OLD Media Moves

Building a dynamic news model

November 6, 2012

Posted by Chris Roush

Lewis Dvorkin, the chief product officer of Forbes, writes about how the business news magazine has built a dynamic business model in a time of dramatic industry change.

Dvorkin writes, “FORBES is serving that audience by opening the closed world of traditional journalism to a broad network of hand-picked knowledge contributors, a great many part of a novel incentive pay program tied to attracting loyal followers. We’re now producing 400 to 500 original posts a day — sometimes 25 or more for the same breaking story — using a set of distributed publishing tools that are the best in the business (we didn’t miss a beat during the hurricane that crippled the New York region last week) . The days of a hierarchical newsroom structure that decides what and what isn’t worth a sidebar are over. As I said, the audience craves whatever tidbit and unique perspective the knowledgeable person can deliver.

“Our full-time staff reporters, initially a bit skeptical of the plan, have certainly come around. They appreciate our nearly 1,000 contributors, many journalists just like they are. Others are authors, academics, business leaders and topic experts — some even past or current ‘sources.’ I am often asked what’s the difference between a reporter and a contributor. The answer: reporters report and our passionate contributors provide information and perspective they’ve gleaned from life-long careers in their chosen profession.

“Staffers also take pride that we have an engaged, growing audience — from 15 million unique visitors in October 2010, to 25 million a year later, to 37.5 million last month (as measured by Omniture). comScore’s numbers show that FORBES is the only site in our category with consistent year-over-year audience growth on a monthly basis. In fact, other sites, according to the comScore numbers, have suffered double-digit declines.

“We’ve come a long way since launching our hybrid content model (staff reporters plus contributors) two years ago. FORBES content is far more relevant than ever, shared widely across the social Web (sometimes 100,000 shares a day).”

Read more here.

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