The Pitch: Citizen’s Economist

December, 2008

COMPANY: 
Citizen Economists

OWNER: 
Anthony Luafalealo

WEBSITE:
citizeneconomists.com

The Pitch:

CITIZEN ECONOMISTS IS AN ONLINE MAGAZINE FOR NONECONOMISTS. Ten regular contributing writers from across the nation generate articles, blogs and book reviews. Our writers, each with varying educational and professional backgrounds, provide economic analyses of the different industries they work in, such as healthcare, law, science, literature, finance and education. Additionally, we also analyze how worldeconomic events affect the choices people make; and consequently, how those choices affect the broader community — something many other publications fail to do. The magazine’s operational costs are about $2,000 per month.

Citizen Economists’ target audience is between the ages of 25 and 50 — a slightly wider and older demographic than that of our competitors — and from every industry. The magazine has two potential sources of income: advertising, which doubled from July to August, and syndication. In September, Citizen Economists was licensed to Newstex, which offers online content on demand from thousands of branded newswires, newspapers, magazines and official government feeds. The following month, it was syndicated by Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and the Sun-Times News Group. Citizen Economists, which is updated Monday through Friday, attracts about 6,000 readers a month.

The demand for bloggers and citizen journalists has never been greater. Recent world events have forced economics to the forefront of the public’s interest. In the past, citizen journalists have been able to provide online breaking news coverage even before the mainstream media.

Citizen Economists is currently focusing on expanding the site to make it fully participatory, allowing readers to submit their own stories, photos and videos. We are looking into loans, grants, and/or credit lines of at least $100,000 to accomplish this.

 

Expert Feedback:

Robert Robinson 
Chairman of the board, 
Hawaii Angels

This is an idea that may be very topical with the turmoil in the financial markets; people will have a heightened interest in economics that smart marketing can exploit. However, new publications fail even more often than restaurants, so a financial strategy is a must. A classic mistake that entrepreneurs in this field make is to focus on the content of the publication rather than the execution. Turning blogs into business — many will try, few will succeed.

Soren Burkhart
Managing director, Hawaii Business Consulting LLC

Citizen Economists faces a difficult situation.  To attract traffic, you need content that will impact readers.  To do that, you need consistent contributors that have the background to produce real content.  
Citizen Economists appears to be struggling with both issues.  The number of articles is limited and is produced by noneconomists.  With such a complex topic as the economy, would many people want to pay for or read barbershop-style economics? Only with a strong demonstration of actual revenue through advertising or subscriptions can you attract additional investment.

Joseph Boivin Jr.
Senior Associate, 
Booz Allen Hamilton

To date, the business model for thematic blogging has not been proven, so the long-term viability of the approach is a concern.  What should also be included in the pitch is: 1) How risks concerning content accuracy, legitimacy, trust and author exclusivity will be addressed; and 2) Citizen Economists’ competitive advantage and defense against new market entrants who have greater brand-name recognition, larger subscription bases and more resources. Addressing these issues should strengthen your overall approach.

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