Strategic
plan
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2009
–
2011
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  STRATEGIC
PLAN
ã
2009
–
2011
 THE
MISSION
OF
THE
PUBLIC
PRESS
IS
TO
ENRICH
THE
CIVIC
LIFE
OF
SAN
FRANCISCO
 BY
DELIVERING
PUBLIC­INTEREST
JOURNALISM
TO
BROAD
AND
DIVERSE
AUDIENCES,
 THROUGH
PRINT
AND
INTERACTIVE
MEDIA
NOT
SUPPORTED
BY
ADVERTISING.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 WWW.P U BLIC‐P RES S. OR G 
 The
Public
Press
project
is
fiscally
sponsored
by
 Independent
Arts
&
Media
of
San
Francisco,
a
501(c)3
nonprofit
organization
 whose
mission
is
to
expand
civic
dialogue
by
increasing
access
to
independent
Share
Transcript
  PublicPressStrategicPlanversion22.2ã4/13/091    STRATEGICPLANã2009–2011   THEMISSIONOFTHEPUBLICPRESSISTOENRICHTHECIVICLIFEOFSANFRANCISCOBYDELIVERINGPUBLIC-INTERESTJOURNALISMTOBROADANDDIVERSEAUDIENCES,THROUGHPRINTANDINTERACTIVEMEDIANOTSUPPORTEDBYADVERTISING.   WWW.PUBLIC‐PRESS.ORG    ThePublicPressprojectisfiscallysponsoredbyIndependentArts&MediaofSanFrancisco,a501(c)3nonprofitorganizationwhosemissionistoexpandcivicdialoguebyincreasingaccesstoindependentvoices  PublicPressStrategicPlanversion22.2ã4/13/092 ThePublicPress:OurObjective  ThePublicPressisastartupnonprofitnewsorganizationthataimstostrengthenreportingongeneral‐interestandunder‐coveredtopicsintheSanFranciscoBayAreathroughadailyWebsiteand,eventually,aprintnewspaper.Itslong‐rangegoalistocreateasustainablenoncommercialbusinessmodelfordeliveringqualitylocaljournalismtodiverseaudiencesinadequatelyservedbythecommercialpress.Foundedin2007,ThePublicPressplanstogrowinphases,firstbypublishinglocalnewsthroughmultiplatformdigitalmedia,andlaterbygraduallyexpandingitsreachwithaprintedition.Takinginspirationfromtheaudience‐supportedpublicbroadcastingmodel,ThePublicPresswilloperatewithoutpaidadvertising.Itwillinsteadsustainitselfeconomicallythroughmemberships,papersalesandphilanthropicsupport.ThePublicPresswillprovidethecommunitywithprofessional,context‐richandevenhandedreportingonimportantpublic‐interesteventsandtrends,whilealsoencouragingmeaningfulandsubstantivecommunityconversation.Inadditiontosrcinalreporting,ThePublicPresswillcreatecontentanddistributionpartnershipswithanexistingweboflocalindependentandpublicmedia.Bysharingtechnologyandskills,membersofthisnetworkcanworktogethertoencouragecivicengagementandenhancecommunicationamongthediverseneighborhoods,ethnicgroupsandshared‐interestcommunitiesthatmakeupSanFrancisco.  NeedsAssessment  Nation’sPressinPeril  ManyU.S.dailymetropolitannewspapersseemtobeinwhatPhilipMeyer,authorof“TheVanishingNewspaper,”calleda“deathspiral”—unabletoescapeacycleoffallingadvertisingrevenue,staffcutbacksandcirculationloss.Largecorporationsareconsolidatingformerlyindependentnewsroomsandslashingimportantcoverageareastofinancetheirdebtfromtheseacquisitions.“Wrapallthesefactorstogether,”PaulFarhiofAmericanJournalismReview,wroterecently,“andyou'vesetinmotionthekindofslash‐and‐burntacticsthatwillhasten,notforestall,theend.”Inits2008“StateoftheNewsMedia”report,theProjectforExcellenceinJournalismestimatedthatfrom2000to2007,U.S.dailiesshedabout5,500employees,orabout10percentoftheirworkforce.Weareonlystartingtofeelthesocialconsequencesofthisdeclininginvestmentinnewsgathering,includingsuperficialandfragmentarycoverageofeducation,publichealth,theenvironment,business,labor,socialtrends,crimeandpolitics.Withfewerreportersscramblingtocoverlargerbeats,newspapershavebeguntocompromisetheirwatchdogroleandaremissingimportantstories.AsDavidSatterfield,formermanagingeditoroftheSanJoseMercuryNews,summedupnewspapers’cutbacksrecently:“It’sthebesttimetobeacrookedcoporcrookedpolitician,becauseyouroddsofgettingawaywithitarebetterthanthey’veeverbeen.”   