API launches newspaper innovation initiative–spending $2MM on consultants’ fees?

The American Press Institute is spending $2 MM on a year-long project that is supposed to result in a white paper that will tell newspapers how to stay afloat instead of getting sold by share holder mandate. Only it seems like most of the funds will go toward paying for Harvard Business School guru Clayton Christensen’s company, I nnosight, , to do consulting work with project laders Stephen T. Gray, former managing publisher of The Christian Science Monitor and former chief executive officer and editor of The Monroe (Mich.) Evening News.
According to API, the project’s goals are:

  • Assess the threat to newspapers in the next decade, including emerging competition
  • Determine opportunities for newspapers, including implementation of available new technology
  • Suggest executable new business initiatives ? products, services and strategies ? with detailed rationales
  • Provide implementation guides for these business plans, addressing the management of change and risk.

Of course, seems like it might cost a lot less than $2MM if some of the folks on this team were just keeping up with blogs covering the space– Buzzmachine, Pomo Blog, Tim Porter, and this blog come to mind–or. if, as Rafat Ali said, they gave the money to some cool start-ups.
Rafat’s succinct two cents:
The viability of news gathering will have nothing to do with the future of newspapers, in the future…if API was really serious this, it would have invested that $2 million in some local sites or independent investigative journalism projects, instead of trying to get a bunch of 45-year olds (even though the list is impressive) from old big media companies together and come out with a report…(snip)… If you want news gathering in the future to flourish, stop talking and pondering about it..either do it yourself, or fund those who are.
Susan sez: I wonder why they didn’t just give the money to The Media Center–isn’t this exactly the kind of think tank they are? (Oh yeah, I forgot, they’re not at Harvard.)