the transition to digital journalism
Publications such as magazines that don't serve a particular geographic area also face a much more competitive environment online. General interest publications and broadcast networks have found their audiences chipped away by niche products that offer more in-depth coverage of particular topics.
This trend toward specialized niche publications, often referred to as "verticals," parallels what happened in the magazine business in the 1980s when there was an explosion of more narrow interest magazines serving audiences with specific interests.
The Internet has exponentially increased the economic viability of publications that serve smaller audiences interested in particular subjects. For one perspective on this, see Chris Anderson's "The Long Tail."
Examples of niche sites:
Beliefnet - which provides news and information on religious issues
TimTeblog - A site about football star Tim Tebow, created by an espn.com columnist and blogger
NPR's Argo network - a partnership between NPR and 12 of its local member stations to run network of blogs, each focused on a particular topic and geographical area.
Many news publications are being forced to define what their core competencies are - that is what particular niche can they stake out and what specific kind of information can they deliver to effectively compete in this new environment?
And how can they best organize the stories and other information they produce on their websites to serve people with more narrowly defined interests?
Readings and Resources
Web-based Niche News Sites and Networks - list at Jurnos wiki
The Nichepaper Manifesto - Harvard Business Review blog posting by Umair Haque
Main Justice founder on the rise of niche news, when to turn down cash, and focusing on your focus - Nieman Journalism Lab, 5/14/2010
The Nich News Buffet, International Press Institute, June 2010