April 11, 2006

A reader-driven news web initiative

Another web news/views monthly is out on the Net. Its editor, Shivangi Sharma, in an e-mail announcing www.wenewsindia.com says its content would be based on contributions from citizen-journalists. Which is one way of saving money you would otherwise pay staff writers/reporters. A skeleton staff of re-write persons would do. What’s more, WeNews offers to share ad. revenue with contributors. Reader-reporters can have it both ways – have their pieces published on the web and get paid for it as well.
It is an imaginative venture; and can be a win-win one, if it works. I am rather skeptical about a web initiatives in India making money, unless they are about ‘shaadi’/’naukri’. The stories we read about odd bloggers making millions on their spare time obsession with the web are relevant to a San Francisco setting. In our scenario a blog has yet to become a saleable business model. A web-print media synergy is quite another matter.
Another aspect that may not be the best bet to generating ad. revenue, I believe, is ‘WeNews’ periodicity. A monthly update may not be conducive to retaining readership. A month is too long a time to expect readers, who first access the site, to make repeat visits. The widely read weblogs are those that are updated on an on-going basis, even several times during a day.
If WeNews folk have money in mind, they could try a syndicating arrangement with some newspapers for the articles WeNews generate. The web-to-print grassroots journalism is something Shivangi Sharma could work on. The syndication concept has been adopted in Denver, where publishers of The Denver Post bring out a print weekly – YourHub.com – comprising stories from 42 web sites. The Newspapers & Technology website runs a feature on it. To read it click on ‘Grassroots Web Concept’.

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