What is the future of media and journalism?
Techonomy is organized by three former Fortune Magazine journalists, who have thought a lot about that question.
Friday's panel on "Reinventing Media" was moderated by Christopher Alden, the CEO of Six Apart, the world's largest blogging company, but his background is in journalism, as the founder and editor of Red Herring.
The panel's experts were Paul Steiger, the CEO of ProPublica, Bruce Brandfon, the Publisher of Scientific American, and Jacqueline Leo, editor-in-chief of TheFiscalTimes.com. They all come from traditional journalism backgrounds and are now trying to find a model that works in the digital age.
Steiger's ProPublica is a non-profit investigative reporting venture, working to compensate for the dearth of in-depth journalism at cash-strapped newspapers. "This is a model, but it's not a business model," Steiger says. The organization tries to partner with traditional media partners for its biggest stories but ultimately will rely on philanthropy. "Donors support hospitals, museums, opera companies, there's no reason why in my mind this kind of reporting can't earn that kind of support from donors?"
Brandfon, the Publisher and Vice President of Scientific American'ssays "Information wants to be free, but it also needs to be really expensive, because it's important." Bottom line: it's a great time for information, but it's a lousy time to be a journalist. Scientific American still relies on revenue from selling its magazine at the newsstand, but is trying to build a "bespoke media" business, in which it creates custom content for marketing partners, to distribute to a short list of influentials.