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December 17 2010


Journalism students need to be taught advertising, branding, building relationships, says ad entrepreneur

Journalism students must be taught about advertising, building relationships and branding – a football writer turned advertising entrepreneur told delegates at news:rewired today.

Rick Waghorn, founder of locally-focused advertising network Addiply, said that if we want to build a pyramid of news we have to start at the bottom level based on a local advertising market and messages.

Waghorn told the audience that he had a lightbulb moment when he read an article by Clay Shirky and Craig Newmark claiming that the only saviour for newspapers was a time machine.

The first person he met on his road to Damascus was an ex-ad man. They teamed up to create Addiply, which has helped hundreds of hyperlocal sites earn more from advertising than they would through Google Adsense. The idea has also being adopted by big media, including the Guardian which has applied the system to its its local sites. Addiply is also translating to the U.S market.

But if journalist students followed Waghorn’s advice, they would find themselves having a vastly different career to the kind envisaged in the YouTube clip below, which was shown by panelist Molly Flatt of 1,000heads.

It was striking how almost all the panelists in the branding and entrepreneurialism session had strong ideas that were formed at transitional moments of their life.

The advice from Rory Brown, founder of Briefing Media, is that business-to-business publishing is the place to be. Rory Brown’s own changing consumption of media inspired him to launch the company, which produces the online title The Media Briefing.

He told delegates that he was starting to consume media from lots of different places around the world and no longer went through the simple ritual of reading the Guardian on a Monday or Marketing magazine weekly.

Brown said that his reading habits had fragmented massively and it occurred to him that it would be useful to put all that content in one place and save people the time of building up a network.

Alex Wood‘s Not on the Wires was inspired by a desire to get closer to the story through the use of mobile technology. Formed with two other young journalists, they pioneered their approach to reporting from the field at the G20 protests in London.

They have formed a network of related organisations with like-minded companies, using Not on the Wires as a shop window for their work.

“We have done a lot of unpaid work, we have done a lot of late nights,” he said. “We do it because we are passionate about it.”

Wood admitted that the idea of entrepreneurial journalism would get laughed out of the door at the business schools he attended in Wales and Japan.

Alex Wood at news:rewired:

July 09 2010


The Journalism Firm: What journalists have to learn from lawyers

Responding to ongoing discussion of the idea of journalists as entrepreneurs, videojournalism pioneer Michael Rosenblum suggests a new model for independent journalists going forward – the law firm:

Lawyers, (while it is true some become employees), tend to organise themselves in partnerships in which they pool their skills and their business.

A law firm hires its talents out to many clients.  A Journalism Firm (to craft an interesting idea) would do the same. A partnership of journalists would contract with various magazines, newspapers, television stations and websites to offer content, as a law firm offers work. In this way, they would also be insulated from the predictable disaster if one newspaper or one magazine went under.

The Journalism Firm would be a partnership, and as a good law firm combines the high paying M&A with the lower paying family practice, so too could a Journalism Firm combine the low paying investigative journalism with the high paying Public Relations. Don’t cringe. Many of our grads go into PR and can make a fortune. It’s the same skill set.

Full post on Rosenblum TV at this link…Similar Posts:

January 18 2010


NUJ’s making journalism pay online: five points

NUJ logoThe NUJ’s New Ways to Make Journalism Pay conference on Saturday brought together a group of journalists and entrepreneurs who are making money through online journalism in the UK. Many of the speakers had toiled to build brands online, and those that had were now running sustainable businesses. If the future of journalism is entrepreneurial, then these speakers are evidence of it.

You can read a breakdown of all the speakers’ points at Ian Wylie’s blog and if you scroll back on my twitter account @Coneee. Here are five points from the conference that jumped out at me.

1. Getting to a sustainable position is difficult.

David Parkin, founder of Thebusinessdesk.com, took two years to raise the £300,000 he thought he’d need to survive an estimated 18 months of operating at a loss. In the end it only took 9 months after an expansion into the Northwest, but it was still very “hairy.” He had to “make noise”: put up posters, give away coffee on the street, and branded mints to posh restaurants where businesspeople dined. Daniel Johnston, founder of Indusdelta.co.uk, had to live off his savings for the first 18 months. The site is now profitable, and supports the salary of another staff member.

2. The rules of the journalism game aren’t changed by the internet.

Paul Staines of the Guido Fawkes blog gets up at 6.30AM, and is still up when Newsnight is on in the late evening. He hasn’t got any ins with big politicians, and most of his news comes from disgruntled interns. No wonder! David Parkin found that for him, starting a successful venture was still “very much about contacts.” Daniel Johnston, although professing to not know whether he was a journalist, borrowed the principle of independence from good journalism: providing a counter point to the Government view (which he said was “gospel” before he came along) of the welfare-to-work industry also allowed him to build a sustainable business.

3. Traditional media doesn’t do investigative journalism.

Gavid MacFadyean, director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism, said 75% of investigative journalism is now done by foundations or NGOs. This is because of cost cutting at newspapers and in TV, but also because foundations offer a far more effective environment for investigative journalism. Gavid said: “Foundations say just do your worst, and we’re trying! It’s no strings attached money,” which seems to be bliss compared to less independent advertising-supported models.

4. Email is important.

Many of the speakers had collected the email addresses of their readers in the tens or hundreds of thousands, allowing them to quickly notify readers of news, while also opening up possibilities for making money. David Parkin recalled success with sending emails when the interest rates changed. By providing this information within 2-3 minutes (speed which the BBC and “big media” don’t bother with) after it had happened, businesspeople could be more informed. Angie Sammons of Liverpool Confidential said having an email list of interested individuals means you can directly provide them with sponsored offers, making you money and also helping your readers.

5. Local freelance journalism is dying.

Since this was an NUJ conference organised by the London freelance branch, it’s not surprising that the room was full of freelance writers, many of them used to pitching stories to editors of local newspapers. Note that many seemed to be “used to” doing this. A combination of a crash in rates, an unwillingness for local editors to commission work and the virtual impossibility for newcomers to get their first (paid) start gave me the impression that it’s never been harder to get work as a freelance local journalist. Fortunately, the overriding message from the day was it’s never been easier to make it online.

Also see:

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