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MEDIA ENTREPRENEURSHIP How To Chart Your Own Path in the News Business
Spring 2013 preview syllabus • T/TH, 2-3:20 p.m. • Pre-req: Instructor consent Instructors Jake Batsell, Assistant Professor, 2012 Scripps Howard Journalism Entrepreneurship fellow Mark Vamos, O’Neil Chair of Business Journalism, former editor-in-chief of Fast Company
“There’s never been a better time, I tell students, to be a journalistic entrepreneur — to invent your own job, to become part of the generation that figures out how to produce and, yes, sell the journalism we desperately need as a society and as citizens of a shrinking planet.” -- Dan Gillmor, director, Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship “You don’t have to go work for some company that is trying to get journalism on the cheap by paying you $30,000 a year. Start something on your own. Report and don’t just repeat. And don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is good for the soul.” -- James O’Shea, former editor of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune
In Media Entrepreneurship, we’ll explore how you can combine your creative passion and versatile skills to shape your own media career. A generation ago, young journalists could aspire to master one skill or platform and work for the same company for decades. No more. The job you’ll have in 10 years may not even exist today. You’ll likely change jobs frequently throughout your career, and you’ll need to create your own job. Here’s the good news: the Web eliminates barriers to entry and gives you more control over your fate. In this hands-on class, you’ll learn how to develop a new media business plan in a loose, experiential atmosphere, bouncing ideas off your instructors and classmates. You’ll also learn the basics of freelancing and self-employment, and you’ll be introduced to ideas from leading entrepreneurial journalists and guest speakers. We hope you’ll take what you learn from this class to become your own boss. Maybe now, maybe later … when opportunity knocks, you’ll be ready. Learning outcomes are expected in three main areas. You will: Understand the entrepreneurial landscape of the changing media industry ● Discover the startup culture as a possible career pathway. ● Analyze the editorial mission and business fundamentals of a media startup. ● Realize that you can deploy entrepreneurial ideas to become an “intrapraneur” within a larger organization, boosting your appeal as an employee. Grasp the basic principles of freelancing and self-employment ● Understand the professional, financial, legal and regulatory framework of self-employment. ● Develop and polish a freelance pitch. ● Strengthen your personal brand through social media and your online portfolio. Conceive, develop and pitch an entrepreneurial project ● Distinguish between an idea (something you’d like to do) and an opportunity (something the market needs); clearly state a value proposition. ● Understand the pros and cons of different types of startup funding. ● Develop a business plan bolstered by rigorous market research and competitive analysis. ● Construct and deliver a pitch.
Text: Entrepreneurial Journalism: How to Build What’s Next for News by Mark Briggs (CQ Press/SAGE Publications, 2012) We’ll also track the latest developments in entrepreneurial news via blogs, video and social media. Grading: Class and online participation (Attendance, in-class exercises, guest speakers, reactions on course blog and social media) Written and oral presentation on a news startup Freelance pitch Create (or optimize) your Web portfolio Final Business Plan and Pitch 20 percent
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PRELIMINARY CLASS SCHEDULE
Introduction | Understanding the past and present of the news ecosystem.
Week Two: Get Inspired | Traits of successful news startups. (Startup presentation assigned) Week Three: Think Big | Conceive, craft and pitch your initial idea. Week Four: Painkillers, Not Vitamins | Does the market need your idea? Your value proposition. Week Five: Week Six:
The Freelancer as Entrepreneur | Breaking into the freelance market. (Freelance pitch assigned) You, Inc. | The nuts and bolts of self-employment. (Web portfolios assigned)
Week Seven: You.com | Strengthening your personal brand. Work on Web portfolios. Week Eight: Show Me the Money| Pros and cons of different types of startup capital. Week Nine: Due Diligence | Sharpening your target audience and analyzing the competition. Week Ten:
Show Me the Su$tainability | Identifying revenue streams; crafting your business plan.
Week Eleven: Taking Care of Business | Work on your business plan. Week Twelve: Demos, Not Memos | Create your prototype. Week Thirteen: The Art of the Pitch | Work on your business plan and pitch. Weeks Fourteen and Fifteen: Showtime! | Final pitches.