In both Ventura and Bakersfield, I saw it as my job to figure out how to make enough money online to pay for the newsrooms as constructed at the time.
It wasn’t until late 2007 that a switch tripped in my head and I realized I needed to flip the expense/revenue picture upside down. Instead of thinking about how to generate more cash, I needed to figure out how to create a news operation that could exist profitably based on a reasonable expectation for local online revenue.
In a market where the newspaper newsroom might cost $10 million, I knew how to make $1 million online, or even $2 million, but I didn’t know — and still don’t — how to make $10 million.
So if I can make a million online, why do I need operate a $10 million newsroom, especially given the greater efficiencies of online publishing?