Because the Tribune does not receive advertising, Smith said, it relies on “five buckets” of revenue: membership, major donors, foundations, corporate sponsorship, and earned income through events and premium products like newsletters. And, despite what he calls “the Nick Denton legacy” of online news, the Tribune will never pay its writers based on their page views.
“Nobody took a pay cut when they left their jobs to come and work for the Tribune,” Smith said. “One of the benefits of raising enough money to do a real operation was we could pay honest to goodness real journalists a real wage. Journalists deserve a living wage, not to be nickel and dimed on the basis of traffic.”