BayAreaJournalismDecimated   NorthernCalifornianewspapershavecollectivelydownsizedbymorethan800journalistssince2000.Atthesametime,almostallmajorBayAreapapers,withtheexceptionoftheSanFranciscoChronicle,havebeenconsolidatedunderoneowner,Denver‐basedMediaNewsGroup.  PublicPressStrategicPlanversion22.2ã4/13/093 InFebruary2009,theHearstCorp.announcedthatitwouldimposeextremebudgetcutsattheChronicleandpossiblysellorshutterthepaper.ThesetrendshavepalpablychangednewscoverageintheBayAreafortheworse,eliminatingmanyneighborhoodbeatsandreducingthefrequencyoftime‐consuminginvestigativereports.Withlesspublic‐interestreportingattheirdisposal,newspapereditorsaretemptedtoemphasizeinexpensiveorcommerciallylucrativetopicssuchasfashion,celebrities,travel,food,wineandluxuryrealestate.Thoughnotalwaysapparenttothetypicalreader,suchchangesdoalterthepublic’sperceptionoftheroleofthepressintheircommunities,andcouldexplainrecentstudiesthatnotewaninginterestincivicaffairs.Thislocaldisinvestmentinnewsreportingoncoreissuesofpublicconcernoffersanopportunityforastartuptocompete—butonlyifitfocusesitsattentionandresourcesonsrcinalreportingaboutnewsthataffectsalargenumberoflocalpeopleindeepandlastingways.    RoleofPrintintheLocalNewsEcosystem    AudiencesincreasinglyarelookingtotheWebfornews,cuttingintothemarketshareofbothprintandbroadcastnews.Atthesametime,therisingcostofenergyandpaperisimpingingonthenewsprintbusiness.Thishascausedsometodeclarethedeathofprint.Wethinkthosepredictionsarepremature.Whileaudiencesfindthemselvesawashinatorrentof24/7digitalinformationsources,onalocalleveltrustworthyfiltersandsrcinalsourcesofinformationarebothstillscarce.ItistruethatcreativenicheservicescanassembleglobalaudiencesacrosstheInternetbyappealingtointerest,age,occupationandethnicity.ButtheWebgenerallyhasapoortrackrecordofbuildingadailyfollowingwithinaconcentratedgeographicarea.Printednewspapersaremoresuccessfulatattractingalargeandloyalreadershipwithintheircoregeographiczone,evenwherehouseholdbroadbandpenetrationishigh.Theprospectofadigital‐onlylocalnewsfuturepresentsprofoundequityconcerns.ForThePublicPress,goingexclusivelyonlinewouldbeinsufficienttoachievethegoalofinformingandengagingadiverselocalaudiencewithunequalaccesstotechnology.AccordingtoSanFrancisco’s2007CitySurvey,only50percentoflow‐incomehouseholdsreportedhavinghomeInternetaccess.Andwhileaccesshasimprovedinsomedemographicgroups,othersarebeingleftbehindbywavesoftechnologicalchange.InSanFrancisco,homeaccessvarieswidelybyrace:While87percentofwhiterespondentsaccesstheInternetfromhome,thatfigureisonly60percentforLatinos,65forAfricanAmericansand76percentforAsians.Anewlocalinformationsourceaimedatamassreadershipinametropolitanareawoulddowelltocombinethefasterpaceandmultimediaflexibilityofdigitalwiththestreetvisibility,convenienceandpermanenceofprint.Tobeaccessible,newsmustbeaffordable;foranewspaper,individualcopysalesandhomedeliveryshouldbereasonablypriced,andlow‐incomeneighborhoodsshouldgetdiscounts.   