News Business Models

Jose Zamora is a journalism program associate at Knight Foundation Report from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Convention, where my panel discussed business models’ The most popular new models were niche advertisements, paid content, public contributions and foundation support.

The panel was moderated by Frances Robles, foreign correspondent for The Miami Herald. Among the panelists were Patricio G. Espinoza, an Emmy Award winning journalist who runs; Eduardo Hauser, CEO of; and Calvin Sims, Program Officer at The Ford Foundation.

Patricio Espinoza talked about niche digital media as a new business model. He caters to niche audiences in specific neighborhoods and finds local merchants who want to reach them. Bartering is also a good way to enter local advertising markets, he says. Content is vital, but so is a great sales person.

Eduardo Hauser explained the importance of knowing who is interested in the content you want to produce and figuring out who is willing to pay for it.

Calvin Sims explained that Ford Foundation is interested in projects that fill a void in reporting and have impact. As an example he talked about Ford’s efforts in supporting foreign reporting.

I explained how Knight Foundation is experimenting with different models through the journalism program and the Knight News Challenge to find out which models works best. Knight is experimenting with nonprofit models, like and ProPublica.Other models include niche publications, hyper-local blog aggregators and reverse publishing like, Placeblogger, Printcasting and And there are hybrid models between journalism schools and media organizations like the New England Center for Investigative Reporting and with crowd-funding through Spot.US.

If you have a project that combines new models with news and information for specific geographic communities, please apply to the Knight News Challenge. The contest opens again Sept. 1, 2009. And if you are interested in learning more about these and other projects keep tuned to Knight Blog.