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'On Line Opinion' - the next iteration

By Graham Young - posted Monday, 11 October 2010


How do you make online journalism pay? On Line Opinion might be a not-for-profit but it’s never been uncommercial in its approach.

If we are going to provide a platform where ideas can meet, then we need to make enough to cover our costs and to allow for reinvestment in technology.

On Line Opinion is unique in Australia as a journal which holds no particular political point of view apart from the one that the free exchange of ideas is absolutely necessary to a functioning society.

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We also seek out writers for their knowledge, not necessarily their ability to turn out polished prose, and cover a wider gamut of points of view and subjects than anyone else.

When we started 11 years ago there was no commercial model for what we were doing. But we knew that if people were interested in reading good quality, insightful material someone would have to get paid somewhere, somehow.

So our job was to run as lean and mean a budget as possible, and to deliver as high a quality as we could within that budget, so that we could last long enough for the model, or models, to shake out.

In our field we’re still waiting for that to happen. And while we were waiting we were burning capital. Now we’ve got to a position where that has to stop.

As of next week OLO will be running on an even leaner mix, but with that mix we are hoping to give you something even richer.

I can’t give you full details because I don’t have them.

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The original OLO concept was predicated on the interactivity of the Internet, something which is now labeled Web 2.0.

So you won’t be surprised to find that in our redesign we will be trying to harness the power of our community to make our site better and stronger.

And when you have told me what we are doing, I will dutifully let you know.

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About the Author

Graham Young is chief editor and the publisher of On Line Opinion. He is executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, an Australian think tank based in Brisbane, and the publisher of On Line Opinion.

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