial and Non-Profit Journalism: A Co-Existence Manifesto

  • Newspapers are not going away – not soon; maybe not ever

  • However, growing fragmentation => growing

    • Specialization

    • Cooperation

    • Insecurity of public service journalism

  • The Texas Tribune and our ilk are not a panacea, but we think we can help!


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Death, Taxes…and Advertising

Advertising % of GDP

Sources: Nieman Journalism Lab


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Secular Decline of Newspaper Media Share

~ 2/3

Decline in

60 Years

% US Advertising Expenditures

Sources: Nieman Journalism Lab


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And Then It Gets Really Ugly

Sources: Nieman Journalism Lab


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Fundamental Challenges in the Newspaper Model

  • Print

    • +/- 2/3 cost structure fixed

    • Negligible readership born after 1977

  • Online

    • General failure of “Display 1.0 – 3.0”

    • Single-digital print replacement rate

    • Unbundling

      • 80%+ news not navigated through home page

      • <5% of “Articles” are profitable

THE “IRON CORE” IS NOT PROFITABLE AND NEVER HAS BEEN


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The Difficulty of Serving God & Mammon

Sources: ContentNext Media and Pew Internet & American Life Project


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Personal Conclusions

  • Capital “J” Journalism is different

    • Curation

    • Consequential

    • Complexity

    • Context

  • Journalism is a “Public Good”

    • Market forces insufficient

    • Non-rivalrous

    • Government solutions neither likely nor ideal

  • Philanthropy can fill much of the void

  • States are where the action is

  • Courage

  • Civic

  • Choices


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The Power of the States

The Special Case of Texas

Increasing Importance,

Declining Coverage

($ in Trillions)

  • Major demographic and income shifts

  • Unique state tax structure

  • Bottom decile

    • Infrastructure

    • Public health

    • Public education

    • Voter turnout

$3.2

National Defense

Social Security /

Medicaid / Medicare

Congressional

Discretionary

Spend


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Much Left Uncovered – the Texas Tribune Opportunity

  • Texas Legislature

  • District level politics

  • Lobby

  • Campaign finance

  • State Board of Education

  • State pension funds

  • University System

  • Public health

  • Border/Immigration

  • Race

  • Trade

  • Demographics

  • State tax policy

  • Transportation

  • State agencies

  • Elected judiciary

  • Energy industry

  • Technology industry

  • Real estate industry

  • Arts reviews

  • Major cultural institutions

  • Cultural criticism

  • Texas literature

  • Texas music

  • Environment

  • Texas congressional delegate

Local Dailies

City Hall

Local school districts

Crime

Real estate

Local/Small business

Ratings/Review

Weather

High School local sports

Big 4-5 Wire Service

International affairs

National politics

“Cabinet-Level” national

policy eg. Tresury, AG

Education, etc.

National business

Championship sports

National cultural

criticism

“NYT Sections”


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The Texas Tribune

  • MISSION

    • Help Texans make more informed civic choices

    • Build a great public media company

  • METHOD

    • Non-partisan, non-profit

    • Aggressive, original, “Capital J” journalism

    • Not just news…Knowledge and Understanding

    • Civic engagement as a (admittedly elusive) goal

    • Revenue promiscuity

    • Technology decisions: follow fast, fail faster


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Texas Tribune: Three Components



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Texastribune.org

The Texas Tribune


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Texas Tribune How: Seed Capital Campaign

  • $4.5m Target by end of 2010

  • $3.2m Raised

    • $1m Founders

    • $0.9m Foundations

    • $1.4m Individuals

  • $1.2m To Go

Texastribune.org


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The Trick: Building a Sustainable Model


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How: The Not-So-Crazy Dream

  • Texas dance = $40m business

  • Texas dance philanthropy = $20m

  • $20m of journalism philanthropy buys ~200 Reporters

    • 20 at the State Capitol

    • 20 on State agencies

    • 20 on the Lobby

    • 20 on the Border

    • 80 - - Leaves 120 for business, culture, etc.


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