Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

The truth about entrepreneurship and journalism

Posted in Entrepreneurial Journalism by Adam Westbrook on April 2, 2012

Photo: KelBailey on Flickr

Why are there not as many entrepreneurial ventures in journalism and publishing as there could be? 

It’s a well rehearsed argument that it costs virtually nothing to start a web based business: you can start it from home, in your own time.  Meanwhile the potential to reach niche audiences with well crafted content about your own passions in life continues to grow.

It has nothing to do with the economy and education, or with business or journalism, or with the question about whether it is possible to pursue both of those things.

Instead it has everything to do with us.

Embracing the new age of publishing, however you do it, is essentially promising to start and finish something. Starting something (a book, website, new magazine, documentary, Kickstarter project etc) is an act of breathing life into an ephemeral concept that exists purely inside your own head. Taking a tiny spark of an internal idea and converting it into something solid and real with its own website, readers, fans, collaborators and maybe even its own company registration is relentlessly difficult.

Top tip #1: there is no scenario where it is not difficult.

In fact, I’d go a step further and say it is a fight, a daily punch-up with both your own demons and the apathy of everyone else. Look at the boxer in the banner above: are you interested in a life of stepping into the ring and getting the shit kicked out of you every day?

I’ve been doing a lot of hard thinking over recent weeks and months and I’ve decided that, personally, I am up for the fight. Not everyone is of course, and fair enough.

But if you are attracted to embracing these exciting digital opportunities, don’t be under any illusions about just how hard it is. The trick is to accept the fact it is going to hurt – and do it anyway

Top tip #2:the Inside the Story Facebook page is now live – make sure you give it a thumbs up!


3 Responses

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  1. Extraordinary Adventures said, on April 3, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    I agree with you Adam. It is incredibly hard. In some ways we are back in the dark ages, sifting tons of muck for a few grammes of brass. One of the interesting misapprehensions in this is that people really don’t buy what vendors think is on sale. Very few actually buy journalism. It comes as an integral part of something else that you buy. This perhaps explains the increasing success of some hyperlocal sites. The winners create communities of interest and then sell stuff to them via appropriate advertising.

  2. Cliff Etzel said, on April 5, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Great post mate! I felt like I was down for the count recently and this posting gave me new energy – Hope all’s well on your side of the pond 😉

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