Teaching Entrepreneurial Journalism

Thinking about j-school? This video is a good example of what the more progressive programs are beginning to teach.

Here, CUNY Professor CW Anderson tells us about his Entrepreneurial Journalism course, where his students study new (and theoretical) business models, meet industry people, and then pitch then their own “journalism business." The first class was a mixed bunch, he told us, just like any handful of people would be – some were excited by the challenge, others found it off-putting. But almost all of them, he said, had to grapple with the realization that getting a job at a daily might not be the best out-of-college move anymore.

For more from Chris, see these FJP videos and look for his book, Networking the News: The Struggle to Rebuild Metropolitan Journalism, 1997-2011 later this year from Temple University Press.

It just occurred to me that some may not know what I mean when I use the term “Indian Country."  So, here’s a short definition:

Any area inhabited by Indigenous people.  (In the United States, Canada, and beyond.)  Historically, the phrase Indian Country referred to areas, regions, or territories (like reservations and trust lands) that were inhabited primarily by Native Americans. 

I find myself (and others) using the phrase in a way that unites all Indigenous people, not just Native Americans in the U.S.  In other words, "Indian Country” is not really a fixed, physical location, but exists wherever Natives are present.

Journalism Interactive: The CEO panel

Journalism isn’t just about storytelling, sourcing, shooting photos, etc. - it’s also about entrepreneuralism. With that in mind, four leaders of companies with journalism roots spoke to the Journalism Interactive crowd Saturday.

The panelists were Warren Webster, the president of AOL’s Patch, Evan Ratliff, founder and editor of The Atavist, Burt Herman, CEO and co-founder of Storify and Edouard Lambelet, the co-founder of paper.li.

Patch has taken hyperlocal journalism to cities all across the country, The Atavist creates long-form nonfiction (longer than a magazine but shorter than a book)  and licenses the content out. The Atavist also has an iPad app to publish the content with rich media. Storify gathers social content to be packaged on websites and paper.li lets anyone set up an online “newspaper” using social media curation.

Robert Hernandez, a journalism professor at USC and co-founder of #wjchat, moderated the panel.

Hernandez asked how their backgrounds helped and hurt their positions as entreprenuers.

Lambelet: “My problem is that I don’t have any background (in journalism). This has helped me a lot.” He said he’s “not a techie” and had worked in the opera business, among other things. He said this has helped him because he is open-minded, and he sees his products from the point-of-view of a consumer of content.

Herman (a former foreign correspondent for AP): “My experience was dropping into Afghanistan after Sept. 11,” he said. “That kind of training is great for being able to adapt quickly, learn quickly.” He said journalism is good for “simplifying things for a big audience.” He said it hurt him in that he had “immediate satisfaction” as a reporter - his byline showed up right away. Development is not like that. “It takes a while, and there isn’t a set process.” He said the world of a startup takes time, and you have to be patient.

Ratliff (a former freelance writer): “Being a freelance writer is like running a business,” he said. “In one sense, that is entrepreneurial, and that was helpful.” He said people have asked him “why are you bothering to sell content, why don’t you sell this …” but being a content producer, he knew what was important and worth doing. He said not having an entrepreneurial background did hurt him when it comes to understanding finances and running a business.

Webster: (a former publisher with Gannett): “I started seeing a big disconnect between people who are creating the content and the business of journalism.” He said that you don’t have to take everything as gospel. He said it’s easy to get stuck into believing that things are always done a certain way.

Hernandez pointed out that there were no females on the panel, and he asked them what they want to see to get more diversity in entrepreneurial journalism.

Warren, of AOL’s Patch.com, mentioned some entrepreneurs he looks up to, and didn’t name Arianna Huffington (someone in the audience pointed it out). With a laugh, Warren said, “If you’re watching, Arianna, you’re doing a great job.”

Ratliff says his company hasn’t published any female writers, and he wants to change that.

Herman said diversity is a problem in the tech community. “It starts with education,” he said. “People in the Bay Area are dying to hire anybody” when it comes to computer engineers. “Those people go on to start companies, but it has to start with education.”

