J-Lab RSS Feed http://www.j-lab.org J-Lab - Igniting News Ideas That Work <![CDATA[Gender Gap Blues?  Build Your Own Sandbox]]> Posted To: Ideas & Innovation > Blogically Thinking

There was much hand wringing at the June 30th forum, "Closing Journalism Gender Gap," at the National Press Club,

Indeed, the numbers are appalling: 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. The numbers come from research supplied by the sponsors, The Poynter Institute and the press club's Journalism Training Institute.  Many of the numbers come from the Women's Media Center study earlier this year.

Who would think that we'd still be dealing with this mishigas at this moment in time? Bylines are being counted, op-eds are tallied, pundits are logged amid considerable consternation.

Advice was plentiful: Push through. Banish bashfulness. Ask for more. Hang in there. After all, "it's the best job in the world," affirmed an extremely articulate panel.

I've got to say, though, I'm not convinced those strategies will make much of a dent in the numbers, especially nowadays when legacy newsrooms have little wiggle room to do much hiring. And when they do, it's often programmers or coders they want.

Achieving change from the victim's chair is seldom an empowering exercise. Overcoming gender styles that are viewed as liabilities instead of assets is not where you want to be.

There are other options:

• Just leave.  Yes, leave – but do it matter-of-factly.  And do it with a plan to build out your portfolio in entirely new ways.  Join a news startup.  Amp up your social media skills. Do a deep dive in a particular topic area. Understand how the emerging news ecosystem is embracing change. Attach yourselves to new circles of competence. The goal is to attain new skills – and a sponsor or two – not more clips.  You are never more desirable than when someone else wants you.  And the doors do revolve.

• Seek an internal greenhouse.  Raise your hand to be on the innovations team. or new-products team. Women have unique ways of connecting the dots on trends and good instincts about engaging audiences.  However, these are muscles that need to be toned. These skills can also be a future escape hatch, if you want it.

• Build your own sandbox. Grow your media entrepreneurship skills, whether as a job or a hobby. Start a website, a blog, a newsletter, an app that lets your spread your wings in new ways.

Amid all the numbers tossed around about the plight of women journalists, I have not seen statistics that tell us whether women are leaving newsrooms in disproportionate numbers when buyouts are offered or downsizing occurs.

But I do know in reading 2,011 applications for some 22 startup awards J-Lab offered with McCormick Foundation funding between 2008 and 2013, there are incredibly smart, talented women who have left – in some cases fled – newsrooms and have good ideas for the future of media.

As a general rule, they don't aspire to collect scalps. They'd rather do journalism that builds communities, rights social wrongs, empowers the voiceless and fosters a much closer relationship with their audiences.

It seems to me those are jobs that need to be done.
 


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Blogically Thinking 2014-07-03T02:00:53+00:00
<![CDATA[10 Takeaways from Teaching Entrepreneurship]]> Posted To: Ideas & Innovation > Blogically Thinking

Posted To: Ideas & Innovation > Articles

(This article originally appeared on PBS Mediashift.)

So far, two cohort groups, some 21 people, have gone through my Seminar in Media Entrepreneurship for mid-career professionals. It is the first seminar that each cohort group takes as they embark on the 20-month, 10-course journey to a M.A. in Media Entrepreneurship (MAME) at American University's School of Communication (SOC).

As entrepreneurship courses multiply in journalism school curricula, opportunities arise, but so do many questions.

Here are 10 takeaways from my experience to date.

Click the image for the full series. Original photo by Paul Goyette and used here with Creative Commons. Click the image for the full series. Original photo by Paul Goyette and used here with Creative Commons.

1. Require students to have a startup idea in mind.
It may not be the project they will present for their capstone, but if they have to think of a venture after they begin their course work, they will quickly fall behind.

2. Vet students' passion to launch something and the creativity of their idea as criteria for admission.
Don't require GREs or even high GPAs. Neither count for much in the entrepreneurship space.

