E&E Finds a Balance: Tiny Audience, Huge Paywall

Great piece from the Nieman Journalism Lab by Caroline O’Donovan about private news service Environment and  Energy Publishing. E&E has a robust team of 75 reporters in 10 cities around the country, including Washington, LA, New York, Minneapolis and Houston, writing 70 stories a day. They also have a very small audience of environmental policy makers, academics, and industry types. So they pay for those reporters by charging very high subscription fees – between $2,000 and $150,000 a year -to that audience. And apparently, it works.

From the article:

To produce content at the volume its clients need, E&E has to maintain a robust staff. I asked [Founder Kevin Braun] how, in an age when reporters are encouraged to grow personal brands, he manages to hire journalists whose work will most likely never see a mass audience.

“Some of them are tired of being in newspaper newsrooms that are under constant financial pressure and downsizing and they find it depressing,” he says. “A lot of people were laid off, like the Washington bureau chief for The Denver Post. I’m more than happy to pick up those types of people. Some of his reporters have already had long careers in newspapers, but want to spend a few years digging into work they care about. “I’ve got guys in their mid seventies who are having the time of their lives,” says Braun.