Rocking the Boat: Proposing a Participatory Business Model for News


  • Lene Pettersen University of Oslo
  • Arne H. Krumsvik Kristiania University College, 0107 Oslo, Norway.



Business Model Innovation, Business canvas modelling, Citizen Journalism, Co-creation, Donation strategy, social innovation, user involvement.


The digitization of newspapers has opened up new possibilities for user involvement, yet established practices in the media industry hinder news organisations from fully exploiting the many new opportunities that exist in the age of the Internet and social media. In this conceptual and interdisciplinary article, we explain how news actors’ strategic choices for innovation related to citizen collaboration and knowledge creation leads to distinct ideal types for participatory business models for news organisations, which we label the three C’s (citizen reporting, citizen journalism, and citizen media). We contribute to the business model innovation literature by pointing to which specific parts of a business model that news actors need to change in order to cut their production costs, as well as contributing to innovation theory by showing that the three C’s is a continuum of innovational steps. We develop further the donation strategy for user involvement by discussing citizen collaboration in different parts of the journalistic value chain. We conclude that news actors need to rock their boats in order to innovate their business models in line with today's media landscape.

Author Biographies

Lene Pettersen, University of Oslo

Associate professor, Department of Informatics, University of Oslo.

Arne H. Krumsvik, Kristiania University College, 0107 Oslo, Norway.

Professor of Media and Communication, Westerdals Department of Communication and Design, Kristiania University College.


Author. (2013a).

Author. (2013b).

Author (2018).

Author, Name, Name & Name. (2018).

Author, Name & Name. (2013).

Author. (2014).

Author. (2016).

Author. (2017).

Name & Author. (2017).

Name & Author. (2013).

Barland, J. & Olsen, R. K. (2015). Innholdsmarkedsføring testet på lesere av nettaviser.

Høgskolen i Gjøviks rapportserie. Gjøvik: Høgskolen i Gjøvik.

Bruno, N. & Klein Nielsen, R. (2012). Survival is Success Journalistic Online Start-Ups in Western Europe. Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. RISJ CHALLENGES. University of Oxford. ISBN 978-1-907384-08-0

Bayer, Ford, Tar, & Romanesco. (2011). Quantifying quality collaboration patterns, systemic bias, POV pushing, the impact of news events, and editors' reputation. The Signpost. Retrieved from

Boczkowski, P. J. (2004). Digitizing the news: Innovation in online newspapers. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Bruns, A. (2005). Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production. New York: Peter Lang.

Bruns, A. (2008). Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond. From Production to Produsage. New York: Peter Lang.

Carpentier, N. (2011). Media and Participation. A Site of Ideological-Democratic Struggle. Bristol, UK/Chicago, IL: Intellect.

Chesbrough, H. (2010). Business model innovation: opportunities and barriers. Long Range Planning, 43(2), 354-363.

Chesbrough, H. W. (2003). Open innovation: The new imperative for creating and profiting from technology. Boston: Harvard Business Press.

Christensen, C. (1997). The innovator’s dilemma: When new technologies cause great firms to fail. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Deuze, M. (2005). What is journalism? Journalism, 6(4), 442–464 DOI: 10.1177/1464884905056815.

Domingo, D. (2008). Interactivity in the daily routines of online newsrooms: dealing with an uncomfortable myth. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(3), 680–704,

Foss, N.J. & Saebi, T. (2015). Business models and business model innovation: Bringing

organisation into the field, in: N.J. Foss & T. Saebi (Eds.), Business model innovation: The organisational dimension.

Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Francis, D. & Bessant, J. (2005). Targeting Innovation and Implications for Capability Development. Technovation 25(3):171-183.

Frow, P., Nenonen, S., Payne, A., & Storbacka, K. (2015). Managing co‐creation design: A strategic approach to innovation. British Journal of Management, 26(3), 463-483.

Gillmor, D. (2004). We the Media. Grassroots Journalism, By the People, For the People. Sebastopol: O’Reilly Media.

Günzel, F. & Holm, A. B. (2013). One size does not fit all—understanding the front-end and back-end of business model innovation. International Journal of Innovation Management, 17(01).

Haas, T. (2007). The Pursuit of Public Journalism. Theory, Practice, and Criticism. London: Routledge.

García-Avilés, J., A., Carvajal-Prieto,M., Arias-Robles, F., De Lara-González, A. (2018).

Journalists’ views on innovating in the newsroom: Proposing a model of the diffusion of innovations in media outlets. Journal of Media Innovation.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. New York: New

York University Press.

Ind, N., Iglesias, O. & Schultz, M. (2013). Building brands together. California Management Review 55 (3): 5–26.

Jönsson, A. M. & Örnebring, H. (2011). User-generated content and the news: Empowerment of citizens or interactive illusion? Journalism Practice 5(2), 127-144.

Kazadi, K., Lievens, A., & Mahr, D. (2016). Stakeholder co-creation during the innovation

process: Identifying capabilities for knowledge creation among multiple stakeholders. Journal of Business Research, 69(2), 525-540.

Küng, L., Picard, R. G., & Towse, R. (2008). The Internet and the Mass Media. London: SAGE.