Lambelet called one of his employees “a girl,” which drew snickers from the crowd. “I’d love to have more girls on the team,” he said. Hernandez pointed out that English is not Lambelet’s first language (it’s French), and reminded him that we call them “women.” “Women, of course!” Lambelet said.

Warren said every time he goes up into his engineering room, he would say “this is why no woman would want to work here. It’s kinda gross.”

An audience member asked the panel what they wished they had learned in journalism school. Warren said management and entrepreneurial journalism, and he wished he were a little more tech savvy. 

“Sometimes you have to be happy in your own ignorance and go out and start something crazy,” Warren said.

Herman said the “sacred wall” between journalism and business sides hurts innovation. “I would have liked to know how the business side worked.” He said “not every journalist has to be a rock-star programmer,” but journalists do need to “speak the language.”

An audience member asked whether editing is going by the wayside because of curation. Herman said they’re really the same thing, and he dislikes the buzz word “curation” because it implies it is something new when in fact editors have done this type of work for a long time.

Hernandez asked about information required from users. 

Warren said: “Patch doesn’t ask for a lot of information form users.” He said over time, they’ll use user data to target content to users, but at this time they aren’t fragmenting the content.

Asked what they see in the future:

Warren: “I think we will have shaken out all of the noise. The good companies that are dealing with journalism will make access to journalism easier.” He said people will realize that you need humans to help you sift through all the information. “The method for getting information to you will become much more easy as we figure out how best to use mobile devices.”

Ratliff: “In terms of long narrative journalism, I think there has been a revival of that. What I see is that the large organizations will continue doing it, and the smaller outfits like us” will continue to progress. “Individual authors will pursue their own ventures.”

Herman: He said the distinction of what makes a media company will continue to blur. “Is Apple a media company?” he asked, also pointing out that YouTube could be considered a media company. He said the trend will be more and more individual brands.

Lambelet: “One major new thing is the interaction between journalists” and his or her audience. He pointed out that the Huffington Post expects its journalists to not just be writers but also community managers. “The relationship between the journalist and the readers will evolve.”

- Robert Quigley

Class 2: A-Ha!

Let’s play a game.

[This is the phase of the class where we’re brainstorming our business ideas. We spend half of class learning how to research market data. We talk about our pitches and the other students rip them to shreds (but in a nice way). We’ve got to start learning how to think beyond just content production, Jeff argues. So for an hour we sit down in groups and free-associate startups.]

Here are the rules of A-Ha:

You have color-coded cards. Some are information processes (X). Some are computing technologies (Y). Some are consumer needs or consumer values (Z). Take one from each pile. Create a product that does X using Y in service of Z. You have five minutes.

“Think wildly,” he added.

Well, we did.

Here’s our class’ ideas—haphazardly brainstormed, named, and input. (My group was group #3, and I have to say, I think our product-naming skills were in top form.)

It was a card game, yes. But it really made me think. In tech and in entrepreneurship there is a very high bar already in place. Google and Facebook and The New York Times all already exist. Creating something new in that environment is nervewracking. The stakes are high and this is a world of savvy, literate experts who have rules, guidelines, ideas, criticisms, best practices, and worst-case scenarios for you to think about as you’re trying to start a new. I’m all for media discourse and making successful companies, but sometimes it’s incredibly valuable to shut the door, limit your time, and play with the concepts at hand. (Maria Popova would approve. So would Austin Kleon.)

I was surprised by how many information processing ideas I’d never even considered before. I’d given some thought to new technologies—ooh, wearable computing!—and a lot of thought to journalistic needs—truth, for example, or impartiality. But I had not given a lot of thought to a process like “summarization” or a computational value like “currency.” In part this is because information processing is not just limited to computers—we do it, too. We’ve been doing it forever. For a journalist, it’s an inherent process, built on experience. It had never occurred to me to break that all down, to associating, adaptability, reliability, enriching.

[Here’s the list of all the cards in the deck. It’s a pdf.]

There was a good reason for playing this game early in the class. As I said above, we’re all working on our business pitches. So far they’ve all sounded something like this: Let’s make a website. An app. A daily email. This is what we’re comfortable with, something that sits easily in our hardware and software, that has sort-of adapted to what we used to see in print. The game gave us a few very concrete parameters—and then constrained us to coming up with a product in five minutes. A wearable computing device that utilizes information currency to serve the public good. Go!

