by Samuel Gerald (Jerry) Firman
Caveats & Disclaimers
1. I began this article at 3pm on Saturday and will try to restrain myself from publishing it until early Monday morning.
2. I am not an expert on any part of Newsvine or the Beta which is currently in progress. I claim no special influence, knowledge, expertise or personal involvement with anything Newsvine except that I have been around for a while.
3. In the very early days of Newsvine I made many, many recommendations, proposals, suggestions and other such to all of staff and particularly to Mike Davidson to the point of becoming a pest if not an albatross as they proceeded to successfully build Newsvine to its present status. Some of those old suggestions will reappear in this article.
4. I will endeavor, but not promise, that once I get this article done and have covered the resultant clutter I will cease and desist except for the normal glitch reporting and suggestions as could be expected of any Beta tester.
My Vision of a Syndicated Newsvine
I see Newsvine being a Dow Jones, McClatchy, Hurst, Thompson, Knight Ridder, Times kind of entity. The big cheeses in the news publishing business. I see Newsvine providing the superstructure/infrastructure of an entity dedicated to bringing news to the World on the Internet. Newsvine would organize and certify Syndicates which would work within a framework owned and operated by Newsvine while still providing ownership and control of such Syndicates with autonomous operation and ability to own and sell their separate assets and business goodwill to those approved by Newsvine. It would behoove Newsvine to provide software and hosting for assets held independently by such Syndicates in a commercially practical and mutually beneficial manner. Newsvine would maintain on its site a Utility dedicated to providing a social and/or community gathering place for all members. Newsvine would be able to operate using all the techniques which Syndicates bring to the site. Syndicates which produced ground breaking or proprietary assets would be able to sell or trade such assets with other Syndicates again with approval by Newsvine.
My Vision of a Syndicate
Syndicates would be able to operate independently in selling advertising space and making editorial choices. Syndicates would be like a Newspaper or chain of newspapers working under the auspices of Newsvine as the central Publisher. Syndicates could be bought and sold just as if they were a real world entity. There probably should be several tiers of Syndication in order to keep the broader Newsvine Community involved and to provide news and comment for all comers. Top Syndicates with extensive software and large memory requirements could eventually demand very large sums of money. Newsvine might initially seed a few Syndicates in order to get the ball rolling. Newsvine would certainly want to establish a Home Syndicate which would be open for all members to publish and comment as is presently the case in Newsvine. They could even call that Home Syndicate a Group or Nation, I wouldn't care.
I can see an alternative to consolidation with servers being located around the world. Such servers might even be installed by Syndicates as opposed to Newsvine Proper. Such an arrangement would provide system redundancy and security of archives by placing mirror caches at various sites.
Putting It All Together
The following is how I envision my dream Newsvine will grow and gain. Newsvine gives or sells Oldfogey a franchise or syndicate to publish legal materials as he sees fit. It may be that Oldfogey pays nothing for minimal franchise perks and privileges. It also may be that Oldfogey pays Newsvine some considerable amount for a franchise that includes extensive software utilities, hosting, technical and service support. Based on past history the Oldfogey has paid several hundred dollars a year for such an arrangement with other On line Newspaper support sites. From this arrangement Newsvine expands beyond present capabilities and is provided with additional placement of its international and national advertising. It also creates ties with geographically dislocated sites and personages that allow for more local content and local advertising at more competitive prices than currently available. Oldfogey becomes a for profit news publication on his own and can sell advertising to local entities. He can hire sales, reporting and support personnel from the general Newsvine populace or from his actual location.
In conjunction with this plan, as Oldfogey establishes assets and commercial value within his Syndicate he can arrange, with Newsvine concurrence, a transfer of ownership to others or to expand his domain by purchasing other franchises. This plan provides a means to developing news, community and financial ties which can be immensely profitable to all. Like all endeavors success will depend on the business plan and involvement of the people in charge. One advantage of this plan over the current one is that the unsuccessful portions of Newsvine would disappear and not clutter the successful portion of the site.
As an additional thought Newsvine Photographers might find such an arrangement helpful if their members would like a commercial outlet for their finer work. Some Nations/Syndicates might provide pool reporting or editing or research or administrative duties for the more active Syndicates. It is possible successful Syndicate owners would acquire more than one Syndicate. Free Enterprise at its finest.
Want to create jobs? Want to energize the marketplace? Want to spread the wealth while maintaining corporate assets? Want to be a part of the solution instead a part of the problem? Just a shot in the dark. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. He who hesitates, loses. David and Goliath. Now the wait until Monday morning.
Well, it is Sunday and my fingers are getting itchy. I also would like to have some feedback on what I say here before it becomes the rage of the Internet by being published to the general public. With that in mind, I am going to publish this to Beta only for now and hope I get the desired or undesired feedback that is sitting out there unaware. Here goes Beta Members, tear it up.