Author Archives: amynewmedia

Vander Clute Unveils CircLabs

Jeff Vander Clute, entrepreneur, founder of Semesphere Inc., and a consultant to the Information Valet Project, announced the launch of CircLabs Inc. at the “From Gatekeeper to Information Valet” conference on May 27.

Vander Clute is a co-founder of CircLabs along with Bill Densmore, a Reynolds Fellow, Martin Langeveld a veteran newspaper editor, Joe Bergeron a serial entrepreneur. 

The Silicon Valley-based start-up will offer a suite of services, the first of which is code-named “Circulate.” The services focus on  generating revenue for online news.  CircLabs is set to launch in the second half of 2009.

CircLabs was hatched at the University of Missouri’s Reynolds Journalism Institute’s (RJI) fellowship program, and grew out of research led by Bill Densmore a 2008-2009 Reynolds Fellow.  RJI is supporting the startup and will be an equity stakeholder.

A Prelude to the FTC workshops. Mark Dec. 1-2, 2009

The Federal Trade Commission is holding a series of workshops titled “Can News Media Survive the Internet Age?” Competition, Consumer Protection, and First Amendment Perspectives.” The first one debuts on December 1-2, 2009.

Susan DiSanti director of the FTC’s Office of Policy Planning, paid a visit to our conference and offered a brief preview of the workshops to come.

Check out the press release at

“We’re very much in favor of competition,” DiSanti says, noting that as media evolves certain topics such as consumer and identity protection will be at the forefront.

Why the workshops?

“This is really our attempt to understand what is going on and move the discussion,” she says. “W e aren’t looking for a place where answers are found.”

Stay tuned.

Breakout Session by Ann Peters: News campaigns

We are into the whirlwind break out sessions, and I am sitting at the first one.

The discussion, led by Ann Peters of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, is about how to get more high school students and college students interested in international stories and coverage, particularly at a time when media outlets are cutting back on global coverage and their international bureaus.

Huffington Post’s Steve Brant says, “one of the reasons why journalism is in trouble because it’s misreporting things.” Bottom line: they cover the bad things, but what about the good news and a better balance?   

Patricia Jane Berg, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, is here at the conference to get more material for her classes.

John Boyer, executive director of asks if anyone has seen Frontline’s story about Pakistan. “All it focused on was the Taliban, it was real brave reporting, but a real downer,” he says. “We really live in this Rashoumon world, as Americans we’re just focus on how we’re going to get out of Taliban.”

“I think the hard part is how do you fill in the other parts that the news media doesn’t cover,” Boyer says.

Amy Korzick Garmer of The Aspen Institute says, in a global society and economy the key is to connect with reporters overseas, to develop sources etc. She notes that U.S. nws outlets are “shooting themselves in the foot” when cutting back on international coverage.

Okay, am headed to breakout session #2.

Staying Alive Part II

More highlights from the panel on sustaining journalism.

  • Kachingle’s Cynthia Typaldos says advertising has failed journalism and Journalism Online’s Merrill Brown doesn’t agree. Brown says  strengthening advertising is crucial.
  • “If you’ve got great content, people will be going to their site. Llet the tweeters tweet,” Typaldos says. “You can have the best of both worlds.”  

Here are some highlights from the  Q&A session.

  • Huffington Post columnist Steve Blunt asks Walter  Issacson and fellow panelists to consider a face lift for content, and not just technology
  • Allan Hoving of asks, what is the model? “I think different models will work differently, the great thing about the Internet is we have dozens of models…We should celebrate the diversity of choice we give for content providers and for users too,” Issacson says, noting that there’s tons of room for bundling, licensing and other potential experiments
  • Brown and Typaldos both agree that overall simple is better than complicated when it comes to content or business models. “You can not make it complicated, it needs to be no thinking…” Typaldos says.
  • That said, Brown suggests that Gen Y, those under 30, still care and are voracious consumers of information. They just buy and consume it differently.  “We obvciously have a reinvention to do about price points,” Brown notes. 