[The best part about that combination: It turns out the simplest answer is… a watch. It could be like this kind of watch. But actually this kind of watch also fits the bill.]

When we were done we looked at a chart of all of the cards in the deck, compared to each other. Given the technologies and processes available to us, we are not nearly exploring the breadth of possible innovations in journalism.

Source: “Cultivating the Landscape of Innovation in Computational Journalism,” Nicholas Diakopolous. Link to pdf (with larger image of chart) here.

As fun as the game was I don’t know how I’m going to use it yet. I know, I just played this game about thinking outside the box! I should be way more confident about how I can apply those ideas to my pitch! But as easy as thinking outside the box sounds, it's really hard. It was a lesson that I could think outside the box in the abstract, for business pitches that probably will never come to light. But for a bigger project that is important to me? My experience is in the box. How do I translate what I already know to a product that answers a need?

Media Strategy Internship

Interested in food, tech, media, and startups?

Food+Tech Connect is looking for a media strategy intern to help us build the food tech community and market new services.

The ideal candidate should have an interest in entrepreneurial journalism and be passionate about food and tech. This is a great opportunity to learn first-hand about the growing food and tech industry, connect with the movements top innovators, and develop your portfolio.

About Food+Tech Connect:

Food+Tech Connect is an information company that connects innovators at the intersection of food and information technology. Through in-depth interviews, events, and consulting, we build community for innovators  leveraging information technology to address food system challenges.

Our events have connected over 1,200 changemakers at the intersection of food and information technology, including executives from IBM, Food52, Foodspotting, Foursquare, Nike, O’Reilly Media, The New York Times, TechCrunch, Kauffman Labs and more.


  • Assist in developing and executing PR & Marketing strategy, particular focus on how this relates to content strategy
  • Help establish social media engagement metrics
  • SEO optimization
  • Developing effective strategies/services to enhance our brand’s growth and market presence
  • Random projects that are bound to come up – we can also work with you to tailor projects based on your interests and what you’d like to learn
  • If interested, you will also have an opportunity to conduct in-depth interviews and become a regular contributor
What’s in it for you:
  • Opportunities to participate in and network at offline events
  • Access to a network of hundreds of food tech entrepreneurs, technologists, researchers, investors, media
  • First hand experience with an up and coming startup
  • Great resume builder
  • Potential for internship to permanent position as the organization grows
Our ideal candidate has/is :
  • A desire to help build the food tech community
  • A background in marketing, communication, digital media, journalism
  • Photoshop, HTML, & Final Cut Pro experience (preferred)
  • Strong communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Excellent online research skills
  • Organized and self-motivated
  • Understanding of social media and actively participates in it (send us links to your website, blog, twitter, facebook, forum posts or other services you use)
This internship is unpaid, but a travel stipend will be provided. We are seeking a minimum commitment of 24 hours per week. Please send cover letter and resume to danielle@foodtechconnect.com.

Original Article

Restless? Frustrated? Start your own digital publication

This interview was originally published in the magazine Periodistas (Journalists), a publication of the Federation of Journalist Associations of Spain (FAPE), and is translated here. La versión en español se encuentra aquí.

By Marta Molina, Editor, Periodistas

James Breiner is, along with guru Jeff Jarvis, one of the most consulted U.S. experts on new digital media. A tireless promoter of entrepreneurial journalism and new business models, he maintains that the days of the big media monopolies have come to an end.

Q. Why should someone launch a new media project just when the industry is falling apart?

A. Journalists complain that they have lost control of their work to the business interests of the publishers. They would like to make decisions more and take orders less. This is actually the best time to act. The weakness of big media creates opportunities for upstarts. Big media are abandoning entire categories of coverage that readers appreciate, and new media can take advantage of that to fill the gaps. It’s possible now to launch a digital publication with a small investment. Generating revenue is tricky, but the opportunities are there. There are some who get started in their free time while they have a steady income. If you should find yourself unemployed, take advantage of the time to develop the project you always dreamed about.

