Tuesday, November 30, 2004

More on micro-local journalism: Pegasus

Not long after my last post came a spate of postings elsewhere on the project in Dallas known as Pegasus News.

Its plan summary:

· Hyper-local content to the exclusion of all else.
· Rich delivery via as many mediums as possible, with the print edition representing only a small fraction of the content created in a given day.
· Subscription price predicated on level of engagement (higher engagement = lower price).
· Almost exclusively pay-for-performance advertising. Yes, even in print.

The plan is to roll out in Dallas next year to challenge Belo, then shoot for operations in 25 cities with monopoly newspapers.

So far, the Wizard of Oz behind this, who describes himself/herself as an employee of a media company, is staying behind the curtain with promises to reveal all later, though parts of the business plan and philosophy are posted on the Pegasus blog.

Two key things jump out: First is the intention to distribute the news over as many media as possible -- Web, RSS, text messaging, rip-and-read for TV and radio, limited-circulation daily tabloid, PDF edition you can print yourself. Second, subscription rates that drop as your contributions increase.

Sounds like a cross between a wire service and a Wiki, except Pegasus says it will be professionally edited. But one could also conclude that not only is the general public just the target, but also media operations that often chafe at AP's rates. (AP is based on the contribution model, too, but you don't get a rate discount by contributing more.) One wonders whether this could be a challenge to AP's cash-cow state wires that so far few others have been able to successfully duplicate. If so, the wire service could be in trouble.

Read more from Steve Reubel's Micro Persuasion entry.


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