Lamark, H. (2018). Journalistikk eller lokal journalistikk. Norsk medietidsskrift, 03/2018, Vol. 25.

Levinthal, D. A. & March, J. G., (1993). The myopia of learning. Strategic Management Journal,14(S2), 95-112.

Matheson, D. (2004). Weblogs and the epistemology of the news: Some trends in online journalism. New Media & Society, 6(4), 443-468.

Miles, R. E., Miles, G., & Snow, C. C. (2006). Collaborative Entrepreneurship: A Business Model for Continuous Innovation. Organizational Dynamics, 35(1), 1-11.

Moore, J. E., & Hatcher, J. A. (2018). Disrupting traditional news routines through community engagement: analysis Analysis of the One River, Many Stories media collaboration project. Journalism Studies, 1-16.

Mulgan, G., Tucker, S., Ali, R., & Sanders, B. (2007). Social innovation: What it is, why it matters and how it can be accelerated. Working paper, Oxford Said Business School,

Ní Bhroin, N. (2015). Social media-innovation: The case of indigenous tweets. The Journal of Media Innovations, 2(1), 89-106.

Nygren, G. (2008). Yrke på glid: Om journalistrollens deprofessionalisering (Occupation on the skids: the de-professionalization of journalism). Stockholm: Institutet för mediestudier.

O’Reilly III, C. A., & Tushman, M. L. (2008). Ambidexterity as a dynamic capability: Resolving the innovator's dilemma. Research in organizational behavior, 28, 185-206.

Osterwalder, A., & Pigneur, Y. (2010). Business model generation: A handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers: John Wiley & Sons.

Prahalad, C. K., & Ramaswamy, V. (2000). Co-opting customer competence. Harvard business review, 78(1), 79-90.

Revang, Ø. & Olaisen, J. (2014). Evig ung – en casestudie av relasjoner mellom nyskaping og drift. Magma 8:53-62.

Rogers, E. M. (2010). Diffusion of innovations. New York, US.: Simon and Schuster.

Rosen, J. (1999). The Action of the Idea. In The Idea of Public Journalism, edited by T. Glasser, 21–48. New York: The Guilford Press.

Rosen, J. (2000). The Essence of Public Journalism. In Public Journalism på Svenska, SDMI Skrift nr. 3, edited by J.

Strömbäck, 10–16. Sundsvall: Demokratiinstitutet.

Saebi, T. (2016). Fremtiden for forretningsmodell­innovasjon i Norge. Magma, 7/2016.

Saebi, T. (2015). Evolution, adaption or innovation? A contingency framework on business model dynamics, in: Foss,

N.J., & Saebi, T. (Eds.), Business model innovation: The organisational dimension. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Saebi, T. & Foss, N.J. (2015). Business models for open innovation: matching heterogenous open innovation strategies with business model dimensions. European Management Journal, 33, 201–213.

Schroeder, R. (2004). Online review. Journalism Studies, 5(4), 563-570.

Schumpeter, J. (1943). Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. London: Routledge.

Storsul, T., & Krumsvik, A. H. (2013). What is Media Innovation? In Nordicom (Ed.), Media Innovations: A Multidiciplinary Study of Change. (pp. 13-26). Göteborg, Sweden: Nordicom, University of Gothenburg.

Tapscott, D. (2001). Rethinking Strategy in a Networked World (or Why Michael Porter is Wrong about the Internet). Strategy + Business. July 1st, 2001. Retrieved from

Tapscott, D., & Williams, A. D. (2008). Wikinomics: How mass collaboration changes everything. New York, USA: Portfolio, the Penguin Group.

Teece, D. J. (2018). Business models and dynamic capabilities. Long Range Planning. Volume 51, Issue 1, February 2018, 40-49

Van Alstyne, M., W., Parker, G. G., & Choudary, P. (2016). Pipelines, platforms, and the new rules of strategy. Harvard Business Review, accessed 14 July 2017.

Van Zoonen, L. (1998) ‘A Professional, Unreliable, Heroic Marionette (M/F): Structure, Agency and Subjectivity in Contemporary Journalisms’, European Journal of Cultural Studies 1(1): 123–43.

von Hippel, E. (2005). Democratizing Innovation (Vol. 1st): MIT Press Cambridge, MA. London, UK.

Wardle, C., Dubberley, S., and Brown, PD. (2014) Amateur footage: A global study of user-generated content. Tow Center for Digital Journalism. New York: Columbia School of Journalism.

Zott, C., Amit, R., & Massa, L. (2011). The business model: recent developments and future research. Journal of management, 37(4), 1019-1042.

Whittington, R. (2001). What is strategy-and does it matter?: Cengage Learning EMEA.



opyright (c) 2014-2020 Simon Fraser University * Copyright (c) 2003-2020 John Willinsky * Distributed under the GNU GPL v3. For full terms see the file docs/COPYING. * * @brief Common site frontend footer. * * @uses $isFullWidth bool Should this page be displayed without sidebars? This * represents a page-level override, and doesn't indicate whether or not * sidebars have been configured for thesite. *}