Online newspaper experiment failed in Seattle

August 17, 2009

As reported by, an experiment in Seattle for an online newspaper has failed – due to money. Seattle Courant founder Keith Vance, talks about why:

‘The Courant failed because I didn’t have enough cash and I didn’t find someone who could handle the business side, such as finding customers, technologists and managing projects. The trick I had to pull off was to be able to fund the Courant while I not only built a newsroom, but also a technology firm to support it. I couldn’t do it all.

My advice to anyone who seeks to create something like The Seattle Courant is to make sure you have at least enough money to get you through the first year and someone who’s as committed as you are to the business. To generate revenue, focus your efforts on providing technology solutions to your customers and not just selling banner ads. You have to be able to do something that other people can’t, or don’t want to do. Going to city council meetings and covering press conferences counts as something people don’t want to do, but news doesn’t make money it costs money. One way to think of it is that instead of a print shop that supports a newsroom, we need to build a technology firm that supports a newsroom. It’s really not that different, it just requires a different skill set.’

Even with online newspaper, the issues still returns to money – and more than adverts are needed. ‘News doesn’t make money, it costs money’ – and the user doesn’t care how much it costs, they only care about the quality.