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Online journalism seeking revenue to stay afloat

PETALING JAYA: Operators of online journalism have said that it has been a struggle to seek revenue in the business.

For instance, The Malaysian Insider chief executive officer Jahabar Sadiq said his news portal was in the red.

“Internet advertising helps cover only half of our costs,” he said.

“We are lucky to have shareholders with deep pockets,’’ he said in his paper on How to make a living from online journalism at an international online journalism seminar at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman on Thursday.

The seminar was co-organised by the university, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, European Journalism Centre and the Asian Center for Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Seminar attendees: Participants listening and taking notes at an international online journalism seminar held at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman on Thursday.

Malaysiakini chief executive officer and co-founder Premesh Chandran said they had been forced to adopt the paid subscriber model in order to survive.

“The advertising industry never supported online media,’’ he said, adding that they were perceived to be anti-government.

Premesh said Malaysiakini had loyal supporters who backed independent media and its reform goals.

He said about half of their income comes from subscription and the other half from advertising.

Premesh told traditional media organisations to change the way they operate in order to survive because advertising was no longer their monopoly.

“Ninety percent of advertising online goes to non-media companies like Google and Facebook now.’’

Birmingham City University senior lecturer Paul Bradshaw said it was important for online journalists to be the first to send an SMS, e-mail or tweet online on breaking news.

“You will rank higher in search engines like Google News.

“It will make it possible for people to find you and contribute to your story,’’ he said.

In his paper A model for the 21st century newsroom, Bradshaw said many traditional media organisations failed to market themselves effectively online, thinking having a website was sufficient.