Futures Lab Update #135: Liz Gannes’ Lessons From Startups; Micropayments via Phittle

    by Reuben Stern
    January 15, 2016
    The startup Phittle allows journalists to charge for individual articles. Screenshot courtesy of RJI.

    This week we find out what newsrooms might learn from startups, and we explore another system aimed at enabling micropayments for news.

    "There's an idea that your job might shift at any time -- and that's not a bad thing." -- Liz Gannes

    PART 1: Learning from startups

    Covering Silicon Valley companies from inside the digital news startup Re/code gave Liz Gannes a unique view into continually shifting organizational cultures. We sat down with her to find out how traditional news organizations might learn from what happens inside tech startups.
    Reporting by Katy Mersmann and Reuben Stern.


    [To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]

    PART 2: Micropayments via Phittle

    A startup called Phittle hopes to support journalism with a system that includes the ability to charge for individual articles. Founder Sam Litvin tells us about the key features being included.
    Reporting by Berkeley Lovelace.

    [To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]


    Additional information:

    Another micropayments platform called Blendle has gained traction in the Netherlands and Germany and has attracted investment from U.S.-based publishers in advance of a North American expansion. Blendle’s Thomas Smolders explained to us how the platform works in this previous Futures Lab report.

    Blendle co-founder Alexander Klöpping writes that readers using their system have been less willing to pay for straight news stories but instead have shown willingness to pay individually for articles that feature analysis, opinion, interviews, etc. “In other words: people don’t want to spend money on the ‘what,’ they want to spend money on the ‘why.’”

    Reuben Stern is the deputy director of the Futures Lab at the Reynolds Journalism Institute and host and co-producer of the weekly Futures Lab video update.


    The Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Futures Lab video update features a roundup of fresh ideas, techniques and developments to help spark innovation and change in newsrooms across all media platforms. Visit the RJI website for the full archive of Futures Lab videos, or download the iPad app to watch the show wherever you go. You can also sign up to receive email notification of each new episode.

    Tagged: knight fellowships micropayments phittle startup culture startups technology

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