Sustainable Funding Model Needed to Ensure Future of Digital Journalism

Dave Whaley, the Editor of the Oldham Chronicle called for a sustainable funding model for online journalism at the Society of Editors conference today.

He spoke about how currently 90% of the Oldham Chronicle’s revenue derives from its printed papers, and only 10% from online advertising, a model which could threaten the future of the publication.

He said, “If that print revenue starts to decrease, it’ll be hard to fund journalists. You will need to get the revenue from digital to increase”

“It’s about convincing businesses in the town that you have the number of people who will read the stories online. It’s about convincing them to pay.”

Emphasising the potential success of online regional publications, he said, “People will gravitate to certain stories in their area, especially breaking news so there is a capacity to get big numbers, stories that get you 20,000 hits in a few hours.”

He urged the audience at the debate to look for a solution; “We need to fund the democracy of it, if we don’t have local papers in towns and cities in the future then what is replacing it? If it’s digital media of a less credible alternative then we have a problem.”

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