Will 2012 be the Year of the Prosperous Publisher?

Block by block founder Michele McLellan put her finger on a cultural challenge many journalists face when starting an independent news site. “A journalist starts, throws herself into the journalism, and thinks if it’s great work, the money will follow,” she said in a recent discussion on how to share publishers’ best business practices. “But journalists were not put on the planet to sell advertising.”

Some have learned how. Others have found partners with sales skills in their DNA. Still others are finding different ways to earn revenue. Each experiment is part of the bumpy, slow road to financial stability. No one has completely deciphered the map yet.

A recent discussion facilitated by Emily Harris at the Journalism Accelerator hoped to hear from news producers on how they see it. The discussion around emerging best practices included people with a wide range of experience: David Boardman of The Seattle Times, Kevin Davis of the Investigative News Network, Janet Coats of The Patterson Foundation, business coach Joe Michaud of Local Interactive Strategies, Steve Waldman, author of the 2011 FCC report on Information Needs of Communities and Anne Galloway of VTDigger.org.

From their experiences and insight, a picture emerged of three general types of problems publishers face on the path to financial sustainability: cultural, practical, and knowledge based. For more of the particulars on this conversation, check out the full post here and share your ideas about the opportunities and obstacles as you see them. The conversation was convened by the Journalism Accelerator to help match the JA’s work this year in service of the urgent priorities in publishing now.  Coming up first:  An online forum February 28th and 29th bringing publishers together with business experts and others. We’ll talk through obstacles to financially sustainable publishing, and trade ideas on ways to thrive.  What are the business questions you have? 

Tell BlockbyBlock  what you see on your road to becoming a prosperous publisher through twitter using hash #mybxb. .

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