New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to give a lift to the struggling NYC media industry — which has laid off hundreds, if not thousands, of employees this year. Today, the city unveiled a plan that aims to create 8,000 jobs, paidContent’s David Kaplan reports.
The plan unveiled today involves encouraging partnerships among traditional and digital media, as well as academics, retaining talent in the media sector and attracting foreign media companies while helping NYC-based businesses expand abroad. It’s being spearheaded by the quasi-public/private Economic Development Corp., which launched the planning phase last November.
But according to Kaplan, the city only plans to kick in $1.5 million over five years to the effort. That’s just $300,000 a year, or roughly the all-in cost of three (medium-level) to five (low-level) full-time media employees. Sure, the city doesn’t have much money to throw around. Who does? Most of the money will come from other sources, obviously. But $1.5 million isn’t going to do much of anything.
Update: After a second close reading of the mayor’s press release, we’d like to clarify that we don’t expect the city to bail out any media companies by giving them money. So we’d draw less attention to our earlier point about the city only putting $1.5 million into the effort, and more regarding the programs the city plans to support: Mostly, it seems, some new infrastructure and training programs to foster entrepreneurial media-types.
These include a “media lab,” a media and tech “fellowship” consisting of “training, mentoring, networking opportunities with venture capital firms, and support services such as legal aid,” a software competition, a training program, and an office for media freelancers to use.
These will obviously not fix the media industry’s real problems — unsustainable cost structures with challenges to the offline advertising market — but the city can’t really do much about that anyway. (It will have to deal with yet even more unemployed media-types, however.)
The question, of course, is whether these efforts will do much to drive so-called entrepreneurial journalism — and somehow create 8,000 jobs. Networking and mentoring are helpful, but it’s not like these things aren’t already available for those who want them. (And we’re sceptical that the lack of office space is what’s holding back people from becoming freelancers.)
We’ll chat with some reps from the city tomorrow, eager to hear how these efforts will be able to create so many jobs.
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