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Students, newspapers and innovation

What is the opportunity space that lies ahead for a student in journalism? Facing an audience of such students at IULM, Luca De Biase is impressed by their lack of fear: and, reasonably enough, the current crisis surely provides them with a strong motivation to find new ways of creating value – for themselves, for their readers, for their customers – whatever this means.

Old models are challenged – revenue, distribution, corporate organization – even content creation itself – and the line between roles is blurring: we used to have two extremes, a totally passive reader on one side and – at the other – the journalist, who was generally immune to even the most basic forms of input/feedback from readers (paper letters are sent to the editor).

But now – social bookmarking users, voters on digg.com, commenters and bloggers are placed all over the spectrum between these two extremes – and even passive readers, by simply choosing which titles they click on a newspaper home page, play an influential role that was not even thinkable on paper. And the one line that will blur to the point of disappearing is probably the one that separates the author and the entrepreneur, giving a thousand new meanings to the notion of freelancer. As this happens, new value-creation mechanisms will be exposed – and new revenue sources too.

In a previous post, I tried to expose some of those value exchanges – both monetary and intangible – on a diagram.

Newspapers

Just a few days later, I had been surprised by a new initiative by The Guardian, adding new opportunities (i.e. arrows on the diagram): a strong and daring move.

Will a broken system and a struggling economy help us define new business models for the information industry?

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