Help, my newsroom is on fire

Help, my newsroom is on fire

Last week, Buzzfeed founder said the company would reduce headcount by 15%, or about 250 jobs.

At the same time, Verizon said it would trim 7% of headcount, about 800 people, from its media unit, which includes HuffPost, Yahoo and AOL.

Now, everyone is freaking out because journalism is dead.

But journalism isn't dead. An outdated, attention-grabbing business model is.

The Golden Age of newspapers ended around the late ‘80s. Subscriptions and distribution began dropping in the ‘70s year over year.

But advertisers weren’t spending less. They were redirecting it. Newspapers went digital with the hope of capturing back those dollars.

And while that did happen to some extent, the numbers never came close because advertisers would rather spend their money where they get the best ROI.

That'd be Google and Facebook. Thanks to @benthompson, we can see how Google and Facebook are monopolizing advertising dollars.

In the ad economy, media needs views, eyeballs, and clicks to survive.  This loss of advertising dollars is driving newspapers to take even more radical positions and use clickbait to keep your attention and drive revenue.

But it's not working. The business model is outdated. So while newspapers in New York and across the United States are laying off people, a startup in Europe is taking the media landscape by storm.

Enter De Correspondent

In Amsterdam, De Correspondent is building a different model for news. They launched in The Netherlands in 2013, with a promise to be “an antidote to the daily news grind.”

They believe the world doesn't revolve around identity and the latest news cycle. I think they are right. Try jumping out of a building and see if gravity cares whether you're a Leaver or a Remainer.

Instead of feeding you sensational headlines about the latest hype or scare, De Correspondent provides smart coverage of structural, long term developments that shape Europe and The Netherlands. It's not about Brexit and Boris Johnson. It's about why Brexit came to be, and what will the implications of the process be for the EU and the world around.

And it's working.

They raised $1.7 million from 18,933 backers and in five years, they've become the largest ad-free, member-funded journalism platform in Europe, with more than 60,000 paying members and 52 full-time employees.

In 2017, 94 percent of their $4.5 million revenue came from readers (the remaining 6 percent came from speaking engagements and syndication).

The world is moving towards that. De Correspondent is launching The Correspondent in New York, and startups like Ghost are building tools for independent publishers to embrace this model.