Ideas and discussion from BxB2010 Summit

Broward Bulldog: Where’s the Money?

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One of the major topics at the Sept. 24 Block by Block summit was money: How can a local news site support itself financially? Journalism master’s students from the Medill School at Northwestern University interviewed conference participants about their business and revenue strategies.

We hope these posts will continue conversations that started at Block by Block. If you have ideas that will help these and other online community publishers achieve their goals or questions about how they are doing that, please join the discussion in the comments. Thanks!

By Eddy Rivera

Broward Bulldog is a news site covering Broward County, Florida. Its editor and founder is Dan Christensen, a veteran South Florida journalist who has worked for the Miami News, Miami Herald and the Daily Business Review.

Is your site for profit or nonprofit? Why did you go that route initially? Have you learned anything since that makes you think about going the other direction? Why do you think one or the other is more promising?

Christensen: Nonprofit. I went that route because I did not feel I could sustain the business on an advertising model. Nonprofit gives you the added dimension of pursuing large foundation grants. I continue to believe that, although I am learning about a number of for-profit ventures that might include subsidiaries of the not-for-profit.

How much of your site is powered by volunteers and how much by paid staff? Can you briefly describe how they’re organized?

Christensen: No one has been paid, including myself. I do virtually all the reporting and writing, and have two part-time editors. I also have a part-time marketing person.

What are your sources of revenue? Do you have a dedicated revenue person? What does that person do exactly?

Christensen: Revenue sources today are contributions from individuals, plus the sale of stories to newspapers and news services. No dedicated revenue person, though my marketing person is developing fundraisers, etc.

How much revenue did you bring in January to June this year? How much would you have liked to bring in to break even?

Christensen: About $2,000. I personally fund the Bulldog, and expenses are limited without any personnel costs, so that was actually more than break even. The key to survival, however, is to be able to earn a living doing this. I believe it can be done.

These interviews were conducted as part of a class at the Medill School of Journalism that’s focused on new approaches to hyperlocal publishing.  To follow the class’s work, check out the class blog, Local Fourth.


Written by richgor

October 15, 2010 at 6:40 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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