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04/10/2009 Will This Save the Newspapers?

After yesterday’s post about the Associated Press, I saw that The Wall Street Journal had an article this week about True/Slant, a new online news site that combines “real” journalism with “experts.”

According to the WSJ, the site contributors include current and former writers from news organizations such as the Financial Times, the New York Times and Rolling Stone.

Rather than trying to limit access to news, like AP looks like it’s trying to do, True/Slant counts on the writers’ personalities to help draw traffic. The writers have some skin in the game: if the site makes money, they receive more income. While it may not feel like old school journalism, the fact is that news organizations have to figure out a way to make money in the online world, with the fast decline print advertising revenues.


True/Slant tries taking a collaborative win/win solution in a Web 3.0 world of “brandividualism,” a phrase coined by Armano. The writers, the journalists, get exposure and they respond by helping the business grow.

Bringing in outside people to write isn’t anything new. That’s one of the reasons the Huffington Post is so successful: cool “friends of Arianna” contribute regularly and use their own brand to build up HuffPo’s.

What True/Slant looks to do differently is around its advertising model.  Rather than focus on interruptive or ignorable ads, True/Slant will allow advertisers to own entire content pages, pages that look just like the rest of the site, in an attempt to draw traffic through relevant content and engagement.

Sounds like an interesting attempt. It might not be the polar opposite of what AP wants to do with its new site, but the site seems to have a much higher social media savvy than AP.

It’s worth keeping an eye on. At least it starts to look like a new new journalism model.


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