Hacks/Hackers SF: Follow the money

The latest Hacks/Hackers event brought together the creator of Pocket and Matter, and a former Wired.com head editor to talk about ways to make money from serious journalism


  1. It's the question all journalists want to know. How will serious journalism survive when newspapers business models are collapsing, and online advertising is so cheap and getting even cheaper.

    At the latest Hacks/Hackers event in San Francisco, three people with very different business models came together to talk about new ways to think about paying for quality writing. Whether through subscriptions, creating marketplaces, sponsored stories or advertising, the event started with co-organizer Michael Coren given an overview of how things have changed:  
  2. First to speak was Nate Weiner of Pocket, who says stories have a longer shelf life on his platform because they can be saved for later. That's in contrast to news sites that are paying for this expensive-to-produce content, but then are constantly updating their front pages and burying links to older articles.
  3. Matter, a startup media company focused on science writing, sells its articles published each month like short books, said Jim Giles, Matter co-founder. The company got its start in a campaign on Kickstarter, raising $140,000 from more than 2,500 backers -- which Jim said highlighted the hunger audiences have to help support serious journalism:
  4. He emphasizes the audience's role by calling them members:
  5. The most common model long used to fund journalism -- advertising -- requires serious investment in salespeople, something that Wired got when it was acquired by publishing giant Condé Nast, said Evan Hansen, former editor of Wired.com.
  6. But Evan painted a bleak picture for the future of advertising. New products will measure more precisely what readers are actually seeing, and not count ads that aren't actually viewed at the bottom of a page. International readers also won't be counted, and mobile will also be measured differently:
  7. Evan also noted that new successful media organizations like like Buzzfeed and Business Insider show that writing articles based on what the audience wants shouldn't be looked down upon as serious journalists have done in the past, said Evan.