Keep reading

The Curious Case of Maria Sanchez

by Kuang Keng Kuek Ser

A strong sense of curiosity in a wide range of fields have made journalism a perfect career choice for Maria Sanchez.

If I study biology, I would only focus on science, but if I become a journalist, I could write about science and politics and others. It is a profession that involves a little bit of everything.

Born and grew up in Madrid, Spain, Maria however started her journalism career in Mexico. After graduated from a journalism program in University Carlos III of Madrid, she was awarded an unexpected fellowship to intern at El Mundo de Tehuacán, a newspaper based in Puebla, Mexico.

She was immediately fascinated by “the political situation, corruption, poverty and inequality” in Mexico and realized that being a journalist can really make a difference to a society. There Maria also understood that stories written in Spanish can have a wide reach and impact in a long list of Latin American countries.

Following the short stint at El Mundo de Tehuacán, Maria returned home and joined Soitu.es as a reporter, helping the Spanish news startup to win the ONA excellence award, twice. The news website pioneered several bold innovations which Maria described as “ahead of its time” such as allowing journalists and communities to curate content on the website. It was also where Maria acquired all the valuable skills on multimedia storytelling, social media, live blogging and collaborative journalism.

Unfortunately, the startup was forced to fold up when Spain was hit hard by the 2008 global financial which led to a media advertising crisis. Taking a break, Maria, who was once a guitarist in a post-rock band, embarked on a three-month road trip travelling the US, from New York to Los Angeles, Seattle to New Orleans, to investigate the roots of American music. The journey and findings were later published as a blog called ‘Motel Americana’ in El País, Spain’s largest newspaper.

She then worked as a social media consultant and strategist for a company that produces cultural publications, managed an online shorts documentary festival called Notodofilmfest, and later assumed the position of digital editor-in-chief of Condé Nast Traveler based in Madrid. After successfully launching digital versions of the travel magazine, she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship by the US government to pursue a masters degree in CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, followed by the Tow-Knight Center fellowship in entrepreneurial journalism.

I want to learn how media do things in the U.S. in order to apply to future projects. I learnt my lesson (from Soitu.es), I don’t want that to happen again.

I want to make sure high quality journalism is sustainable not just in big companies.


How’s our innovation agility workshop going? We’ve got the basics – brainstorming sessions, posters, colorful markers – but we’ve also got fun and games. Check out this brief video and discover how innovation might include more improv than you think! 


The last several classes in Entrepreneurial Journalism have been each of us, individually, talking about our projects. We have role-played doing an elevator pitch, introducing ourselves to a customer, and presenting our products to investors. It’s weird because some classes I think that my product is utterly ridiculous, and other classes I’m totally convinced of how awesome it’s going to be.

The most valuable thing I’ve learned from this class so far is that there are no right answers. I wasn’t expecting that from a classroom setting, but of course, it makes perfect sense. It’s not just that there is not a perfect formula to create a business; it’s also that there are so many good business models out there, and so many possible paths of success.

This came up when the professors said that they’d offered suggestions on our business models, but ultimately, not only might we disagree with them, but they also might disagree with each other. The point is not to create the business plan that someone else approves of, but instead to create a method that you can work through and fall back on as you pursue projects in your life.

With that in mind, the fact that we’ve focused on our methods and we’ve gotten so many contrasting perspectives on business values from speakers and lecturers makes a lot of sense. It’s a weird experience, to try to make business-feasible an idea that is both awesome and half-baked.

But the skills necessary to sell, promote, or flesh out an idea are a totally separate and learnable set of skills. So as much as I might be failing with a business plan for my current project (and I believe that I am failing), I think I am learning how to discuss a possible business plan — what I ought to be looking for, worried about, or researching about. I found myself walking through our business plan steps when listening to a friend’s business idea, and that is probably a great deal of what this class wants to accomplish — make journalists think like entrepreneurs!

Also, this class has finally inspired me to get business cards. That is a victory, right?

Being a Woman of Color and an Entrepreneur Ain't Easy!

