1 failed model leads to another, can we learn?

by John Wilker in Business, community, Social Media

So apparently the failed Rocky Mtn News, folks decided to try their hand at a purely web play. First things first, I hadn’t even heard about the INDenverTimes until Amy started talking about their fail. So yeah strike one there, it’s called getting the word out, and clearly that flopped.

So from what I’ve gleened, 3 investors got some 30 odd people from the Rocky, and started this onine paper, hoping to get 50,000 subscribers at $5 a piece.

First they started with a press conference, no idea why it warranted that, but you know, whatever.

So basically learningnothing from the old and flawed model of a print newspaper (hordes of reporters and editors), the INDT team chose to try and force that same model into a web site. MMM Uh guys, it’s 2009, no matter how to try to fight the future. Print news is dying because it’s not adapting and learning. You clearly haven’t adapted or learned.

30 people? 30?  I know several web startups that operate with 2 people, and do more. 30 people? Look, I’m as sad as the next guy that the Rocky folks are collecting unemployment, but that’s no reason to prop them up with false hopes. Go find new jobs elsewhere guys! Probably in other industries! Reporting isn’t dead. Print papers are. GO report somewhere online, start a blog on your own, you’d probly get more than 3000 readers.

I’m a big fan of relying on your community to help you, because I believe that if you’re worth helping, people will help you.

“I’m not disappointed,” Preblud insists. “It’s been an amazing ride for the last five weeks, and I think we’ve learned a great deal. Although we didn’t meet our subscription goal, our other online metrics are phenomenal.” He adds that “the heroes in all this are the journalists, and I still have a commitment to journalism. We all do — and this is like any business model. There’s always challenges, and you don’t always know all the answers up front. But we believe professional journalism is a crucial component of not only a community but a democracy, and we’re going to continue to move forward in support of that” — as long as the “business model works. And it works in the immediate term.”

I can only assume the investors and 30 plus “professional journalists” (read out of touch with modern trends, human beings) thought that people would flood the site with subscriptions simply because. Sure Iwantmyrocky was created, why not. Sentiment is cheap, and easy to express. But seeing as how The Rocky closed because no one subscribed, it seems a bit retarded to think sentiment for the old Rocky would make people subscribe to the INDT.

All I can say, is that the INDT failure isn’t even remotely surprising. A complete lack of social media effort, or even reaching out to the community, fail and fail. Sorry Rocky folks, you’re ivory tower of “Professional Journalism” is crumbling around you, and paper mache ain’t gonna patch it.

2 Responses to “1 failed model leads to another, can we learn?”

  1. reboog711 says:

    I have the impression that the "lead people" were pushing the investors to fund the large staff, which is why they backed out.

    I thought they got quite a bit of subscribers, despite not reaching the 50K number. I'm sure it could have moved forward easily with a smaller staff.

    My understanding may be incorrect of course. In my version the blame is not on the investors, but the journalists.

  2. John Wilker says:

    I definitely think there's enough blame to go around. I think the investors are to blame for not being savvy or smart enough to realize, taking the same model and trying again (essentially, minus the printing press) was a bad idea. The staff get's plenty of blame for not accepting the reality that it's 2009 and print journalism has to adapt or die. The Rocky died and they didn't learn from it.

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