The economic model for Free — reading around June 30

New Yorker: Priced to Sell Is free the future? — In Malcolm Gladwell’s review of Chris Anderson’s new book “Free: The Future of a Radical Price”, the value of free — as in no charge for content, no charge for use. It’s a big issue for newspapers, but others are affected too. Best example from Gladwell is YouTube, which is paying more for bandwidth and technical costs than it is making in advertising. Why don’t advertisers want to be on this category leader? They don’t want to be associated with most of the content created by volunteers.

The Seattle Courant: Thanks, Everyone — an online-only newspaper in Seattle folds.


The Courant failed because I didn’t have enough cash and I didn’t find someone who could handle the business side, such as finding customers, technologists and managing projects. The trick I had to pull off was to be able to fund the Courant while I not only built a newsroom, but also a technology firm to support it. I couldn’t do it all.

But for those who believe hyper-local is a sure thing, the Courant’s founder, Keith Vance, is less sure:

My advice to anyone who seeks to create something like The Seattle Courant is to make sure you have at least enough money to get you through the first year and someone who’s as committed as you are to the business. To generate revenue, focus your efforts on providing technology solutions to your customers and not just selling banner ads. You have to be able to do something that other people can’t, or don’t want to do. Going to city council meetings and covering press conferences counts as something people don’t want to do, but news doesn’t make money it costs money. One way to think of it is that instead of a print shop that supports a newsroom, we need to build a technology firm that supports a newsroom. It’s really not that different, it just requires a different skill set.

WSJ:  Ivy League Endowments Finally ‘Dumb’

The fiscal year for most endowments ends Tuesday and nearly every one has had big declines, but smaller endowments are poised to outperform heavyweights like Harvard University and Yale University by significant margins. Endowments with less than $1 billion generally held up better by putting more money in fixed income and less in alternative investments like hedge funds.

WSJ: Ruth Faces Living Off a Scant $2.5 Million — Ruth Madoff that is

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