I attended last week’s New York Tech Meetup and had a really great time!  I had been told it was a successful meetup group and that the theater it was being held in would be full, but I had no idea it would be as packed as it was!

I felt the presentations of the various startups were fascinating and inspiring, the after party/social hour was great for networking, and the mix of business ideas made things really interesting.  However, I will say that I couldn’t help but notice that men, white men (to be more accurate) were represented in much greater numbers than any other group.  While I know I shouldn’t find this surprising, I was a bit disheartened by some things that went on…things that I’m sure many of these budding entrepreneurs weren’t even cognizant of (as is the case when we aren’t aware of our own internalized biases - ie: racism/sexism/prejudice/etc.) - like this guy.

Case in point:

During a break between presentations, the MC instructed everyone in the room to turn to someone they didn’t know and introduce themselves and explain what they’re working on.  I happened to be surrounded by white men who all turned in opposite directions from me and didn’t even return my hello or offer a half smile, let alone introduce them self and describe their startup!  “O…kay,” I thought to myself, “that’s odd…"  So, I decided to check some e-mails on my iPhone and wait until the next presenter came on stage.

While I’m sure (or at least hope!) that this was some kind of fluke…heck, maybe I looked like I was in a bad mood?…I was still left with a mixture of feelings. 

1. What’s a woman of color like me doing in entrepreneurship?  (Will people really take me seriously?)

2. This is exactly why there needs to be support for minority entrepreneurs (damnit)!

3. The EJ program has done an awesome job of bringing together a very diverse and talented group of innovative entrepreneurs…so we NEED to talk diversity + tech…NOW!

4. How can I leverage my "difference” and use it to stand out?

5. If entrepreneurial journalism startups are all run by white men, who’s going to tell our stories?!  Minorities will definitely be left in the dark (as usual)!

It took me a while to process that evening, as it was a mix of both good and heavy (not so good) thoughts/feelings.  Whether or not the men near me realized they basically ignored me, feeling rejected in the EJ community stirred up something I didn’t realize was there.  Hopefully we can begin talking about how our identities and varied background come into play in entrepreneurship…especially here in the US. :)

Interview with Tow-Knight fellow Keng: Part I

kuangkeng: Hi Keng, can you share with us how you end up as a fellow at Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism?

Keng: Sure. During my final semester in NYU’s Studio 20 graduate program, I partnered with Foreign Policy to develop a training program for its journalists to integrate data journalism into their daily reporting. At the end of the semester, Studio 20 organized this event where students took turn to present their project to NYC journalism community. It was there that Tow-Knight Center Education Director Jeremy Caplan saw my presentation and approached me to join the 4-month fellowship. I always wanted to understand the business side of media. I see it as a must-have skill if I want to transform myself from a journalist to a media innovator or entrepreneur. So I said yes to him.

kuangkeng: How different is the business side from the journalistic side?

Keng: First, I don’t think it is in the best interest of a publisher to draw a fine line between journalism and business. As Jay Rosen, my professor at Studio 20, said in his recent blog post, how can journalists make a good product, which can be either content or service or both, if they don’t understand how their colleagues are selling the product? This becomes more crucial when the traditional media business model that relies completely on advertisement is falling apart. Without advertisement to subsidize the journalism, publishers are struggling to figure out different models to monetize their journalistic products. It makes total sense for people who make the products to be a part of this struggle, right?

I guess the biggest difference between those two is the position of users in their product thinking. Journalists used to see the product as what they think is worth publishing, or in their language “agenda setting”, but entrepreneurs see it as what the users really want. In other words, they are more “user-centric”. The idea of putting users at the center, and delivering what they want through the channels they prefer, really struck me. 

When I was a reporter with Malaysiakini, my colleagues and I liked to say "we are serving the people”. But looking back, did we ever interact with our users to understand what they want, who are they, and why they read our stories? Did we ever collect their data and analyze it although we have the ability to do so? Not really. We were obsessed with metrics like the numbers of share and like, but we don’t see them as real human being. 

The concept of user-centric has started to grow on me when I was in Studio 20. The fellowship however illustrates the concept in a more concrete way - how other entrepreneurs put the concept to work, and practical techniques to approach users and carry out user testing.

kuangkeng: You sound like you have learned quite a lot from the fellowship although you are only in the fourth week. Maybe give us a summary of your takeaways?