3. Consider using Pandora to market your program.
This is a brilliant idea from SOC Graduate Services director Sharmeen Ahsan-Bracciale. Every student in my class said they had heard about the program while listening to music.

4. Define "media" broadly.
It's clear that my students regard media entrepreneurship as more than journalism. It is any kind of digital information or toolkit. And who knows? The emerging pattern has media startups adding journalism capabilities as they grow. Consider how the expansion of such digital information deliverers as BuzzFeed and Twitter has whet their appetites for bonafide journalism and led to recent hires of news editors with journalism chops.

American University's DC Startup Forum series helps spread entrepreneurial ideas.American University's DC Startup Forum series helps spread entrepreneurial ideas.

5. Urge students to think of their startups as accomplishing a "job [that needs] to be done."
I've found this to be a useful framework. As disruptive technology guru Clay Christensen notes, people don't buy products; they buy solutions to problems they encounter.

6. Present, present, present.
I have students distill their epiphanies from class assignments into very short, 3- to 5-page wrap-ups accompanied by an AV presentation to the entire class. They've used Powerpoint, Keynote, Prezi and SlideRocket for presentations that got increasingly sophisticated week by week. By the end of the semester, they had a focused pitch deck. They even scheduled their own sharing session to teach one another multimedia presentation tricks.

7. Get permission to publicize their ideas – on your website and to the rest of the school.
While some students want to stick to the non-disclosure route, others will find support and help by being open. In the future, I'd like to invite interested faculty and students to their final project presentations.

8. Partner with nearby accelerators to expose students to the local startup scene.
American University is the first university to partner with 1776, a year-old incubator in Washington, D.C. that has attracted scores of fledgling enterprises. Students and faculty can work at the AU table and attend some presentations. Faculty have begun sharing their expertise in clinics for 1776′ers that Amy Eisman, SOC's director of media entrepreneurship, is expanding.

9. Launch a speaker series, not just for media entrepreneurship students but other students as well.
Our DC Startup Forum presents local entrepreneurs in monthly, hour-long Q&As during spring and fall semesters. WAMU public radio uploads video of the sessions. They also appeal to budding social entrepreneurs at AU's School of International Service and business entrepreneurs at the Kogod School of Business.

Dan PachecoDan Pacheco

10. Aim for a prototype or minimum viable product.
This is a key challenge for many media entrepreneurship programs. If extra programming skills are needed, consider bringing on a visiting programmer for 10 to 12 hours a week who can help jumpstart student ideas. Credit for this idea goes to Dan Pacheco at Syracuse.

One idea leads to another and the routes to new opportunities have been surprising. We've found no shortage of good ideas for the future of news and information.


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Blogically ThinkingArticles 2014-01-30T15:52:49+00:00
<![CDATA[Revisiting 10 of the Many Things I’ve Learned Since Abscam]]> Posted To: Ideas & Innovation > Blogically Thinking

Posted To: Ideas & Innovation > Articles

With the release of  the "American Hustle" movie about Abscam, I've been moved to remind myself of some takeways of my involvement in that FBI sting operation. Full disclosure: This originally appeared in the American Press Institute's "Survival Guide For Women Editors." 

 

 

As a federal court reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer, I got a 
tip one Friday that something big was going to happen that 
would “involve the Halls of Congress.”

I couldn’t nail the story that day. But the next day I broke what came to be
 known as the Abscam story.

Nabbed taking bribes from FBI agents posing as Arab sheiks were three
Philadelphia city councilmen, a U.S. congressman and a U.S. senator from New Jersey and eventually more elected officials.

To this day, there are a lot of journalism case studies about the Abscam story. At issue: Who were my sources? Did the prosecutors leak the sting to the press to “stampede” a grand jury into returning an indictment?

Little did I expect that this experience would impart some life lessons.

In a defense motion to dismiss the case, Judge John P. Fullam sentenced me to six months in jail for declining to reveal my sources. I never had to serve my time, thankfully, because it quickly became clear the prosecutors were making their case with videotapes, not leaks. Nevertheless, I fielded several early-morning calls from anguished suspected sources, urging me to clear them of culpability. As those criminal justice types sweated out their own careers, my newsroom colleagues, ironically, voiced notable envy at the turn in my career.

