- While some publishers question the contributor model, others seem to be embracing it.
- Tronc – publisher of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times among others – is considering launching a contributor network, an investor presentation suggests.
- The presentation, given on Thursday, appears in stark contrast to other publishers including HuffPost, which announced that it was shutting down its contributor blogging network.
For years, contributor networks were seen as a proven way for publishers to scale quickly and affordably. Then they went out of fashion.
But Tronc – publisher of the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and the Baltimore Sun among others – is considering launching a contributor network, an investor presentation suggests. The presentation, given on Thursday, was also tweeted out by Matt Pearce, a national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.
According to a slide in the presentation, the company is going to seek out “experts” with self-distribution and promotion capabilities as it looks to shift its emphasis to “more audience-targeted, self distributed and cost-effective models.”
The move appears in stark contrast to other publishers, several of whom have veered toward chasing quality over scale lately, moving away from contributor networks. In fact, just this morning, HuffPost announced that it was launching two new products – Opinion & Personal – and was shutting down its contributor blogging network.
It also comes on the heels of former Forbes news executive Lewis D’Vorkin joining the Los Angeles Times as editor-in-chief in October 2017. It was D’Vorkin that pioneered and designed the contributor network at Forbes as well, where outside contributors were commissioned to write stories for Forbes.com based on the number of readers they attracted.
Meanwhile, there are reports of a union drive at the Los Angeles Times, which has been propelled in part by related concerns over its leadership’s commitmment to its journalism and its financial soundness, according to NPR. The result of the vote over whether a union would be recognized at the newspaper is set to be announced on Friday, even as NPR detailed sexual harassment accusations against its CEO and publisher Ross Levinsohn in a story today.
Business Insider has reached out to Tronc for a comment but had not heard back at the time of publication.