One of the main concerns The Hullabaloo considered during its transition to an online presence and acceptance of the changing dynamic of journalism was the difficulty in financially supporting our editorial purpose in the long term. Ad revenue continues to shrink, and online advertising is not filling that hole for a number of different reasons.
Consultant Ryan Frank brought to our attention a number of revenue opportunities focused on service-based business models (in addition to continued print ad revenue), one of which included a photography business. We discussed the advantages in theoretical terms, and he said it worked well for the college newspaper he advised at the time, the Oregon Daily Emerald. Much discussion surrounded this idea until recently, when an aspiring marketing associate and our busy business manager broke ground on the project, deemed Green Wave Photography.
Having hired two photographers, and possibly more in the future, Green Wave Photographer has landed its first three gigs, taking advantage of Homecoming festivities, with hopefully many more opportunities to come. Our marketing associate created a website, drew up contracts for both the photographers and the clients, contacted numerous organizations, consulted student government to estimate student organizations’ budgets, and compared prices with peer photography businesses to come up with an optimal price (depending on the nature of the event). The business will spend the next few weeks pinning down its niche, and we are hopeful that it will become a consistent revenue generator come next semester.
This endeavor inspired several conversations about ethical issues regarding the content these photographers would produce, and the main concern was that we ensure the photographs taken for clients and photos taken for The Hullabaloo newspaper content would remain completely and mutually exclusive. Hiring two photographers separate from the editorial process allows us to draw a thicker ethical line than we necessarily expected off the bat given our limited resources. Starting the pay off at $150 for experienced photographers eventually drew in some talent, though!
In addition to this new business venture, our business manager has signed The Hullabaloo up for what has become a popular way to create funds through the internet called crowd funding where anyone interested can fund the digitization of The Hullabaloo by financially assisting our need for sending staff to conferences, buying video equipment, and bringing in professional speakers to educate the staff (I’m a strong believer that educational at the fundamental level is the answer to a stronger and better news organization.). You can donate to our cause at gofundme.com. Gifts we offer include Hullabaloo lanyards, mugs, subscriptions, newspapers signed by staff and social media shoot outs.
I’m really proud to see the hard work and initiative of our marketing associate and business manager, and I am excited to see our business department work toward the continued financial independence of The Hullabaloo, even in this digital age. While we can never be certain that our endeavors will stick, whether editorial or business, I am confident that the initiative of this hardworking team will bring The Hullabaloo financial stability, whether with these ventures or the next.