Keng: Definitely. The best thing about such a fellowship is that it creates an environment for you to really geek out on the thing you want to build. You are surrounded with people who are equally passionate about their projects, great gurus who are sincere to transfer their knowledge, and real entrepreneurs who share their experience and ready to answer your doubts. Of course there’s information overload and you need to grasp many business terms and concepts in a very short time, but I enjoy it very much.

In the past 3 weeks, not only I was thinking hard about my own project, DataN, I was also wrapping my head around all the challenges faced by Malaysiakini. As I have spent 8 years with Malaysiakini, it serves as a good study case for me to think about how the recommendations and best practices shared by the speakers and gurus can be applied. While I’m training myself to be an entrepreneur, I guess I’m also preparing myself to be an intrapreneur.

DataN - Big Data, Small Newsroom (by NYU’s Studio 20) from Kuang Keng Kuek Ser on Vimeo.

kuangkeng: Great, but I don’t think you have answered my question. 

Keng: Oh, right. Sorry about that. Well, I find many of the systematic approaches to problem-solving very helpful such as the project management framework provided by Jeff Mignon and Nancy Wang of Revsquare, as well as the business model canvas and Lean Business Model Canvas given by Jeremy. They provided me a framework to think through many issues around my project. If you really sit down and fill up the canvas carefully, it forces you to think really hard about all the details that you previously overlooked or avoided.

Other related events that I attended in the past one month, although not directly related to my project, exposed me to many provoking ideas. Many of those can be experimented in Malaysiakini to innovate the ways stories are told.

I still remember the short presentation by futurist Amy Webb during the IWMF’s Cracking the Code conference. She explored different ways to deliver news to user’s smartphone based on location, time, routine and activities of the user. That’s totally doable and very very cool.

Another thing that struck me was her view on the word “scale”

Scale doesn’t imply impact or attention. It implies “bigness.” What real good is that? #Code15

— Amy Webb (@webbmedia)

January 29, 2015

That makes a lot of sense on my project because DataN is more like a consultancy service, and my focus is not on scaling to become another multi-million startup but how to create value and impact for my clients. The number of clients that I can serve might be small but done properly it could lead to significant impact in the regions where the clients are operating.

During my time in Studio 20, I have been exposed to many ideas and concepts raised by Jeff Jarvis, but still he helped to refresh them. 

kuangkeng: Last question, can you update us the progress of DataN? 

Keng: There was some progress made in the past one month, but everything is still in a very early stage. I’m talking to a media VC which is interested to use DataN with 2 of their clients which are news outlet in eastern Europe. I also scheduled a training with Malaysiakini in early March. In the coming month, I need to prepare the training modules and tools customization and integration for Malaysiakini. 

I have more or less built a hypothesis for my business model, so the next step will be recruiting potential users, in this case small newsrooms in developing regions, and interview them to validate my hypothesis.


And BAM, this is my pitch for class today. This was the “dress rehearsal”; our final presentations will be next week. I think I did a pretty good job! Here’s a rundown of my critiques from our rehearsal panel:

- Who’s your audience? What’s your use-case? That should be front-and-center!
- Take notes during questions. Panelists like that.
- “Sonia, we will make a capitalist of you yet.”
- What is the end result of CATCALLED? It seemed to have no goal. What’s the reason for coming to the site and then sharing it? Outcomes-based journalism is fine, but what’s the outcome?
- Not every startup has to last for years—this is an opportunity to frame this project as a defined entity with beginning and end. It could be a template for other issues, or a set of resources and stories and that’s that.

DIY Journalism: How some students’ great ideas are evolving with the new age of journalism

This post was a contribution to now-defunct web project Writer 2.0, created and edited by Pagan Kennedy.

The City University of New York isn’t the first school to offer courses based on the changing landscape of journalism. A couple of years ago, though, its Graduate School of Journalism became the first to award student journalists with actual seed money from the McCormick Foundation to establish businesses based on ideas they pitched for their entrepreneurial journalism class. The instructor, Jeff Jarvis, detailed the results of the third year of the course in a lengthy BuzzMachine blog post last December. The students who developed the four best business plans received a total of $57,000 in grant money.