Such is the stuff of media law textbooks. Over the years, I have been amused as various students have called textbook chapters about Abscam to my attention.

While I can’t disclose the truth, I can say that much of what has been written is based on a wrong premise, on wrong assumptions.

It was one of my first experiences with “having journalism done to me.” Little did I know the experience would prove invaluable in later years.

As a leader in the civic journalism movement, I favored a term for the sloppy reporting that surrounded a lot of civic journalism efforts. I called these stories “drive-by shootings.” It was journalism based on what the reporters thought was conventional wisdom, not tested with original legwork. Journalism that gave a platform to the critics but seldom interviewed the practitioners.

And so, I use this anecdote to revisit some life lessons learned since.

  1. Beware of easy assumptions — about people or about stories. The truth is always more complex, and it always makes for better stories, better relationships.
  2. Anger is seldom productive; humor works better.
  3. Being a “good girl” is seldom good enough. No matter how terrific an outcome you deliver, the connections you made getting there will always be more important.
  4. You’ll always learn more from your mistakes than from your successes. Don’t beat yourself up second-guessing your decisions.
  5. For every one person who hates you, 10 others will love you. Do what you can to make peace with your adversaries, then move on. They will probably never love you.
  6. Know that the very tasks you found most distasteful will become, in good time, effortless strengths.
  7. If you feel like a victim and act like a victim, you will become a victim.
  8. When you suffer from oxygen deprivation, move into a better environment.
  9. Jobs come and go. Relationships endure.
  10. Reach for the sky; you might just land on a mountaintop.

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Blogically ThinkingArticles 2013-12-18T18:42:32+00:00
<![CDATA[Lost in the gloom, an entrepreneurial boom]]> Posted To: Ideas & Innovation > Blogically Thinking

(This article first appeared in Nieman Lab, as part of its 2014 predictions in journalism series.)

Even as revenue-strapped news outlets continue to cut staff, we need to celebrate in 2014 a new reality: Media entrepreneurship is at an all-time high.

jan-schafferOnce-fledgling startups now count their employees in the 100s. International news players see enough U.S. market promise to open operations here. Startup accelerators are nurturing scores of ideas for media “jobs to be done.” Journalism schools are designing media entrepreneurship programs to meet growing demand.

The Investigative News Network (INN) counts more than 90 members. The new Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers association has attracted more than 100 members just in its first year.

Some of this growth has been by acquisition, some by adding new products, some by internal expansion and some via new launches. Vox Media, for one, counted 85 employees in 2011 and had expanded to some 300 by earlier this year — and that was before it acquired Curbed, Eater, and Racked. Politico lists some 180 employees on its website plus another 26 at its newly purchased Capital New York. The Huffington Post identifies 317 employees online — not counting operations outside the U.S. Likewise, Buzzfeed says it has more than 300 staffers. And that’s just for starters.

The Qatar-owned Al Jazeera America launched here four months ago. The three-year-old RT America, the first Russian English-language news channel, has become one of the most-watched foreign news channels in the United States. The Guardian U.S. launched its New York-based online operation a little over two years ago, finding fertile grounds for expansion here.

We saw some important media-entrepreneurship milestones this year; more will come next year. All will have a ripple effect on redefining news, reconsidering news conventions, validating new players, and re-imagining news distribution. Consider the possibilities of some of these 2013 mileposts.

  • Tech-daddies (and mommies) entered the journalism space. How will Jeff Bezos reconfigure The Washington Post? What will Pierre Omidyar create with his embrace of Glenn Greenwald? How will Twitter advance with Vivian Schiller as its new head of news?
  • Public broadcasters entered full-bore mergers with independent news startups. In Colorado and in St. Louis, public broadcasters have formally combined with enterprising startups to begin to increase and amplify local news coverage. These efforts promise models not only to sustain local news coverage but also to open new doors for engaging audiences.
  • Also this year, we saw the first individual hyperlocal news startup execute an exit. The five-year-old Sacramento Press figured out how to calculate a valuation so that a local Internet marketing company could buy it. It is in the vanguard of working out how small news sites can establish their value so they can be sold when their founders need to move on. Serial entrepreneurship should be as doable in media as it is in Silicon Valley.

