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The J-Lab Blog

Observations and learnings on journalism 

  • The Story Behind the Geezer Grants

    Nov. 13, 2014 J-Lab

    Last week we announced an awards project to help Baby Boomers launch news startups. This week, we chuckle at our new nickname and shine a spotlight on the history that gave the project momentum. “Geezer grants” is the term some wags have applied to the $12,000 startup funding open to people age 50-plus who want to launch a news project. Bring it on.

  • Journalism Education: It’s Time to Craft the Gateway Degree

    Oct. 31, 2014 Jan SchafferSt. Louis Gateway Arch (Creative Commons)

    If the journalism industry really wants to engage its audiences and woo new ones, and if the academy wants its journalism schools to flourish – it’s time for journalism schools to embrace a larger mission and to construct a different narrative about the merits of a journalism education.

  • Gender Gap Blues? Build Your Own Sandbox

    Jul. 3, 2014 Jan SchafferSandbox Icon

    Women comprise only 36 percent of the journalism workforce and only 23 percent of the leadership (where they make 25 percent less than their male counterparts). Yet they make up 64 percent of journalism school enrollments, where many will elect careers in public relations.

  • Donors Liking Public-Indie Media Partnerships

    Nov. 14, 2013 Jan Schaffer

    Creating public-radio and indie-media partnerships may open new paths to fundraising, station executives told a session at Tuesday’s Public Radio Super-Regional meeting outside Washington, D.C.

  • The Death and Re-birth of Journalism

    Oct. 20, 2013 Jan SchafferThe Phoenix

    How can media help people feel like they are part of a common purpose and foster the information and engagement that citizens need to be citizens? These and other questions were addressed at a 3-day gathering of some 20 funders, media makers and civic engagement experts at the Rockefeller estate in Tarrytown, N.Y.

  • A New Kind of Activist Journalism: When Finding Solutions are Part of Journalists’ Job, Too

    Jun. 4, 2013 Jan SchafferUrban Milwauke - After

    Four years ago, zeroed in on South 2nd Street, a pocked roadway in the city’s Walker’s Point section that seemed “ripe for improvement,” said site co-founder David Reid.

  • Launching Proof of Concept – Then Leveraging It

    Dec. 13, 2012 Jan Schaffer

    So where can a $14,000 media start-up award get you? It can get you just where you want to go, judging by the recent winners of the McCormick New Media Women Entrepreneur (NMWE) Awards.

  • Let’s Get Real About Homicide Watch

    Sep. 10, 2012 Jan SchafferProject - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Homicide Watch DC

    Kudos to Homicide Watch for exceeding its Kickstarter goal. I was among those who donated.  But I have to confess to a lot of head -scratching over all the rallying cries, berating national foundations for not supporting a good local news site. The fact of the matter is, the founders are leaving the start up to accept other opportunities.  Any entrepreneurs who leave their startups after only three ...

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