Societal Influence Model for the Newspaper Industry. (Paying for the Next News).(Brief Article)

Nieman Reports, Summer 2002 | Go to article overview

Societal Influence Model for the Newspaper Industry. (Paying for the Next News).(Brief Article)


Creating a Different Message About Quality

Philip Meyer, a journalism professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and former reporter and market researcher for Knight Ridder, is working on creating a model that news organizations might use to send different messages to Wall Street and its investors. He spoke about this at the conference.

Phil Meyer: If I can find a better number than quarterly earnings--something that has more predictive power of newspaper or media success--what are my chances of getting Wall Street to pay attention to it?

Tom Wolzien: Quarterly reports keep everybody honest. So the issue is how much emphasis is placed on the quarter, not whether to do it. But you can bury a hell of a lot more in six months than you can in three, and you can bury even more in 12 months than you can in six. So I think that the issue is an orientation to the use of the quarterly numbers rather than the elimination of them.

Meyer: Suppose I could give you figures that are collected only every year or every two years or every three years but that show that, over the long run, media that are the most trusted by their audiences make the most money. Would folks on Wall Street pay attention to that?

Wolzien: Yes, I think so.

Meyer: In that case, I'll do it.

The Quality Project

On Meyer's Web site (www.unc.edu/~pmeyer), the following text accompanies the graph below.

Good journalism has always been the product of tension between profit making and social responsibility.

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