One of my many hats is journalism educator, teaching mid-career professionals who have ideas for media startups. Of the 12 in this year’s MA in Media Entrepreneurship cohort group, only two hailed from journalism. Others came from Siemens, NASA, private schools, nonprofits, and advertising.

They all have very focused ideas for “jobs to be done” (in disruptive guru Clay Christensen-speak). They are not necessarily journalism jobs, but they are definitely media jobs, anchored in the digital information space. So for 2014, let’s stop the handwringing about losses in legacy journalism and work on creating and growing the next acts in media.


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Blogically Thinking 2013-12-17T19:26:04+00:00
<![CDATA[Donors Liking Public-Indie Media Partnerships]]> Posted To: Ideas & Innovation > Blogically Thinking

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.

When Oregon Public Broadcasting sought to jumpstart a statewide news network, it sought matching funds for a Knight News Challenge grant and landed the needed funds in a few weeks.

"This was some of the easiest money we've ever raised," Steve Bass, OPB's President and CEO, told a standing-room-only crowd at the Gaylord Conference Center, National Harbor, MD.


Likewise, Tim Eby, general manager of St. Louis Public Radio, which hopes to finalize its merger with the St. Louis Beacon by year's end, said the two organizations projected they'd need to raise $3 million over five years to cover the costs of joining two newsrooms into one 30-person operation.

He said it took only about 15 conversations with donors to raise about $2.5 million.  "We spent 10 years raising money for a new building and this took only two to three months."


Since The Beacon was founded in 2008, Eby said funders repeatedly asked: "Why aren't you working with The Beacon?"

When the merger stalled at the University of Missouri, the owner of SLPR's license, 26 community leaders signed a letter urging the parties to "get this done," Eby said.


In Oregon, OPB is already seeing content benefits. "OPB is getting six to 10 broadcast spots a day" from other partners around the state, Bass said.  What's more, Julia Silverman, who is spearheading the initiative, has been able "to spot trends in monitoring partner news reports that we can piece together into broader stories."

With newspapers shuttering a lot of their statehouse coverage, OPB's partners want more state government coverage.  They are also interested in environmental and arts-and-culture stories, Bass said.

The partnership not only supplies partner stories for OPB's website, but OPB stories and reporter bylines are appearing in newspapers across the state.

In St. Louis, SLPR and The Beacon took a very methodical approach to the pending merger. Consultants analyzed:

  • Web site coverage and found much work that needed to be done.
  • Donor overlap and found very littler crossover in major donors to SLPR and The Beacon.
  • Content opportunities and identified a half-dozen vertical areas that will become the mission focus of the new newsroom.
  • The overall market and found opportunities for news coverage and events.
  • Technology and content management systems, which are still nuts to be cracked but, for now, they will use NPR's Core Publisher.
  • Overall governance, and they are planning a new newsroom organization chart and new board structures.

Eby said his staff initially was not keen on the idea of a merger, but when he explained that this investment is really about the future of news and information in St. Louis, "This turned the tide with the staff."
 


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Blogically Thinking 2013-11-14T20:48:52+00:00
<![CDATA[The Death and Re-birth of Journalism]]> Posted To: Ideas & Innovation > Blogically Thinking

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?

For three days, a group of some 20 funders, media makers and civic engagement experts met at Pocantico, the Rockefeller estate in Tarrytown, N.Y., to wrestle with such concepts as thick engagement (which, to oversimplify, is meeting, deliberating and problem solving) and thin engagement (voting, or clicking on a digital button).

The gathering was organized by PACE (Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement) and a white paper will be coming soon.

As an onramp to the conversation, I sketched out how I see the journalistic ecosystem evolving.  Here are my slides with some context.

