Blog Post

Knight Promises To Cover Journalism Online Costs For Some News Orgs

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has funded any number of experiments to create sustainable journalism, investing millions of dollars in startups, academics and more. The latest effort offers up to 10 Knight nonprofit grantees the chance to try meters, subscriptions or other methods through Journalism Online, the Steve Brill-Gordon Crovitz startup. Brill says Knight is paying Journalism Online upfront to cover the news organizations’ fees for use of its Press+ e-commerce platform.

“It gets us guaranteed cash in the door,” Brill told paidContent. “It spurs these guys to launch.” The first 10 news organizations with Knight grants to launch Press+ in the next six months will have their revenue sharing with Journalism Online waived for a year. Knight wanted to remove the barriers to trying something new.

Brill said if it works out, the amount could wind up being a discounted rate. The hyper-local New Haven Independent is the first participant to go public. Brill said he had at least a half-dozen inquiries the day the offer was announced, with two unidentified outlets already asking to be included. (Bay Citizen CEO Lisa Frazier said she has asked for details but it’s too early to say they are considering taking Knight up on the offer.)

Journalism Online has been rolling out slowly. Without providing any explicit numbers, Brill said that so far roughly 80 percent are buying annual subscriptions instead of monthly. “It took twelve years plus for newspapers to commit this slow form of suicide, it’s going to take more than five weeks to fix.”

2 Responses to “Knight Promises To Cover Journalism Online Costs For Some News Orgs”

  1. It looks to me like they’re doing exactly what entrepreneurs do, create a service and try every possible way to market and monetize it. This is a time of great experimentation in the news business, and there is no reason to leave any stone unturned (except perhaps for gov’t funding). This move with Knight will help accelerate their experiment and see how well it works.

  2. Did I miss something???? Were Crovitz and Brill supposed to announce major partnerships with major newspaper companies, like Gannett, over a YEAR AGO?!?!?!

    Clearly the three headed goons from traditional newspaper-past, have failed at being entrepreneurs! Ha!!!

    Now they were begging the Knight Foundation for money. Fools!!! They were laughed out of every major newspaper company. These fools are a fraud.