J-Lab Consulting – Igniting Fresh Ideas that Work

J-Lab founder Jan Schaffer is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and consultant who specializes in helping to generate fresh ideas for news and information, civic engagement, training and education in the emerging media ecosystem. She knows how to structure a vision and can help you shape a project that really works.

Professional Services
Her clients include news organizations, nonprofits, universities and communities looking to adapt and innovate amid disruptive change.

Among her specialties are:

  • Speaking about new media trends
  • Launching news startups 
  • Developing new education and media projects, including partnerships with J-Lab
  • Structuring workshops
  • Facilitating brainstorming sessions to develop new ideas
  • On-site training in entrepreneurship, emerging business models, engaging audiences
  • Evaluating projects and grants for sponsors
  • One-on-one strategic management consulting
  • Research and report writing, including curriculum revisions, professional development opportunities and accreditation portfolios.

Experience: Known for igniting news ideas that work, Jan is a thought leader on the future of news. She builds on a decade of training and fostering news entrepreneurship. As executive director of J-Lab, she helped launch 100 news startups and pilot projects with micro-grants and rewarded scores of journalism innovations. As executive director of the Pew Center for Civic Journalism, she funded and researched 120 pilot projects that re-imagined how news organizations could connect and empower audiences.

Previously, Jan held a wide variety of reporting and editing posts at The Philadelphia Inquirer.  Read her full bio at: http://www.j-lab.org/about/jlabstaff

 

Recent project highlights:

Media entrepreneurship

  • Jan has helped dozens of news startups launch and thrive.
  • She helped develop and teaches in the mid-career MA in Media Entrepreneurship program at American University, where she is Entrepreneur in Residence.

Idea facilitation

  • Jan surveyed USAToday staffers and facilitated sessions that surfaced more than 70 digital ideas for the company to pursue.

Mapping, research, report writing

  • Jan mapped the Philadelphia news landscape for the William Penn Foundation and developed recommendations for a new citywide startup. launched with a $2.4 million grant.
  • She undertook a comprehensive scan of U.S. journalism training programs for the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

Project and grant evaluations

  • Jan worked with a team to evaluate and recommend a sustainability plan for the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas-Austin.

Training

  • Jan has provided trainings for Milan-based RCS Media Group, one of Italy's largest; and for the BBC College of Journalism, Cardiff University, the Online News Association, the American Press Institute, the International Center for Journalists and the U.S. State Department.

Research and report writing

  • Jan has researched and authored numerous J-Lab reports on collaborations, audience engagement, digital media ethics, public media partnerships, and women media entrepreneurs.

Speeches

  • She has delivered keynote speeches at the Melbourne (Australia) Writers Festival, USC-Annenberg, University of Georgia, Howard University, the University of Idaho and the University of Oregon.

Contact Jan Schaffer: jans@j-lab.org, 202-885-8100

Case Study

The William Penn Foundation hired J-Lab in 2009 to map Philadelphia's media landscape and make recommendations for how WPF could support more robust public affairs news and information.

Our report and recommendations were a key contributor to the foundation approving a $2.4 million grant in 2010 to launch the Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network.

It also paved the way for J-Lab to launch the Philadelphia Enterprise Reporting Awards, which has incentivized both in-depth reporting and new collaborations.

View Our Report