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Journalism as a Service

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Journalism as a Service

“Journalism as a Service” lets news organizations sell on-demand access to the components of their reporting, rather than just the finished product.

Key Insight

“Software as a Service” is a licensing and delivery model, in which users pay for on-demand access. “Journalism as a Service” lets news organizations sell on-demand access to the components of their reporting, rather than just the finished product.

Why It Matters

On the fringes, news organizations are beginning to provide journalism as a service in addition to traditional news products, allowing outside parties to avail themselves of the organization’s functional resources and assets—for a price.

Examples

ProPublica’s data store launched as an experiment in 2014. Two years later, the idea had generated more than $200,000 for the non-profit newsroom. The store includes free, open source data products (like ProPublica’s API for accessing information about Congress) and paid products that have been organized and processed (like a regularly updated database of payments by pharmaceutical providers to doctors).

Transitioning to “Journalism as a Service” enables news organizations to fully realize their value to everyone working in the knowledge economy—universities, legal startups, data science companies, businesses, hospitals, and even big tech. News organizations that archive their content sit on an enormous corpus—data that can be structured, cleaned and used by numerous other groups.

What’s Next

News deployed as a service includes different kinds of parcels: news stories; APIs; databases that can be used by both the newsroom and paying third parties; calendar plug-ins for upcoming news events; systems that can automatically generate reports using the news org’s archives and databases, and so on. Services work outside of the social media landscape, relieving news organizations of revenue sharing and allowing them to fully monetize their services.

The Impact

Journalism as a Service models are providing much-needed revenue to cash-strapped news organizations.

Watchlist

The Coral Project, The Information, MIT Media Lab, ProPublica, PRX, REDEF Group, Twilio.