efforts and virtually no marketing/advertising budget, and believes that there is a
large potential once sales efforts are stepped up.
During interviews TOL staff admitted that it is very difficult to build a brand name
as a news start up company, especially because you do not have the financial and
promotional backing of a traditional news corporation. The synergy from the mutual
promotion of a traditional and a web based news organization in each others space
is of immense value that is not available to a news start up company
On the other hand, the cutting down of the budgets of the foreign desks of the big
established traditional media with international reach created a new market niche
for news start ups, especially when they operate outside the West like TOL.
Cooperation is asked from the established traditional media organizations because
they cannot afford permanent correspondents in many places anymore. As a result
TOL builds co operations with big media organisations such as CNN, Time or the
Washington Post. "We get exposure, they get the expertise," said the editor of TOL.
Finally, according to TOL staff, a news start up needs to diversify income strategies.
E commerce strategy (working as a store to sell books and other products for
example), Syndicating its products (Factiva, Ebsco syndicates for example),
sponsorship of the website, sponsorship of special sections, organize conferences,
sell subscriptions, sales campaign to specialized groups such as university
departments, sell archive, and consulting"
TOL s business goal is to establish five integrated revenue streams based around its
1. Access to TOL and its Internet publications (membership).
2. Syndication of TOL articles as well as those of its local partners.
3. Advertising of region specific products and services.
4. Sales of TOL content and other products as well as the products of our local
partners (e commerce).
5. Consulting as experts on the transition societies of Central and Eastern Europe,
the Balkans, and the former Soviet Union.
TOL has also been awarded grants from ten foundations from the Czech Republic,
Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, and the United States. From its
beginnings in April 1999, TOL has been dedicated to achieving financial self
sufficiency. Self generated income, mostly from subscription fees, equalled roughly
7.5% of expenditures between February and December 2000.
4.3. Content production processes
Transitions Online Content
Week in review
A weekly collection of news items put together by TOL s Stringer Network for
Independent Journalism, an association of local journalists spread throughout the 28