It had to happen sooner or later: Someone was going to create a company to help steer other companies as they try to find the digital news business model that works for them.
Experienced players Steven Brill, Gordon Crovitz and Leo Hindery Jr. all are names within their realms. Brill is best remembered for his ahead-of-its-time Web news aggregator, Crovitz is a former Wall Street Journal publisher, and Hindery Jr. has a cable and investment firm background.
They've formed Online Journalism LLC with an aim of helping businesses develop products and approaches to the thorny issue of monetizing online content. They're going to work on how to establish firewalls --- or how not to --- and develop some e-commerce applications in the process.
They're reportedly in discussions with several publishers, but not to consult, per se. They're developing products with them. They'll find it controversial sledding, mainly because they're pursuing a course of action heavily criticized --- the drive to re-create a firewall around what had been free content.