Staying Alive: Discussion Heats Up on Sustaining Journalism

On a gray and rainy day in Washington D.C.  some 120 participants gather to share, discuss and debate thoughts, ideas and offer solutions to staunch the blood flow in the industry.

Newspapers are headed to the graveyards, and Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon’s Kindle, have changed the ways that news and information are decimated. Bottom line: How can the news industry make money, which is crucial to the survival of the industry and journalists themselves?

A very sharp audience for the first discussion on “The Strategic Landscape for Sustaining News.”

Lots of thoughtful questions from anti-trust issues, to consumer protection, to what the business models of 21st century journalism is i.e. paywalls, content, subscription, reinventing the reader model? What is the formula, the golden key, and the answers to stop the downspiral of newspapers and journalism, which started long before the economy went south?

The panelists included a number of media/new media’s movers and shakers including Walter Issacson the former editor of Time Magazine and now the head of The Aspen Institute, Cynthia Typaldos the founder of Kachingle, Matt Mankins of In-a-Moon, Scott Karp the co-founder of Publish2 and Merrill Brown one of the partners and co-founders of Journalism Online, LLC, which includes telecom bigwig like Leo Hindery.

Here are some discussion highlights:

  • Merrill Brown and his team from Journalismonline LLC are creating a product where publishers can name their own price. “When we meet publishers we make the point that, what you do and how you price is your choice, but it may not save your business,” Brown says.  
  • Issacson notes that the current news downspiral is “not  about saving journalism or more the informatin,” it’s about saving journalism and more importantly digital creativity.” Most journalists can’t afford to be hobbyists, and need a salary to survive.  
  • Issacson notes that a solid business model requires a variety of business streams.
  • Scott Karp points out that the news industry needs to come together to build their own news aggregator, and calls it a “big untapped opportunity.”  
  • Cynthia Typaldos, a serial entrepreneur, restarted Kachingle, a site that allows consumers to contribut to their favorite websites, about a year ago, describes the newsconsumer of today as such:  “It’ all about me, me, me. the user. The prodcuer doesn’t set the price anymore the user sets the price.” “Now the user is the center of the universe,” she says.
  • Typaldos adds that many users are now producers themselves, and recognize the value of content and the effort that it takes to make great content.”
  • Typaldos isn’t a big fan of advertisers either, and belives that it played a role in the demise of newspaers.

I am fascinated with the discussions and moved by the amount of concern from citizens, journalists, academics, and community leaders. It may be rough waters in the industry, but it seems like we’re trying to ride out the storm together.

More to come…

The Tweeting Has Begun

The exciting discussions start on solutions, potential business models needed to sustain journalism.

LIVE Streaming of D.C. event now…

Tweet hash #infovalet

Pre conference pasta and idea swapping…

“From Gatekeeper to Information Valet” is about to start. Let the blogging and Tweeting, and ideas begin.

Last night we had a great pre-conference gathering of about 15 participants at Notti Bianche, the Italian restaurant at George Washington University Inn.

 Had the chance to meet with Darren Burden, director of  news and sports at  Fairfax Digital Media in Sydney, Allan Hoving, founder of and Steve Brant a columnist for The Huffington Post, who writes about media, politics and works in the Corporate Social Responsibility arena.

Over wine and pasta we chatted about everything from the usability of the Amazon Kindle and Apple’s iPhone, to news outlets’ struggle for the Holy Grail, a.k.a. a business model that works.

Allan is a veteran of the print world and has worked at places like Rolling Stone and New York Magazine. Allan recently launched with some partners. He promises to share some ideas on potential money-generating models for journalism.

Stay tuned.


Amy: Official Event Blogger Heads to D.C.

Hi folks, I am the official event blogger for “From Gatekeeper to Information Valet” conference at George Washington University.

Please check out and stay tuned.