NPR will be one of the dominant forces in media in ten years because their membership-based funding model is finely tuned to the habits of millennial news consumers. That’s the prophecy of Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist and a new media philosopher.
“Only very recently have I been thinking about the successful news organizations, he said, responding to a question from James Fallows at the Washington Ideas Forum. “I have a feeling that membership models and philanthrophy models will be stronger than advertising-supported models, people will be willing to pay for news they can trust.”
And trust, he said, “is the new black.”
I’m willing to bet this will not come true, for the following reasons:
- Craigslist is free, which is why it is so popular, and it is not a model for a for-pay NPR.
- NPR, like PBS, is irreversibly liberal in an increasingly conservative country.
- NPR is not “for pay,” it lives off public funding and donations.
- NPR is not trusted. See Point 2.