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May 25, 2009

Towards A New News Business Model

A smart piece on the current news landscape in The Economist. The story gives a good overview of the problems and a survey of what's been eroding and what's being tried. What's the model for the new news portal? The Economist suggests that Huffington Post is the most successful idea. But Patrick Appel thinks that's wrong:

Let's compare overhead. Huffington has around 60 paid employees and an army of 3000 unpaid contributors, many of them celebrities and politicians. The website reports original stories, has influential authors, and opines on nearly every major political story. Drudge Report, on the other hand, is staffed by two, so far as I know, and usually simply links to stories using a provocative headline. Clicking on Drudge's page for the first time one is blown away by the simplicity of his operation. A gaudy website, hand-coded, that looks exactly the same as it did ten years ago. How and why did this become a major news portal?
May 25, 2009 4:46 AM | | Comments (2)

2 Comments

Do you have a link to Appel's entire response?

I'd guess that Drudge became successful by participating in the vast right wing conspiracy, i.e. becoming the favored source for political operatives who needed to get scurrilous, unprovable, non factual innuendo into the national political discussion for their own nefarious manipulations. The major dailies and broadcasters reluctantly couldn't touch that stuff because of all those pesky ethics and fact requirements, but once the charges (didn't Drudge become popular around the time of the Whitewater non scandal?) were out there, then the major institutions could cover/ launder the "controversy." Everybody wins! Rove et al get their fact free charges talked about and echoed around the country, the big institutions get an audience drawn to scandal, Drudge gets more hits and advertising revenue. Well, maybe there are a couple of minor losers -- truth, the integrity of public discourse, the Kerry campaign, the American people....

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