Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

A wealth of journalism inspiration from New York

Posted in Ideas for the future of news, Journalism by Adam Westbrook on December 11, 2009

I’m sure most readers of this blog also follow US new media giant Jeff Jarvis’ blog over at Buzz Machine.

Jeff was telling us the future of journalism is entrepreneurial before anyone had really considered it and Buzz Machine is a hive of interesting writing. Today Jeff posted the results of an Entrepreneurial Journalism class where his CUNY students have been pitching their own business ideas.

For obvious reasons he’s not giving much away, but what he did reveal about the pitches that won some development cash (and those that didn’t) offers some excellent inspiration and ideas to the rest of us:

The four ideas that won some money from the McCormick Foundation are (emphasis mine)

  • a platform for news assignments
  • a mobile sports application
  • a creative, algorithmic answer to filter failure
  • and ClosetTour a new media site dedicated to fashion

And those that didn’t:

  • a specialised womens travel service
  • a specialised local real estate (property) service
  • a cool food idea
  • 2 business-to-business ideas
  • a hyperlocal idea
  • a service for NGOs
  • a commercial service for NGOs

What’s great is the huge variety of ideas – covering news, fashion, food, sport. What’s more as Jeff notes:

A few were built around the need not just to create content but to curate it. Most are highly targeted. Some saw the potential in specialised local services. Some saw the need to go mobile to service the public. Some are international. Some are multimedia. A few saw the need to make news fun, others to make news useful.

And Jeff stressed the need for every business to cut a profit in order to survive. We must be capitalist about it now.

Anyone outside of CUNY or the US should read this and take inspiration. Although Jeff’s descriptions are necessarily vague, use them to fuel your own ideas and thoughts for entrepreneurial models. Think about the importance of serving a market, having a niche, finding a gap in the market – and being able to sum up your business in an elevator pitch.

Earlier today a friend showed me plans for an exciting news business in the North of  England, which I can’t  say anything about at the moment. But all this adds strength to my conviction that, if 2009 was the year of “great media collapse” then 2010 will be the year it rises from the ashes.

One Response

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  1. gfsnell3 said, on December 11, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Hi Adam:
    Thanks for the link. I hope you’re right about 2010. I’m not as optimistic. The ad dollars are leaving print in droves and that will continue in 2010 – if not accelerate. So while I don’t see a recovery in 2010 – I do think mainstream media outlets need to make it a year of innovation.


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