Here’s An Idea: The Harvard Business Review on the ‘Nichepaper’

Big ups to Robb Montgomery on Twitter for a link to this article on the “nichepaper manifesto.” I’m not big on buzzwords, nor am I big on manifestos, but I like the ideas described in this piece on the future of newspapers by the Harvard Business Review.

What does it boil down to? The future of newspapers lies in so-called “nichepapers,” news organizations built around “a profound mastery of a tightly defined domain — finance, politics, even entertainment” — and offering “deep, unwavering knowledge of it.”

Some examples: Talking Points Memo, Perez Hilton, Business Insider, Huffington Post. As a classic niche publication, Arkansas Business could also fit this model.

The article goes further to say that, “The 21st century news organization is a portfolio of the different kinds of nichepapers.” Here’s why:

Nichepapers are the future of news because their economics are superior. All the Nichepapers above are “real” enterprises, with staff, offices, and fixed and variable costs. Nichepapers offer more bang for the buck: greater benefits for far less cost. Readers get more, better, and faster content — while publishers realize lower capital intensity, lower distribution, marketing, and production costs, and less risk. What is different about them is that they are finding new paths to growth, and rediscovering the lost art of profitability by awesomeness.

Not a fan of phrases like “profitability by awesomeness,” either. But you get the point.

If you care about newspapers, you should read the whole thing right here, then tell me what you think. This is of course but one possible model of how news organizations might look in the near future.


Of course, “niche” is nothing new. Arkansas Business is a niche newspaper and part of a company that produces a host of niche products. And in November, Arkansas Business media writer Mark Hengel wrote about how “niche” is becoming an important part of the business plan for general circulation daily newspapers.


2 Responses

  1. […] post:  Here’s An Idea: The Harvard Business Review on the ‘Nichepaper’ Share and […]

  2. […] Man, Poor Man: Media maven Lance Turner likes this here idea of “nichepapers” as the future of journalism. (Me Lance Turner, You Blog) Some things never go out of […]

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