Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

Let’s tackle the journalism business model head-on

Posted in Ideas for the future of news, Journalism by Adam Westbrook on June 7, 2010

The Future of News Meetup Groups I founded in London in November last year are still going strong, with more than 300 members and five spin off groups around the UK & Ireland.

They’ve become a really exciting environment for people to get together and debate the future of news – and crucially: discover the new concepts, business models and startups which will see journalism out of the quagmire.

To that end I’ve tweaked the standard meetup format this month and launched the Future of News Business Bootcamp. The first one is happening on the 22nd June and will explore ways of making money reporting the stories that matter – developing world and human rights journalism.

The bootcamp is totally different to any other conference or meetup because:

  • it will be free
  • there’ll be just 6 people attending – the ideal number for productive brainstorming
  • there will be no speakers or debates or Q&A
  • it will be just hardcore idea generation around a very specific problem
  • it’s happening in my flat!

If you’re in London on the 22nd of June and would like to take part here’s what you do:

  1. Join the London Future of News Meetup Group (it’s free)
  2. Email me through the website, explaining who you are and why you’d like to be there
  3. Include one idea of how the problem could be solved (it doesn’t have to be a good one)
  4. Do it by Friday 11th June

I’ll select the six most relevant people to attend and they’ll receive all the details. The bootcamps have been featured on Journalism.co.uk over the weekend – here’s me quoted in the article:

“The meet-ups have been running for about six months now and the group has more than 300 members so it’s been going really well. When I set it up I wanted it to be a forum for actual new ideas to emerge, rather than more talk about the future of journalism. The individual meet-ups have been great but I got the sense they’d reverted back to the speaker/Q&A format we see at all the other conferences. I thought of ways I could bring them back to the main mission of the group and realised smaller groups are often better for brainstorming and ideas. They’re going to be really focused sessions, diving straight into what the business models could be and how to package them into profitable products. Fingers crossed one of the bootcamps will bring up a gem,”

2 Responses

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  1. Paul said, on June 8, 2010 at 8:57 am

    I think that’s a really positive approach to a problem that is plaguing (and frightening) those in the established old media.
    Earlier this year I sat through a three-day media summit and heard speaker after speaker talk about ‘the future of journalism’ without providing any real answers.
    My only concern is a few people at grassroots level try something, it works and then one of the larger outlets throw money at their version of the same idea and puts the one-man band out of operation.
    If you can find a niche then exploit it for all its worth.
    Good luck all

  2. Adam Westbrook said, on June 8, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Thanks very much Paul. That ‘conference mentality’ is exactly why we’ve set the bootcamps up the way we have…here’s hoping!


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