Even David Cameron’s saying it now. In a speech to his spring conference this weekend he announced that entrepreneurs are Britain’s ‘only strategy’ for growth, and is promising help for people starting their own businesses in this month’s budget.
The same is true for journalism too. The call to enterprise isn’t a stop-gap, nor an acceptance of defeat trying to get a ‘proper’ job.
Journalism needs entrepreneurs to shake things up and make some new things happen. In the shadow of newsroom cuts, creative famine and spreading churnalism, these brave starters are journalism’s ‘only strategy’ for growth.
As if by magic (or more likely by perusing the planning diary) the Observer yesterday featured several ‘young guns‘: young men and women who, in the face of high youth unemployment, have made their own careers happen. Included was 20-year-old film-maker Jamal Edwards who founded SBTV, an impressive youth channel; Georgina Cooper, 26, the creator of PretaPortobello.com; Gerard Jones, 21, who founded his own football training academy while still at university; and Edwin Broni-Mensah, 25, who’s come up with a great business around refillable water bottles.
They are inspiring stories of young people who, in the face of a game where the odds were stacked against them, invented a new game, with the rules squarely in their favour. And they’re relishing the freedom and opportunity it gives them. Meanwhile, more young journalists who fought their way into a national newspaper the old way are handing in their notices!
The time to make your own career happen is now.
I had the pleasure of speaking at Leeds Trinity University’s Journalism Festival a week ago, alongside Joanna Geary from the Times, Chris Ship from ITV, Patrick Smith from the The Media Briefing and many others.
I was there to talk about entrepreneurial journalism – and in particular, the often overlooked beauty of starting an intentionally small, but insanely profitable business. In it, I presented several examples of journalists making money in new ways, described how I did it launching my business studio .fu and gave some practical advice on how to start a business with no funding, no employees and no office.
You can also read a write-up and listen to an interview here.
The lure of having @bbc.co.uk or @cnn.com on your email address is a temptress, I know. But we are entering an age where the self-starter is the one with the opportunities – don’t miss out! If you still need convincing read this great article in Smashing Magazine.
And for another four weeks, there is the opportunity to win £1000 in cash to get your business off the ground in our unique myNewsBiz competition. Click here for details of how to enter.
UPDATE: a couple of similar excellent posts from other young journalists today: Joseph Stashko asks why are j-students still attracted by the mainstream media; and Marc Thomas explains why he’s going entrepreneurial instead of looking for jobs this summer.
If the future of news is entrepreneurial, then it’s not as easy as saying “it is so”. Thousands of journalists won’t head straight to Companies House the next morning to register their new business.
If more journalists and other creatives are to create their own careers, build innovative new businesses and spark employment for thousands of others, their entrepreneurial spirit needs fostering early on.
If journalism in the future is powered by entrepreneurs they must be comfortable with business – and excited by it.
Well, I’m really excited to announce the launch of a new nationwide competition I have been working on, alongside Kingston University’s Journalism department in London.
We’re inviting journalism students from any UK university to come up with ideas for new news businesses – whether it’s a platform, a product or a service. We’re putting together a panel of industry judges and the business idea they like the most will win £1000 in cold hard cash to turn it into reality.
A 2nd place runner up will also get £500 to invest in their idea too.
It could be a hyperlocal website, a new smartphone app, an iPad magazine, a production company, an online video platform, a magazine, or even the next social media platform…almost anything!
It’s a great chance to get the next generation of journalists thinking about what makes a good business, how to find a unique selling point and identify a target market. This quick film we made explains the rest:
In the new year we’ll also be unveiling some extensive online training materials to introduce students to the idea of business and enterprise, and help them develop their ideas before sending in their submissions.
How to enter
Entry to the competition is free for groups and individuals – you just need to head over to mynewsbiz.org and download an application form, which you can email back to us by the deadline: 1st April 2011.
With just a handful of journalism courses in the UK touching on the idea of entrepreneurial journalism, this is an unrivalled opportunity to find out what being entrepreneurial really means – and maybe get the cash you need to start your own company!
Journalism has a lot of hurdles to overcome if it’s to not only survive, but thrive for the next 100 years.
Money is a big one. So is citizen journalism. And yes, the decline of audience and the death of print are pretty massive too.
But the biggest hurdle, the one we must all overcome; the one which will guarantee a great future for news, has nothing to do with ink and paper.
I’m talking about attitude. Journalism is not going anywhere because hardly anyone’s got the right attitude.
And what attitude is that, I hear you cry?
It hasn’t got a name, but we know Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page have it. And Evan Williams has it to. Jonathan Fields and Jonathan Mead definitely have it. By the looks of things journalists like David Dunkley-Gyimah, Michael Rosenblum and Jeff Jarvis possess it too.
Important people at the Times, Independent, New York Times, Telegraph, ITN, Sky and the Boston Globe don’t have it, which is why they’ll eventually fail. And across the West, in Britain, the US, Canada and Australia, not enough journalists have it. It’s why we’re getting busy going nowhere.
It can be summed up in truisms like these:
And pretty much boils down to:
And it is the attitude which delivers the key to the future of journalism.
If we’re not careful the future of news, belongs to them, and not the journalists...no wait, hang on. If we ARE careful, it belongs to them. The whole point is we have to stop being careful! Take some risks, get your hands dirty!