Newspapers, and to some extent television, have been struggling as viewers and readers drop. Yet most of the news content produced in the United States comes to us from traditional media supported by advertising. So even as traditional media struggles to maintain a shrinking business model, the hunger for content remains. People want to read news and are accessing it through Google and breaking news from Twitter.
A suggested business model entails charging for online news content. However, I don't always want the entire local newspaper. I may only want a couple of articles, or I may only want specific categories of news. This limits the value I would obtain from purchasing the entire collection of a single day's newspaper or a month of access to a specific newspaper's website.
A new business model may come from the news monitoring services, such as iMonitor, Vocus, SM2 and even Google. Allow subscribers to search for specific news or monitor specific categories and purchase clips or access based on points or a subscription plan. Bundle various news sources together and allow subscribers to create online newspapers based on their interests.
Only care about sports? Pay only for a collection of sports clips. Interested in your specific business or industry? Only pay for that subscription. Micro payments, coupled with archived versions of stories - complete versions in PDF form or just text - could jump start journalism and allow for a steady flow of income to pay journalists to continue investigating and reporting on news. Of course, this idea would require a bold stroke and lots of cooperation. Perhaps a collective like the Associated Press could organize such an effort or a group of large newspapers.
Clearly offering content from various sources could empower users to build online newspapers for their internal PR and marketing efforts, or just give them unlimited content for reading on their Kindle or iPhone. Is this a good idea, has somebody already done it? Let me know what you think.