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Color Me Crazy - My Latest Project

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Moderator1, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Ever since I left VCU in March, I've done a lot of dreaming, plotting, planning and scheming. The Queen says that's great and all but it doesn't pay the bills. So I've had to do some actual work, too. Harris Media Services is alive and well and has evolved for the time being into three components:

    *Freelance writing. Picking up a good bit, including some magazine stuff that I have enjoyed. The pay has been good, though irregular.

    *Freelance editing. Right now, the only thing involved with that is working the CBSSports.com on that NFL stuff discussed on many other threads. It's been crazy during preseason but fun, too. Will settle down now that teams are getting into their regular season routines. Met some great people, can do it from home, may lead to more work in the future.

    *And my latest game: www.vasportsnow.com - your ticket to excellent coverage.

    This is my biggest risk to date. I think it could turn into my biggest reward. Newspapers everywhere have cut back. They're not covering all they used to cover. People are going online. So we're going to try to be an online-only sports section. I don't want to count on ads for money - they clutter the page, they are hard to sell and they are time consuming to sell. We're going to try the subscription model, which hasn't had a lot of success either. By keeping it very cheap (less than seven cents a day!) I'm hoping we can change that. Won't come easily. It will probably take two years of hustling our asses off to really grow to a profitable point. We'll see.

    I've had inquiries from lots of writers looking for work, which is good. As soon as we grow or find an investor who has as much faith in this as we do, we'll hire some more people. In the meantime, feedback from fellow professionals is most appreciated. We've been giving it away in August - next week will be a key week because you have to pay to play starting Tuesday.

    Take a look, let me know what you think. If you have a spare half mil and want to turn it into more over a 5-6 year period, let me know. If I can get an investor who can help us get through a year with no money worries, I pretty much guarantee I can make this work.
  2. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    How much do online ads pay generally? I've often heard not enough, but with everything steering toward online, you'd think it'd be profitable.

    Aren't those Google ads the way a lot of people in your shoes (start-up bidness/site) are going? Or am I ass backward on that?

    Either way, good luck. Don't spend my sub fee in one place. :)
  3. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Well, that's another reason for me to avoid the ads - I don't know enough about pricing. A lot of click to pay and that kind of thing. I think a lot of people use Google ads.
    Maybe I have to go that route eventually but I think people would prefer a mostly ad free site for low cost.
    I say mostly because if I find an investor, his/her company gets two prime positions and no one else gets anything.
  4. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    It looks very sharp, Moddy, and I know you have a good guy in Jim.

    The 500-pound gorrilla...

    Where are the high schools?
  5. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    No high schools. Plenty of places are covering the high schools. No racing either for same reason.
  6. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    If I ever hit the Powerball, I'm your investor...
  7. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    The stories/columns/etc... have been kick-ass so far. Love the Q&As.

    And for a start-up sports site, you couldn't ask for a better set of writers. I really think VSN could take off in a big way. Good to see someone with the smarts (and balls) to create such a venture.
  8. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Balls I got, smarts I fake, money I need. Appreciate the support, seriously. It IS a good crew and I think we can do some very good things.
  9. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    I'm not paying to read stuff online! *grumble*

    Seriously though, it does look great.
  10. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    Moddy, I am going to disagree with you on the high schools.

    VA preps is $100 a year, and I think that is your direct competition for the high schools. If you do not subscribe to VApreps, I really do not think too much is out there.

    You have your local game box and three inches in the Saturday paper, but a website could do a lot more with video and pictures and instant results.

    Coming from Pennsylvania, the weakness I see in the local papers is their coverage (especially the tabs) of high schools. Plus, the T-D website sucks.
  11. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    But covering colleges is easier. He can do the whole state with his staff now. If they had to cover HS the night before, there are so many schools they couldn't even get to. Right now, they've got all the college coverage (and Va. loves it some colleges). I think Moddy's model is the right one.
  12. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    HS requires a ton of manpower to do properly - and I have no desire to get into video. Digital Sports offers a lot of high school coverage for free and the paper, despite its shrinking manpower, still gets to them pretty well.

    We're going to add a tab to the top soon called Mom's Basement. It will be a link to lots of blogs and other sites that cover the things we do, plus some links to places that cover what we don't. We'll put some high school links there. But, as IJAG said, colleges are the bread and butter here.
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