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Jake

  1. 1. The ‘Original Platform’: How Newsrooms Build Digital Loyalty and Generate Revenue Through Face-to-Face Engagement International Symposium on Online Journalism Austin, Texas – April 20, 2013 Jake Batsell, assistant professor Southern Methodist University, Dallas @jbatsell
  2. 2. GeekWire Summer Bash – Seattle, June 2012 • More than 500 Seattle techies attended • 14 corporate sponsors • Tickets began at $50
  3. 3. Events at GeekWire • 9 total in 2012 • 40% of total revenue • 20% profit margin • Local tech executive: “People in Seattle, they have a personal connection to this thing … we kind of feed them, and they feed us back.”
  4. 4. June-November 2012: • Visited 20+ U.S. newsrooms • Conducted 100+ interviews • Part of larger book project
  5. 5. … is emerging as an increasingly vital complement to newsrooms’ digital engagement strategies. Face-to-Face Engagement:
  6. 6. Face-to-Face Engagement: • Not an obligation, but an opportunity to build community and – yes – monetize your audience.
  7. 7. Face-to-Face Engagement: • If done well, can subsidize watchdog reporting. • One of three potential revenue streams upon which news organizations should pounce, according to Skok/Christensen. • Still, returns aren’t always quantifiable. Image credits: niemanlab.org; Nordstrom.com
  8. 8. Conclusions / Best Practices: • Designate an event planner. • To make money, seek out sponsors. • Networking is a prime draw. • Newsroom buy-in is key. • Provide memorable experiences. • Don’t expect a golden goose, but with an authentic approach, events can produce revenue and audience goodwill – preferably both.
  9. 9. Community blogger in Pontiac, Mich.: • “They acknowledge us, and we acknowledge them. That’s engagement.”
  10. 10. Thanks! jbatsell@smu.edu Twitter: @jbatsell Slides: j.mp/isoj13smu

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