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True/Slant Tests Another Model Of Web Journalism

Apr 9, 2009

As newspapers, magazines and TV stations face dire economic challenges, and journalism moves increasingly online, debates are raging about how best to preserve quality news and commentary while still making money.

There’s lots of experimentation with different approaches. Many journalists, old and new, are operating as stand-alone bloggers, but finding it hard to make a living. Web advertising has weakened with the economy, and often can’t cover the costs of expensive reporting. A couple of respected traditional publications have successfully attracted large numbers of paid subscribers online, but many others who have tried have failed.

Meanwhile, advertisers also are scrambling to figure out the best way to sell their products online, in a manner that both attracts potential customers and blends in well with the content and style of news sites. And publishers are trying to capture the conversation and sense of community that permeate services like Facebook and Twitter.

This week, a new Web news site is entering the fray, with a novel approach to journalistic entrepreneurship, new forms of advertising, and an effort to blend journalism and social networking.

The site, called True/Slant, at trueslant.com, is opening its doors via an odd preliminary status it calls an “open alpha.” This means it’s rough around the edges, and not yet taking in revenue, but hopes to attract enough participation to hone its design and operation.

True/Slant is run by a former news executive at America Online who worked at a variety of publications, including The Wall Street Journal. It covers a wide range of topics, such as politics, culture, sports, business, health, science and food.

Read the rest of the story here:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123922742849502695.html

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