The ‘Original Platform’:
How Newsrooms Build Digital Loyalty
and Generate Revenue Through
International Symposium on Online Journalism
Austin, Texas – April 20, 2013
Jake Batsell, assistant professor
Southern Methodist University, Dallas
GeekWire Summer Bash – Seattle, June 2012
• More than 500 Seattle techies attended
• 14 corporate sponsors • Tickets began at $50
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.”
• Visited 20+
• Conducted 100+
• Part of larger
… is emerging as an
• Not an obligation, but an opportunity to build
community and – yes – monetize your audience.
• If done well, can subsidize watchdog reporting.
• One of three potential revenue streams upon which
news organizations should pounce, according to
• Still, returns aren’t always quantifiable.
Image credits: niemanlab.org; Nordstrom.com
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.
Community blogger in Pontiac, Mich.:
• “They acknowledge us, and we acknowledge
them. That’s engagement.”