the transition to digital journalism

Niche Sites

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
  • Politico - a site focused on national politics. See "The Nich News Buffet" article on Politico.
  • Main Justice - coverage of the U.S. Department of Justice. See the Nieman Journalism Lab article on Main Justice.
  • 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 networks 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