Home > Uncategorized > Columbia Journalism School Calls for a Rethinking of Online Ad Models

Columbia Journalism School Calls for a Rethinking of Online Ad Models


The Columbia School of Journalism just released a report outlining suggestions for news outlets to reevaluate online advertising. The report suggests that journalists have little understanding of online advertising methods. The report also suggests that news subscription services, such as The NY Times paywall, will meet with very limited success on the web.

I welcomed this report as it backs up many of the things I have been writing about here on this blog. The problem with online advertising is that there is too much of it, and it provides little value to the reader. In a NY Times article on the report, they noted that a Vanity Fair reader spends as much time looking at the ads as they spend looking at the content in the print version. This is because the ads are laid out with an artistry that provides an appeal to the readers.

Online advertising, on the other hand, is often intrusive to the experience. They slow down the web user’s experience, and provide little value. Even worse, the ad-targeting on the web is often far worse than it is in print, even though web advertisers have access to a much broader range of usage data.

Advertising is the future of journalism. It is the only system that has successfully worked to support quality journalism in the last 3o0 years. Paywalls, non-profits, syndication, and sponsorships are buzzwords used to describe businesses that have been unable to figure out a way to make advertising work online. Once someone figures out a way to distribute an ad-supported publication in a manner that turns the ads into part of the experience, news outlets will once again see their coffers flourish.

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