As it transitions to a new entity owned by the Center for Investigative Reporting, and recovers from burning through $11 million in just over two years, The Bay Citizen has ended its two-year marriage to the New York Times.
According to Steve Myers at Poynter,..
“The change does not come without warning, as CIR aims to narrow the focus of the San Francisco nonprofit news site after the two agreed last month to merge. The California attorney general approved the merger this week, Rosenthal said, but this decision was made by The Bay Citizen and the Times. The final decision came over the weekend after discussions over the past several weeks.”
What The Bay Citizen got out of the NTY collaboration was a nice, occasional web traffic pop. I remember the day the pairing went active; on, I believe it was around June 6, 2010, the Bay Citizen drew 40,000 visitors in one day, all due to the New York Times online link. If that continued daily – as it should have – that would have pushed The Bay Citizen to over 1.2 million unique visitors per month.
But that didn’t happen because the NY Times didn’t design the link to work that way.
CIR Executive Director Robert Rosenthal is quoted as saying that “We want the opportunity to have multiple media partners in the Bay Area and not be in an exclusive relationship with, really, anyone.”
It doesn’t mean the pair will not work together in the future. But Robert Rosenthal also said something that’s weird: “Our focus is a unique niche: accountability and investigative reporting. We’re not a ‘news organization’ putting out a lot of content every day.”
If that’s the case, forget The Bay Citizen as a major player in online news, let alone being anything along the lines of a viable business model. You can catch the news market with that strategy – what they’re going to do is put out stories they think are good, then sit back and hope and pray that the market consumes it. Really, The Bay Citizen doesn’t have to release a lot of stuff every day, but just enough to be a player in the Bay Area News market. But with this talk, that’s not going to happen.
They don’t really understand what they’re doing, and that’s because they don’t personally do digital media, but oversee digital media.
For example, they’re making a lot of noise about a YouTube Channel they, as of this writing, haven’t even launched, but committed $800,000 for. Folks, it takes about eight minutes to start a YouTube Channel – for free. Don’t think you need $800K to have one. Check out Zennie62.com.
It’s not having a YouTube Channel that counts, it’s what you do with it that’s important.
As A YouTube Partner since 2008, I have to say The Bay Citizen could be so much more than it is, but for now, it’s far less that would it could ever be.