HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Opening up the archives: JSTOR wants to tie a library to the news
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Dec. 19, 2012, 1:01 a.m.

Journalism schools as startup accelerators

“The opportunities are wide open for connecting silos of information in communities, amplifying good stories that people want to know about and for leveraging resources so that the sum of the efforts is bigger than the individual contributions.”

Disruptive-innovation guru Clay Christensen exhorts news organizations to focus on the “jobs to be done” in their communities. Help people do them and revenue opportunities will follow. (Especially when consumers didn’t realize they needed those jobs to be done.)

The winners in 2013 will be entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs whose mission is to help get those jobs done: creative individuals who see a gap and fill it, define a niche and commoditize it, re-imagine information and deliver it in smart, new ways — ways that are increasingly easier to monetize than erecting paywalls.

While many legacy news organizations continue to focus on “making money” as their paramount job to be done (a focus on themselves instead of their consumers), media entrepreneurs are stealing bases and hitting home runs all around them. That will continue in force this year.

Media entrepreneurship is happening in a couple ways. Front-end media entrepreneurs are creating news content — from comics-journalism apps and digital voter guides to state watchdog initiatives. Back-end entrepreneurs are building mobile apps, scraping data, and automating tasks. The creativity — believe me, I just helped judge the SXSW News Technology Accelerator entries — is simply breathtaking.

I also just finished teaching the inaugural cohort group in American University’s MA in Media Entrepreneurship program. Nine sharp students had nine great projects — any of which could have been triples for traditional journalism organizations.

In addition to clever ideas for news products and news delivery systems, we will see more creative ideas for journalism collaborations. The opportunities are wide open for connecting silos of information in communities, amplifying good stories that people want to know about and for leveraging resources so that the sum of the efforts is bigger than the individual contributions. They can be metro collaborations, such as the new video-sharing agreement between The Boston Globe and WBZ, or mainstream media organizations working with indie news sites, as is happening with The Seattle Times and The Oregonian in Portland. Someone will crack the nut on revenue sharing.

Journalism schools, such as CUNY, Arizona State, American, and others, will continue to innovate with programs to help both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs build the skills, mindsets, and networks to make their media ideas happen. Welcome to the year of j-schools as start-up accelerators.

The winners this year will be those who see the opportunities right under their noses and act on them.

Jan Schaffer, is executive director of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism at the American University School of Communication. Previously, she was business editor and a Pulitzer Prize winner at The Philadelphia Inquirer.
POSTED     Dec. 19, 2012, 1:01 a.m.
PART OF A SERIES     Predictions for Journalism 2013
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Opening up the archives: JSTOR wants to tie a library to the news
Its new site JSTOR Daily highlights interesting research and offers background and context on current events.
Six fresh ideas for news design from a #SNDMakes designathon
New media and legacy media came together at the second weekend-long “hackathon” hosted by the Society for News Design.
Where you get your news depends on where you stand on the issues
A new study by the Pew Research Center examines how Americans’ news consumption habits correlate with where they fall on the political spectrum.
What to read next
1020
tweets
The newsonomics of the millennial moment
The new wave of news startups is aiming at a younger audience. But do legacy media companies have a chance at earning their attention?
803A mixed bag on apps: What The New York Times learned with NYT Opinion and NYT Now
The two apps were part of the paper’s plan to increase digital subscribers through smaller, targeted offerings. Now, with staff cutbacks on the way, one app is being shuttered and the other is being adjusted.
537Watching what happens: The New York Times is making a front-page bet on real-time aggregation
A new homepage feature called “Watching” offers readers a feed of headlines, tweets, and multimedia from around the web.
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Baristanet
New England Center for Investigative Reporting
National Journal
Examiner.com
Demand Media
The Boston Globe
Outside.in
Foreign Policy
EveryBlock
Medium
The Nation
USA Today