NEW YORK When the group Associated Press Managing Editors (APME) in 2009 received a $60,000 grant from the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation, it decided to sponsor a project called "Online Journalism Credibility." It asked members to come forward with ideas for research.
Remarkably, out of the six studies funded, only one of them dealt head-on with revenue. The Seattle Times, under the leadership of Kathy Best, managing editor for digital news and innovation, submitted a proposal on reader reactions to online contextual advertising. At its
most basic, contextual advertising matches content with a corresponding advertiser, not unlike a newspaper special section that covers say, personal investing, and carries advertising appropriate to the subject.
As Best explains, there are many factors they could have tested regarding credibility. But when it came down to brass tacks, it was all about revenue. "We as an industry are so challenged to keep money coming in the door to support journalism that looking at credibility
issues" — involving revenue — "is critical. We need to make money and do it in a way that supports our journalistic values," she says.
That same day, the Newspaper Association of America reported that industry ad revenue in Q3 took another drastic fall, declining 27.9%. Online, no longer such a savior, was down 16.9% during the same quarter. ...
Featured later in the article is Stephanie Padgett, 2009-2010 Reynolds Journalism Institute Fellow and director of client strategy at EmpowerED, a division of Empower Media Marketing:
"Newspapers need to understand how to segment their audience. What good advertisers are figuring out is, why do they want to pay for 1 million readers when really only 10,000 are the target and they only need 100 of those to call?"