The Financial Model: Kristof Doesn’t Know, Either

In a blog post today, Nick Kristof discusses the speech Boston Globe editor Marty Baron delivered yesterday at the University of Oregon. Kristof quotes Baron’s discussion of “breakthrough journalism”—the kind of journalism that blatantly effects change, in politics or the culture at large—and then notes,

That’s precisely the kind of journalism that is at risk unless we can find a new business model. Small websites and blogs can’t do it, and most newspapers today can’t afford to, either. If there’s a disputed election in 2012, the Miami Herald bosses won’t pay $850,000 for a meticulous recount. So those are the stakes as we grope for a way to underwrite the work of the fourth estate. My hunch is that social networks are part of the answer, an element of the emerging new business model, and that’s one reason I experiment with Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and so on. Maybe we’ll also move to a micropayment system, especially if all news organizations can do so in unison and if a more convenient way of paying emerges. But the bottom line is we need a way to monetize our web content. Any ideas out there?

Kristof published his post about an hour ago, at 11:27am EST. And, so far, the comments section is…empty.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.