I see four big trends:

  1. Metro dailies are beset by disappearing portfolios, which is as keen a problem as disappearing revenue. They offer little original coverage of foreign and national news, local news, or coverage of arts and culture. Their mostly suburban readers don’t value their city hall coverage. Their enterprise stories are, at best, episodic. And their sports coverage is available in many other places.
  2. New owners will honor new rules.  While legacy news outlets long adhered to sacrosanct conventions of independence, balance and fairness, new owners will bring different mindsets and different values to information sharing.  Engagement, for one, will likely be paramount.
  3. Media entrepreneurship is at an all-time high and even blog and aggregation startups are starting to aspire to and hire for real journalism chops.
  4. It's not only the business model for journalism that is broken, standard models for journalism are broken too. Stenographic false equivalencies, conflict framing, bipolarity that masquerades as balance is producing new calls for journalism that is more than a commodity, but is also a catalyst for the public good.

I am optimistic about the new landscape for several reasons:

  • Some 80 investigative news startups have launched around the county and have even organized into the Investigative News Network. Some, like ProPublica, are national, but most are focused on local statehouses.  I expect every state in the nation will soon have the likes of a Texas Tribune or VTDigger.org.
  • Indie news startups covering communities are flourishing on micro budgets, and several are starting to expand with satellite sites. They, too, have organized into the LION publishers group.
  • Niche sites specializing in health, climate, politics, and the arts are filling in the gaps left by legacy news organizations.
  • Tech sites are growing their news portfolios and companies like Twitter and BuzzFeed are bringing serious journalists onboard.
  • Non-narrative news possibilities are growing. News games, interactive maps, searchable databases, drone and sensor journalism promise to appeal to news consumers who are not drawn to narrative stories.
  • While an array of simple distribution platforms – Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest – is growing so are deep, focused reporting sites such as Politico or LongReads.
  • Soft advocacy news sites are opening the door for responsible coverage through the lens of what's best for the public good. Sites like Philadelphia's thenotebook.org are covering schools and are unabashedly in favor of good public schools. Increasingly, news about the built environment in cities, and the requisite planning and zoning board hearings, is coming from sites like Plan Philly or Urban Milwaukee that care about sustainable cities.
  • Finally, we are seeing robust models for collaboration driving both newspapers and public broadcasters that  amplify news, present engagement infrastructures, and widen possibilities for sponsorships.

As we search for new models, we are already seeing an increase in expert "knowledge" journalists, benedictions given to the contributions of such "activist" journalists as Glenn Greenwald, outright calls for "advocacy" journalism, and new-found discoveries of solutions journalism that are starting to suggest new roadmaps for re-imagining old itineraries.


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Blogically Thinking 2013-11-12T15:44:43+00:00
<![CDATA[The Death and Re-birth of Journalism]]> Posted To: Workshops & Training > Speeches

Event Date: Oct. 29, 2013
Location: Jan Schaffer at the Pocantico Center in Tarrytown, NY

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?

For three days, a group of some 20 funders, media makers and civic engagement experts met at Pocantico, the Rockefeller estate in Tarrytown, N.Y., to wrestle with such concepts as thick engagement (which, to oversimplify, is meeting, deliberating and problem solving) and thin engagement (voting, or clicking on a digital button).

The gathering was organized by PACE (Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement) and a white paper will be coming soon.

As an onramp to the conversation, I sketched out how I see the journalistic ecosystem evolving.  Here are my slides with some context.

I see four big trends:

  1. Metro dailies are beset by disappearing portfolios, which is as keen a problem as disappearing revenue. They offer little original coverage of foreign and national news, local news, or coverage of arts and culture. Their mostly suburban readers don’t value their city hall coverage. Their enterprise stories are, at best, episodic. And their sports coverage is available in many other places.
  2. New owners will honor new rules.  While legacy news outlets long adhered to sacrosanct conventions of independence, balance and fairness, new owners will bring different mindsets and different values to information sharing.  Engagement, for one, will likely be paramount.
  3. Media entrepreneurship is at an all-time high and even blog and aggregation startups are starting to aspire to and hire for real journalism chops.
  4. It's not only the business model for journalism that is broken, standard models for journalism are broken too. Stenographic false equivalencies, conflict framing, bipolarity that masquerades as balance is producing new calls for journalism that is more than a commodity, but is also a catalyst for the public good.

