|For immediate release
Noon, Oct. 29, 2014
|Contact: Jan Schaffer
Washington, D.C. – Encore media entrepreneurs, age 50+, are invited to apply for seed funding to help them launch news projects in 2015 as part of a new initiative launched today by J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism.
Four $12,000 awards are available to those Baby Boomers who have a vision for a news venture and a plan to continue it after initial funding is spent. The awards are supported with funding from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation and the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation.
Funding is available for web sites, mobile apps or other news ideas. The deadline for proposals is Dec. 15, 2014. See guidelines here. Apply online here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/EncoreEntrepreneurs.
“We are seeking to create replicable models for engaging older adults in digital leadership roles in democratic society – roles that can help watchdog local officials, foster doable solutions to community problems, and build models for civic participation through the media, not just the voting booth,” said J-Lab Director Jan Schaffer.
“This cohort group, raised in the journalism of the Watergate-era, seem eager to participate in their communities in new digital ways,” she said.
J-Lab has provided seed funding to 100 start-ups and collaborative pilot projects since 2005. “At least 17 of the 100 start-ups we have funded so far were the vision of adults aged 53 to 70. They have been among our most enduring projects,” Schaffer said. See some of those projects here: http://www.j-lab.org/projects/masters-mediapreneurs-initiative/.
These site founders were familiar with new digital tools, Schaffer said. Often, they were empty nesters who had been involved in their community. Some were journalists who took left newsrooms in the downsizings that have swept the news industry since 2007. Others are embracing an encore career – or just an encore hobby.
Here’s an observation from Maureen Mann, a retired school teacher who founded The Forum in Deerfield, N.H. in 2005 at age 59: “One thing to point out is that people over 50 are used to having access to good media, want good media and have the time to make it happen – often for a lot less money (or in some cases no money but a desire for a good source of news).”
- Want to have local or regional, not national, impact.
- Say they’d find their business worthwhile if they made less than $60,000 a year, which is in line with sustainable models for media start-ups.
- Say they need less that $50,000 to get started. Nearly one-half expect to tap personal savings to launch ventures.
J-Lab, founded in 2002, is a journalism catalyst. It funds new approaches to news and information, researches what works and shares practical insights with traditional and entrepreneurial news organizations. Jan Schaffer is Entrepreneur in Residence at American University.