Communications and Society Program

FOCAS 2009 Overview

NEW: The Report of the 2009 FOCAS is now available for download:

Of the PressOf the Press: Models for Transforming American Journalism details the insights and forward-thinking frameworks resulting from the 2009 Forum on Communications and Society (FOCAS) in which over 40 leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs addressed the crisis facing journalism, highlighted by recent closings and bankruptcies of numerous traditional news outlets. The report, written by the former executive editor of The Seattle Times Michael R. Fancher, examines the experimental business models, innovations and evolving philosophies that could be harnessed to preserve journalism as a critical instrument in American society.

Download Of the Press: Models for Transforming American Journalism

FOCAS presentations available for download
New Business Models for News: CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
 (Jeff Jarvis)
Paid Model Online: Why Now? (Gordon Crovitz)
Paying for digital news: The future or folly? (Steve Outing)
Market Overview: Online Content & Service Payment Models (Cynthia Typaldos)

The Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program, with Senior Sponsorship from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, presented FOCAS 2009 August 16-19 in Aspen, Colorado, on the theme Of the Press: Models for Preserving American Journalism.  The City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Journalism collaborated in the Forum, presenting working models for the specific ways to sustain enterprise journalism in the digital age. View the agenda and watch videos of the Forum at, courtesy of The Twitter hashtag for this event is #focas09.

This year the Forum included five plenary roundtable sessions:

•    American Journalism’s Relationship to Democracy
•    The Business Realities of Journalism, 2009
•    Journalistic Ecosystems for Large Communities
•    Models for Hyper-Local Approaches
•    New Online Payment Systems for Journalism

The roundtables explored ways to sustain the journalistic functions of the press essential to democratic governance through new models, practices and solutions, and identified new areas of research in the field.

FOCAS 2009 leaders and experts included:

Madeleine Albright, The Albright Group
Marcus Brauchli, The Washington Post
Gordon Crovitz, Journalism Online, LLC
Alberto Ibargüen, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Marissa Mayer, Google
Craig Newmark, craigslist
 Paul Sagan, Akamai
Vivian Schiller, National Public Radio
Stephen Shepard, City University of New York (CUNY)
Williams Dean Singleton, MediaNews Group, Inc.
Paul Steiger, ProPublica

View the full list of FOCAS 2009 participants.

Download the full agenda and watch full coverage of the Forum at