“It’s important for journalists to understand how to sustain the business of news," he told Mark Glaser of PBS’s MediaShift after teaching the course for the first time.

“We must give journalists an understanding of business so they can make good decisions as journalists and managers, so they can work independently (as more and more of them will), and so they can sustain journalism.”

Rather than starting at straightforward reporting gigs at local newspapers and moving up from there, journalism students are finding the points of entry to be endlessly varied and, in many cases, untested. Blogs and podcasts seem perfect for them, but how do they create moneymaking ventures using such outlets?

Keep reading

Journalism profs need to embrace new technology

The dilemma for journalism schools dealing with rapid technological change is to decide whether what they are teaching today will be relevant a few years from now. Many of the social media tools that are transforming journalism and society did not even exist just five years ago, said Mark Briggs, author of “Entrepreneurial Journalism." 

"What should journalism schools be teaching five years from now?” he asked during a lecture to students and faculty at Tsinghua University Dec. 14. It is hard to predict, he admitted. His last three jobs – managing websites for newspapers and a TV station – did not exist when he was in journalism school. How can we prepare students today for jobs that do not yet exist?

In an environment of rapid technological change, he says, journalism educators need to do at least four things:

Keep reading

Donation Exploration: Helping Those in Need

Entrepreneurial journalism is a growing trend among journalist worldwide. Many have created their own businesses around news, special hobbies, and other markets. If I were to create my own, I would create one that was a nonprofit business. Donation Exploration: Helping Those in Need would connect people in a community who need extra help to those willing to help out. I believe local journalism can inspire people to help their community members in need.

Donation Exploration would have its own website with a weekly updated blog telling stories of children, families, and singles who could use an extended hand. News stories could include children who are not getting enough food at home but new school backpack programs are sending children home with extra food so they don’t go hungry. Or homeless shelters raising money before winter to add more heat lamps and add on additional sleeping quarters. And include numerous stories about local food pantries, soup kitchens, and ways the Salvation Army has improved communities. In addition to the blog, there would also be a Facebook and Twitter page people can access over laptops, smartphones, and tablets to keep informed on ways to donated, volunteer, or share their own personal stories.

The target audience would be people who are willing to help in any way or the ones who would benefit from Donation Exploration. Donation Exploration would have designated places for people to donate/receive food, clothing, and shelter. By the use of the media, we could create detailed reports of specific items that are desperately needed. Donation Exploration would accept donations via PayPal because you don’t necessarily have to be a PayPal member, you can donate if you have a credit card. The nonprofit organization would also accept debit or cash donations located at the main office located in Quincy, Illinois. Donation Exploration would also reach out to larger companies such as the Campbell Soup Company to sponsor a local soup kitchen. Poynter had an article with great advice, “The advantages of a nonprofit are tax exemption and the ability to accept grants from foundations, while also allowing individuals to make tax-exempt donations.” Poynter also created an entire article dedicated to resources that nonprofit organizations can use such as the Nonprofit Journalism Hub.

Donation Exploration is based in Quincy, Illinois, near my hometown. Quincy qualifies as a smaller market area and I would prefer to create nonprofit business in smaller areas. I feel that larger cities like Chicago or New York consume most public/government donations. Creating awareness that people who are your neighbors are going hungry or children in your community are going without a winter coat will inspire others to donate locally. When hiring, I would look for not only genuinely caring people but also skills in journalism, web design, public speaking, and nonprofit business along with having a college degree. The main focus of Donation Exploration: Helping Those in Need would be to promote awareness through entrepreneurial journalism. Journalism has the power to change lives through creativity. 


Please visit my crowdfunding campaign for Rhetorical Consequences, which is a multimedia framework that entails commentaries on communication, culture, commerce, and crime for North Dakota and beyond. Please consider making a donation to this project in entrepreneurial journalism and sharing the link for the page for this endeavor. Thank you for your consideration!

Dr. Eric Grabowsky

Dickinson, North Dakota