Saturday, November 10, 2007

More About Outsourcing News Production

News organizations give the impresion that they do not publish news produced by independent "suppliers." The wire services don't seem to count. And I think the concept of stringers has been around for a while. So they do source their content. Nothing wrong with that: it's efficient. (So long as it really is journalism. Trojan horse fake news packages abound: )

Yesterday I mentioned Pro Publica, a new enterprise that will produce investigative journalism for downstream distribution to newspapers. It's just the next step in the natural unwinding of integrated stages of news production. It happens naturally in industries where scale and scope economies are possible. Sometimes public policy "encourages" it as it did in the U.S. with the Paramount Decrees, the old Fin-Syn rules, the MFJ of 1982 and the 1992 Cable Act.

Here's another new kind of news "supplier" : It's photo-journalism for sale (sometimes to the highest bidder -- more about that later). Partly a response to newspapers' cutting back on their in-house photo-journalism, Brian Storm, a photo-journalist himself launched the firm because, "It’s simply not that hard to create a good financial structure for photojournalism," as he told me in an interview last May.

Storm, like Steiger with Pro Publica, recognized an opportunity. "I think photojournalism is super important to the way people understand the world."

And then, like all media entrepreneurs I call "media missionaries," he uttered these words: “I didn’t want to start this thing…You know I didn’t start it as a business…I mean I’m an entrepreneur but I’m more an entrepreneur with a mission.”

p.s. When you go to mediastorm's site, you MUST view Kingsley's Crossing A riveting story told in photojournalism.


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