Ideas and discussion from BxB2010 Summit

Twin Cities Daily Planet: 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.

Stay tuned for a series of posts in the coming days. 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 Steven Melendez

The Twin Cities Daily Planet is an online news source covering the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Its executive director, Jeremy Iggers, said that its parent organization, the Twin Cities Media Alliance, was organized as a nonprofit in order to take advantage of foundation support, which provides more than 80 percent of revenue.

The rest comes from advertising, individual donations and income from events such as fundraising dinners. The organization recently hired a director of development to focus on raising funds.

For 2009, the organization had total expenses of $200,763, according to its annual report.  Most of its revenue came from foundations associated with the Twin Cities area.

The Daily Planet has a number of nominally part-time employees, Iggers said, although many of them contribute quite a number of hours to the site. The site relies a great deal on contributions from citizen journalists, some of whom are compensated for their work and some of whom are not.

Mary Turck, editor of the site, gave a presentation at the BlockByBlock conference.  She said it can be difficult to recruit reporters to work on in-depth investigative stories. The Daily Planet does offer training to citizen journalists interested in learning traditional reporting/writing style.

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 19, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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