I am optimistic about the new landscape for several reasons:

  • Some 80 investigative news startups have launched around the county and have even organized into the Investigative News Network. Some, like ProPublica, are national, but most are focused on local statehouses.  I expect every state in the nation will soon have the likes of a Texas Tribune or VTDigger.org.
  • Indie news startups covering communities are flourishing on micro budgets, and several are starting to expand with satellite sites. They, too, have organized into the LION publishers group.
  • Niche sites specializing in health, climate, politics, and the arts are filling in the gaps left by legacy news organizations.
  • Tech sites are growing their news portfolios and companies like Twitter and BuzzFeed are bringing serious journalists onboard.
  • Non-narrative news possibilities are growing. News games, interactive maps, searchable databases, drone and sensor journalism promise to appeal to news consumers who are not drawn to narrative stories.
  • While an array of simple distribution platforms – Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest – is growing so are deep, focused reporting sites such as Politico or LongReads.
  • Soft advocacy news sites are opening the door for responsible coverage through the lens of what's best for the public good. Sites like Philadelphia's thenotebook.org are covering schools and are unabashedly in favor of good public schools. Increasingly, news about the built environment in cities, and the requisite planning and zoning board hearings, is coming from sites like Plan Philly or Urban Milwaukee that care about sustainable cities.
  • Finally, we are seeing robust models for collaboration driving both newspapers and public broadcasters that  amplify news, present engagement infrastructures, and widen possibilities for sponsorships.

As we search for new models, we are already seeing an increase in expert "knowledge" journalists, benedictions given to the contributions of such "activist" journalists as Glenn Greenwald, outright calls for "advocacy" journalism, and new-found discoveries of solutions journalism that are starting to suggest new roadmaps for re-imagining old itineraries.


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Speeches 2013-10-29T14:09:05+00:00
<![CDATA[Women Media Entrepreneurs - Making New Ideas Happen]]> Posted To: Workshops & Training > Summits

Event Date: Sept. 12, 2013
Location: National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

Sept. 12, National Press Club
529 14th St. NW, Washington, DC

Co-sponsored by J-Lab, the National Press Club Journalism Institute, and AU's MA in Media Entrepreneurship program.

Funded by the Gannett Foundation and the Ethics and Excellence
in Journalism Foundation

We brought together women entrepreneurs who have launched media projects large and small. The shared how they are moving their ideas forward and offered advice on the best digital tools and strategies.

Read speaker bios.

See the presentations on J-Lab's Vimeo channel.


AGENDA
8:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast
9 a.m. Welcome, Introductions
9:15 a.m.  Give Me the Money

  • Grants  -  Nicole Hollway, General Manager, St. Louis Beacon
  • Advertising  - Diane Alverio, Founder  Latino News Network
  • Venture Capital - Melinda Wittstock, Founder CEO, NewsIT.net  

10:30 Break
10:45 a.m.  Making Your Startup Work 

  • Strategic Partnering - Michele Kayal, Co-Founder, American Food Roots
  • Bringing in Revenue - Jeanne Pinder, CEO &  Founder, ClearHealthCosts.com
  • E-Products - Laura Fraser, Rachel Greenfeld, Co-Founder, SheBooks

NOON Lunch

"Want to Truly Understand and Engage Your Audience? Tips and Tricks for Today's Online World"
VANESSA FOX, Author, "Marketing in the Age of Google," Creator of Google Webmaster Central, Founder and CEO, Nine by Blue.

