Journalism and the (Inexistent) Magic Bullet Business Model

Alberto Puliafito
6 min readJul 4, 2019
June 30, 2019. New York, several minutes before the Pride March.

Follow the money.
Sometimes it’s the best way to understand what’s happening since the money has a so huge role and importance in our society.

Follow the money is, of course, a good prescription for journalists.

It’s also a famous line spoken by Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook) in the film All the President’s Men. The actual Deep Throat — the film is based on the true story of about the Watergate scandal — apparently never said exactly that sentence. But it’s perfect for a movie.

Follow the money is a prescription I wrote in one of Slow Journalism’s chapter I personally wrote. I used it to understand what happened in journalism landscape from the beginning of the so-called digital revolution in the last 20 years (at least in western countries).

The simpler version of a long story is: newspapers are struggling against a deep crisis. The old business model has gone with the oligopoly of production and distribution of news.
The old business money means:

  • selling of hardcopies
  • subscriptions
  • advertising
  • other revenue streams (announcements, obituaries, judicial auction publications)



Alberto Puliafito

Slow News Editor-in-Chief. My nickname is Malaparte. I resist against state of emergency. Formerly Blogo. Director, SEO, communication strategist.