OurVision:ThePublicPress   ThePublicPressispositionedtoaddressthesetrendsaspartofacomprehensivemediainitiativethatwillproducethenation’sfirsttrulynoncommercialgeneral‐interestdailynewspaper.Asasocialventure,itwillsustainitselfbymixingphilanthropy(fromfoundations,individualsandreader“pledges”)withsubscriptionrevenueandnewsstandsales.Thisalternativebusinessmodelwillsidestepthefinancialturbulenceandanemicprintadvertisingrevenuesnowpunishingthecommercialpress.Withoutadvertising,theprintnewspaperwilluselessthanhalfthenewsprintofatraditionaldaily,makingitmoreportableandeasiertoread,andmakingthepressrunfaster.Itwillemployacutting‐edgedesign  PublicPressStrategicPlanversion22.2ã4/13/094 andreader‐friendlyWeb‐inspiredorganization,includingcomprehensivefront‐pageindexinganduser‐generatedcommentaryjudiciouslymixedintonewssectionsoftheprintedition.  ThePublicPresswillalsodrawlessonsfromtheinformation‐architecturerevolutionthatstartedinSiliconValley,creatinginnovative,dynamicnewsexchangesbetweentheWeb,mobiledeliveryandprintplatforms.Amultiplatformpublishingapproachwillsidestepsomeofthetechnologicalimpedimentsfacingexistingnewspapers,whichwastetimeandenergymanuallymovingnewsfromonesystemtoanother.Weenvisionanewtypeoflocalnewsorganizationthatisaccountabletoitsmember‐subscribers,whowillbeinvitedtoparticipateindecisionsaboutnewscoveragepriorities.Thispublicengagementmaycomeintheformofacommunityadvisoryboard,publicmeetingsandonlineforums.Astaffofprofessionaljournalistswillcoverpublicpolicyandsocialtrends,withanemphasisonareasneglectedorunder‐reportedbythecommercialpress: ã   consumerprices/quality ã   wealthandpoverty ã   publictransit ã   rentalhousing ã   land‐useplanning ã   science ã   environment ã   publichealth ã   majorandthird‐partypolitics ã   raceanddemographics ã   primarythroughhighereducation ã   laborandemploymenttrends ã   mediaaccountability ã   culturalandlanguagediversity ã   prisons ã   publicinfrastructure ã   independentarts ã   localhistoryWhilethePublicPresswillnotbeanadvocacypublication,itwillactivelysolicitopinionfromdiverseviewpoints.Nationalandinternationalcoveragewillstresson‐the‐groundreportingfrommultipleperspectives—notjustthatofTheAssociatedPress.Thepaperwillmakeroomforthisenhancedcoveragebyeschewingluxurylifestyle,thepoliticalhorseraceandemotion‐ladencrimesandaccidentsthatdon’tilluminatelargertrends.AsBayAreavotersareincreasinglyaskedtovoteoncomplexballotpropositionstodecidebillion‐dollarquestions,ThePublicPressisanefforttore‐knitthefabricofonecommunityfrayedbyaweakenedjournalismtradition.Byprioritizingaggressivecoverageofpublicpolicy,wehopetokindlearenewedlocalinterestinvoting,volunteerismandcivicengagement.   InnovationRootedinHistoricalPrecedent   Thisalternativebusinessmodelfornewspapersisnotentirelynew.Othernewspapershavebeennonprofitoradvertising‐free,butnotbothatonce.Therearenowmorethanadozennonprofit‐owneddailiesintheUnitedStatesandabroad,allofwhicharesupportedbyadvertising.TheseincludetheChristianScienceMonitor,theGuardian(U.K.),theSt.PetersburgTimes(Florida)andtheNewLondonDay(Connecticut).Therehavealsobeenahandfulofnon‐advertisingdailies,ownedbyfor‐profitcompanies.TheseincludedChicago’sDayBookinthe1910s,andNewYork’sPMinthe1940s.Nooneyethascombinedthead‐freeandnonprofitstrategiesintoacomprehensiveservicethatoperatesoutsidethecommercialsphere,asmanypublicbroadcastershavedonefordecades—andasthePublicBroadcastingServiceandNationalPublicRadiowereoriginallyconceived.Ofcourse,thehundredsofPBSandNPRstationsacrossthecountrythatbroadcastqualityoriginalorsyndicatedjournalismareproofthateffectivelocalmediacanbeproducedthroughalow‐cost,mixedrevenuemodelthatreliesinpartoncommunityfinancialsupport.Forbroadcast,thatcommunityfundingsupplementsgovernmentsupport.Foranewspaper,itcouldsupplementsubscriptionrevenue.
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