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Four Media Startups Win Encore Entrepreneur Funding

For immediate release
Noon, Feb. 5, 2015
Contact: Jan Schaffer

Washington, D.C. – Four media startups proposed by entrepreneurs over 50 have been selected to receive $12,000 each in encore media entrepreneur funding, J-Lab announced today. The projects are a single-topic magazine on, a Connecticut hyperlocal FM/streamed radio station, daily Internet radio newscasts and podcasts for a Pacific Northwest blog network, and an Hispanic crowd-sourced initiative on border-crossing deaths.

The four initiatives were among 82 applications received in J-Lab’s Masters Mediapreneurs initiative to help seed media startups launched by Baby Boomers, aged 50-plus. 

“We could easily have funded several more worthy projects,” said J-Lab director Jan Schaffer. “The ideas were creative, the energy striking, and the applicants’ eagerness was quite pronounced.”

“Many who applied tipped their hats to this opportunity to validate ideas from mature news creators and help them make them happen.”

The winners are: 

Midcentury/Modern, an online magazine “following Boomers into their Third Act,” launched in late December by hyperlocal news entrepreneur Debra Galant, the founder of Baristanet and now director of the NJ News Commons. Instead of creating a stand-alone website, the magazine is publishing on Medium, a social journalism blogging platform that allows people to recommend and share posts Twitter-like. It is one of the first publications receiving independent funding to launch on Medium, which is also offering technical and revenue support. “This online magazine explores how the definition of aging shifts when it happens to the cohort that defined itself by its youthfulness,” Galant said.

The LP-FM New-Media Newsroom, a new FM/web-streamed radio station for New Haven, CT, shepherded by New Haven Independent founder Paul Bass in partnership with La Voz Hispana, the local Spanish-language weekly. Daily four-hour news programs, to start, will be in English and Spanish and feature local African-American hosts. “We’re excited about launching an FM/web-streamed community radio station in the fall,” Bass said. “We envision this as one model for not-for-profit, public-interest local news sites like ours to expand on the journalism we do and broaden our racial and ethnic makeup and outreach.”

SoKing Internet Radio, daily newcasts to feature content from South King Mediacompany’s six community blogs covering South King County near Seattle. Scott Schaefer, founder of the B-Town Blog and South King Media is leading the project. “This will allow us to start up a truly innovative new program – daily hyperlocal newscasts that will live not only on our 24/7 streaming radio station, but also as podcasts posted to South King Media’s six local blogs and Facebook pages,” Schaefer said., a Spanish-language website and database to collect public records and media reports of undocumented people killed during interactions with law enforcement officers along the southern border of the U.S. It is a project of D. Brian Burghart, who created an English version,, and is editor and publisher of the Reno News & Review. “I’m very excited to be able to move forward with  Law-enforcement-involved homicides along the U.S. border is an important and underreported issue, and I hope we can bring together technology, languages and volunteers to get a much better idea of our government’s activities,” he said.

The Masters Mediapreneurs progam is funded with grants from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism and the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundations.

Participating in the judging the applications were Ju-Don Roberts, Director of the Center for Cooperative Media, Montclair State University; Tiffany Shackelford, Executive Director, Association for Alternative News Weeklies; Jody Brannon, Digital Media Strategist and former National Director News 21, and Jan Schaffer, Executive Director, J-Lab.

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 also Entrepreneur in Residence at American University.


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