Let’s talk money at these five ONA19 sessions on business and revenue

For news companies navigating the ever-changing digital landscape, finding ways to fund your work is an all-hands-on-deck situation — not just for business and marketing teams, but editorial as well. The question on everyone’s mind is: Where’s the money?

Whether you’re growing a loyal base of digital subscribers, developing with new products or seeking out beneficial partnerships, these sessions at ONA19 will help you start thinking about the different business models that might help your newsroom find a path to sustainable revenue.

Real Life Local News Revenue Experiments (That Aren’t Advertising). You’re part of a local newsroom. You’ve tried the digital advertising thing for a while. Is it finally time to think about steering in a completely new direction? This session will show that it’s not as scary as it sounds. Speakers David Cohn, Senior Director of Advance Digital’s Research & Development lab; Christopher Wink, CEO of Technical.ly; Kim Bui, Director of Audience Innovation for the Arizona Republic and André Natta, Editorial Director of the Lenfest Institute’s Local Lab will discuss their experiments in finding new sources of revenue, and the ways even small local newsrooms can discover different paths to profitability.

We Built a Product Team in One Year: Here’s Everything We Learned. Interested in ways to empower your product team — or start one from scratch? In the last few years, good product teams have become must-have additions to business strategy and revenue growth. At some companies, they’ve even surfaced alongside editorial and business as the third leg of a tripod balancing a healthy news ecosystem. Join Chemical and Engineering News’ Jessica Morrison, Product Manager and Amanda Yarnell, Editorial Director, and Chalkbeat’s Becca Aaronson, Director of Product and Alison Go, Head of Growth, for advice and lessons on how product teams can support your journalism.

Getting People to Pay for Local News Online. Who pays for local news on digital platforms? How can we reach and motivate those people to pull out their wallets for journalism that affects their daily lives and their communities? Analysts from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism researched 16 news markets of varying sizes to get the details on those audiences. Learn about those findings at this session with Medill School’s Edward Malthouse, Professor, and Tim Franklin, Senior Associate Dean; Audrey Cooper, Editor in Chief of the San Francisco Chronicle; Amalie Nash, Vice President for Local News at the USA TODAY Network and Christine Taylor, Managing Editor of Audience at the Chicago Tribune.

Creating, Growing and Monetizing Effective Newsletters. With the sheer amount of content swamping the Internet, the newsletter has made a serious comeback as an easy way to separate the quality signals from the ear-splitting noise. This workshop has all you need to get started with creating and refining your own newsletters, targeting audiences and ideally, generating some revenue. Hear the details from newsletter experts Luis Gomez, Publisher of CA//MEDIA//JOBS, Mike McPhate, Author of California Sun, Hamish McKenzie, Cofounder of Substack and Mandy Hofmockel, Deputy Editor of News at Newsday.com.

[RSVP] Platypuses, Unicorns and Zebras: Build Careers that Bridge Editorial and Business. As a journalist, you got your start in editorial. Now you’re ready to wade into the business side so you can develop the next sustainable revenue model for digital news. This session will explore the dynamic relationships between editorial, business and product, how each sustains the others in the modern newsroom and how the next generation of news leaders will have fluency in all three areas. Sign ups for RSVP-only sessions will open soon. Get excited to RSVP to this panel with speakers André Natta, Editorial Director of the Lenfest Institute’s Local Lab; Elizabeth Hansen, Academic Lead for the Business Models for News program at the Shorenstein Center; Hannah Birch, Production Editor at ProPublica; Anna Nirmala, Director of Portfolio Development for The American Journalism Project and Wendi Thomas, Editor of MLK50 with Justice Through Journalism.


Diya Chacko is an Audience Engagement Editor for the Los Angeles Times. A New Orleans native, Diya graduated with a dual master’s degree from Columbia University’s Earth and Environmental Science Journalism program in 2010. She tends to geek out over dogs, horror movies and journalists learning to code.