After being chosen to serve as managing editor of Reese Felts Digital News Project next year, junior Alex Barinka is ready to get down to business.
Barinka said she plans to implement different revenue models for the organization, which is looking to decrease reliance on its $4.1 million startup grant.
“One of the things I like about Alex is that she brings the business side to the position,” said John Clark, executive producer of Reese News.
Reese News is a digital news publication in the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication that alumnus Reese Felts established with a posthumous donation.
The news publication employs about 20 paid staff in addition to unpaid freelance writers, Barinka said.
The grant money should last the organization, which has existed for less than two years, at least four more, Clark said.
But the leadership is looking to find sources of revenue for the future.
Clark said news organizations have traditionally gained revenue by selling ads. But this strategy might not be the best option for a multimedia organization such as Reese News, he said.
“I don’t really think that’s sustainable for much of anybody.”
Barinka said part of her role as managing editor will be looking at finances.
“We probably will not be looking at the traditional subscription or ad,” Barinka said.
Barinka, who is majoring in business reporting, spent last summer working as an intern at Bloomberg News in New York City.
Barinka has worked for Reese News for the past three semesters and served as content manager one of those semesters.
When she serves as managing editor, Barinka will be in charge of managing the budget, connecting with the journalism school and making decisions about content, current managing editor Eliza Kern said.
Barinka said she hopes to present news in a more interesting way through innovative use of three types of media: photos, audio and video.
“I love the experimental aspect of Reese,” Barinka said.
“I feel a connection because I’ve been here basically since it started.”
Kern said she is convinced that Barinka will take Reese News in a positive direction next year. She said she has been impressed by Barinka’s initiative, illustrated when she taught herself how to live-stream events.
“She is the most enthusiastic person I have ever encountered,” Kern said. “Her drive and determination are very unusual for someone our age.”
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