It seems that the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism wants to get a better handle on what makes for a successful online business model and have hired the founder of Spot.us, David Cohn, to do some research on the matter.
Cohn will be working with three community sites that are run by the journalism school and using them as test-beds in the research to find what it takes to build a sustainable business model for small news websites.
Writing on his blog Cohn states that he will be remaining an active part of Spot.us which, he says, is going to have some exciting news to share in the next few weeks.
Here is the press release from Berkeley about the research.
BERKELEY J-SCHOOL HIRES SPOT.US FOUNDER TO RESEARCH ONLINE BUSINESS MODELS
The UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism is pleased to announce David Cohn will be joining the school as a full-time instructor under a grant from the Ford Foundation.
Cohn will be conducting research on economic models of online journalism publications and help to develop business products for supporting hyperlocal news websites. Specifically, Cohn will be working in concert with three community websites run by the school: MissionLocal.org, OaklandNorth.net and RichmondConfidential.org. These sites will be testing grounds for experimentation to aid in the research for building sustainable business models for small news websites.
Cohn is the creator Spot.Us, a nonprofit website that launched in 2008 and pioneered community funded reporting. Recently Cohn was a fellow at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri and is a frequent speaker at online journalism conferences and summits.
Spot.Us will continue its operation with Chief Technical Officer Erik Sundelof taking a larger role in its day to day operation, according to Cohn. The nonprofit is fiscally sound for the next year, and there are plans in the coming weeks to scale the organization upward.