What's our next step?
Occasionally I've waxed poetic on the future of LISNews. I admit that I'm light on ideas, I'm not even sure anything can be done to be done to improve LISNews, or make it more important to more people moving forward. My big idea is to have more original work, more reporting, more stories, more articles, become more a place for news, and less a place for links to the news.
The big question is, how can we pay for "real authors," or at the very least, how can we at least motivate people to "report" for nothing? This is a question I've had in my mind for years, and not been able to find a suitable answer for yet. I'd rather not become an advertising web site. I believe that entities that make money from advertising are simply advertising companies that use some other method to attract people so those advertisers who are trying to sell something to the readers have someone to target advertising to. If it's possible, I'd like to avoid that model of doing business. But what does that leave as our options?
The NPR model, where we beg for money and hope for the best. I've begged, and got pretty much what I needed, but that's just enough, it's not enough to pay anyone for what they do, it's not even enough to say I get paid for what I do, it's just enough to say that I am no longer paying to run LISNews. So that leads me to believe that it will pay the bills, but won't pay the people. So the questions this raises, for me: Would having original works attract more donations? What happens if it doesn't? What else can we give people who donate?
The subscription model, where we have a part free, part paid site? Authors would be paid, write original stories/articles, and only those who are subscribers would be able to read them. What else can we give subscribers?
Are those three models mutually exclusive? Would anyone care if we had real stories? Would anyone read them? Would anyone want to write for us? Do we have a large enough audience to support anything other than my break-even model?
What else could I do to pay people to be LISNews reporters?
Whatever I choose to do, if anything, needs to be not so drastic that if it fails LISNews fails along with it. I'm afraid of pushing too hard and becoming too involved, and just burning out, or spending too much money, and having to fold to pay my mortgage.
Some other random things floating around in my head.
Two plugins I'd like to write for Slashcode:
1. RSS Reader for LISNews accounts
2. Contact Us
Other things I need to work on:
Fix the most popular stories page, and hits updating.
What to do with LISFeeds.
Automate signing on and off the newsletter? Or at the very least, signing off, it's a pain.
Get involved with the Slashcode CSS conversion.
various other bug fixes.
Book #1, Book #2, and another Book Chapter. When are those due dates again?