1:30 p.m. Digital Tools for the Media Entrepreneur 

  • Using and Tracking Social Media for the Media Entrepreneur Mandy Jenkins, Interactives Editor, Digital First Media 
  • 10 Tools for any Digital Entrepreneurs' Toolkit - Jody Brannon - Editor, Next America on National Journal at Atlantic Media
  • Media Entrepreneurs: 5 Things to Do and 5 Things to Avoid. Takeaways from Working on Two Startups. Ju-Don Roberts, former GM and Senior VP Everyday Health, Executive Editor of Beliefnet, Managing Editor, washingtonpost.com

2:45 p.m. Open Dialogue with Participants
3:30 p.m. Adjourn


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Summits 2013-09-12T18:23:38+00:00
<![CDATA[2013 AEJMC Luncheon - Journalism Collaborations: What Works]]> Posted To: Workshops & Training > Summits

Event Date: August 10, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 12:15pm - 1:30pm

Increasingly, old media news organizations and new media startups are collaborating, sharing content, co-producing  stories and linking to one another's articles. And old and new media news outlets are building new partnerships with journalism schools, with Montclair State leading the way.

Front-line innovoators discuss how all these partnerships are working at the annual J-Lab-hosted luncheon, held in Washington, D.C.

Funded by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation

MODERATING:
Jan Schaffer, J-Lab Executive Director and Entrepreneur in Residence, American University

PANELISTS:
Debbie Galant, Director, NJ News Commons, Montclair State

Jen Rothacker, Innovations Editor, The Charlotte Observer

Cornelious Swart, Online Engagement Specialist, The Oregonian/Oregonian News Network

J-Lab/ AEJMC 2013 Luncheon - Journalism Collaborations: What Works from J-Lab on Vimeo.


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Summits 2013-08-10T16:14:48+00:00
<![CDATA[Public Broadcasters Beefing up Local News, Taking on New Roles in their Media Ecosystems]]> Posted To: Press Releases

 

July 8, 2013
For immediate release
Contact: Jan Schaffer
jans@j-lab.org, 202-885-8100

 

Washington, D.C. – Unfettered by competitive pressures and fortified by their trusted brand, public broadcasters in many states and cities are finding new ways to engage in more local news – especially more investigative and enterprise journalism – than ever before, according to a new J-Lab report.

From unprecedented mergers to unique partnerships, from shared workspace to shared reporters, creative approaches are helping public radio and television stations step up to new roles in their local news ecosystems. In the process, some are becoming critical linchpins for state and metro-wide news networks. 

In the report, News Chops: Beefing up the Journalism in Local Public Broadcasting, J-Lab examines through nine case studies, developments, large and small, that have occurred within the last year.

The report finds that many public broadcasters, motivated by cutbacks at newspapers and thinner wire-service offerings, are boosting resources by partnering in resourceful ways with news start-ups that have proven their merit.

Of note, while legacy news organizations increasingly erect paywalls in front of their journalism, these local public broadcasters are tearing down walls to reach out to news partners in win-win scenarios where they get deep content and their partners get valued exposure.

The report profiles the creation of statewide news cooperatives in Oregon and Connecticut and New Jersey, building newsrooms from scratch in Denver and New Orleans, merging two existing newsrooms in St. Louis, and adding reporting firepower in San Diego, Salt Lake City and western North Carolina.

Several of the public broadcasters are striving to make local content “ubiquitous” and give it a long tail. Many find they are attracting additional members and support in the process.

In the communities examined, there is a pronounced sense of being in the vanguard of change.

“If we get it right, “ said Margie Freivogel, founding editor of the St. Loius Beacon, who is willing to merge with St. Louis Public Radio to create a newsroom with 26 people. “We have the beginning of a blueprint for how to create a vigorous news organization that serves a region and takes advantage of the assets of public media. I think it’s a very important possibility.”

The report was produced with funding from the Wyncote Foundation and supplemental support from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.


J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism is an incubator for igniting news ideas that work by funding pilot projects, awarding innovations and sharing practical insights from years of working with news creators. It is a center of American University’s School of Communication.


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J-Lab Press Releases 2013-07-08T14:38:52+00:00