Teaching Examples

What do we mean by entrepreneurial?
March 30, 2007, 11:20 pm
Filed under: business, education, journalism

This word “entrepreneurial” is popping up a lot in the journalism blogs lately.

A reader called “Mac” left this comment on an earlier post (The changing skill set for journalists):

Technology and multimedia skills are certainly important, but the entrepreneurial aspects are absolutely vital for future journalists. I certainly wish *I* had been given a heads-up on the business/content pressures. I had to learn it the hard way, which I suppose has its virtues, but there’s no reason why J-students can’t enter the workforce with at least a cursory understanding of business models, revenue streams and advertising influences.

The same class — or unit, or lesson — could also incorporate job search strategies. Knowing where to look, who to talk to, and what to search for are all important skills.

Last September, Jeff Jarvis said he was starting a new university course about entrepreneurial journalism. “The idea is that students will come up with and flesh out ideas for new businesses or products,” he wrote. Maybe he’ll give us an update.

Maybe entrepreneurialism in journalism is not the same as “entrepreneurial journalism.” It sounds rather too similar to “enterprise journalism,” in my view. Bill Moyers once said, “I don’t think there’s a lot of independent, entrepreneurial journalism which says, let’s really ask if Colin Powell’s speech to the United Nations is accurate or not.” That would be the other sense — entrepreneurial journalists are those who are not just rewriting the press release.

Rebecca MacKinnon wrote this in December 2005:

Journalism schools need to teach students to be more entrepreneurial, and disabuse them of the belief that they will be able to count on a full-time steady job at a single news organization for long periods of time. Freelancing and frequent job-hopping are now the norm. This can be a liberating and empowering situation if one does not fear it and knows how to take advantage of it. To be better equipped for the future, students must learn how to develop their own journalistic credibility and reputations for excellence which they can carry from employer to employer — or from freelance gig to freelance gig. They also need to equip themselves with specialized knowledge and distinctive styles so that they can stand out from the crowd and make themselves uniquely valuable.

This notion ties into the idea of a stand-alone journalist, as described by Jay Rosen and moreso by Chris Nolan:

These are not bloggers. They are people who are using blogging technology — software that allows them to quickly publish their work and broadcast it on the Internet — to find and attract users. They understand that the barrier to entry in this new business isn’t getting published; anyone can do that. The barrier to entry is finding an audience.

David Nordfors offered this in a post discussing how journalism is now subject to Moore’s law (the continual exponential compression of processing power, or, in Nordfors’s paraphrase: “Things entering the market in two years time will have double the capacity of the stuff being released today”):

Many newsrooms are bothered by introducing new tools and routines. They better start enjoying it, because as from now, as soon as they have made a change, they need start planning for changing it again.

The news industry is about to join the family of R&D-intensive innovation industries. Can the old news industry do it? Those who don’t risk being toppled by the new kids on the block.

Well, I hope you will leave a few comments for me about what you think “entrepreneurial” means for journalism.

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Under the hood: washingtonpost.com’s new look
March 30, 2007, 9:34 pm
Filed under: design, journalism, newspapers, online, usability

I was wondering when The Washington Post was going to comment about its Web redesign on its nice behind-the-scenes blog. Now they have:

To better highlight our award-winning video and photo content, we’ve added a multimedia strip to the page. This band will be comprised of videos, photos and interactives, and by using the scroll arrows or the iTunes-like buttons, you can scroll to see more multimedia features. We’ve also created a similar strip for features content, allowing us to better showcase all the content we have in that area.

This is pretty nifty (although kinda far down on the page).

Much, much more detail in the blog post.

Predictably, many people have commented about how much they HATE the new look. I’m sure plenty of people like it (I do), but they are not taking the time to post their opinions.

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If only I could be in Pamplona
March 30, 2007, 4:30 am
Filed under: design, graphics, journalism

Nice blogging (in English) from Malofiej in Pamplona, Spain (March 25-30). I wish I could have seen the presentation by Matt Ericson of The New York Times.

Our favorite analogy was from Shan Carter in online graphics at nytimes.com (and our former colleague at The Merc), who says that he’s trying to build work for “both Bart and Lisa Simpson,” meaning that it can be surface and simple (like Bart) or deeper and thoughtful (like Lisa). It’s a good way to think about making work that appeals to two very different kinds of readers.

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How to get started in photojournalism
March 29, 2007, 5:51 pm
Filed under: education, jobs, multimedia, photojournalism, training

Jim McNay — former NPPA president and current photojournalism director at the Brooks School of Photography — has put together “a comprehensive, accessable, honest-but-not-too-discouraging compilation of issues professional journalists may face. He gives a lot of details about educational requirements, economics, technology and convergence and other issues,” writes Jack Zibluk, of Arkansas State University.

Getting Started in Photojournalism

Here’s what McNay says about my favorite topic:

Wherever one gets it, entry-level photographers can no longer just think of themselves as “just” still photographers. Still photographs are part of the content package that includes slide shows with music, recorded audio of the story’s subjects, narrated audio, and eventually, video story telling. Once can begin with still and audio slide shows while in school. This will help carry a photographer into the video world.

Naples Daily News staff photographer Lexey Swall notes, “The Naples Daily News has gone to a ‘web first’ philosophy — meaning that the website is where we put the stories and photos the moment they are finished.” She adds, “Then the web acts as a ‘news service’ for our print edition, where ideally, we will do more in depth coverage of a given story and hopefully not regurgitate what people have already read on the Web.”

This approach is one sweeping the printed media industry as magazines and newspapers “move to the Web” which is now seen by managers as the new profit center for those companies that produce “content.”

At the Journal News in White Plains, New York Deputy Managing Editor for Presentation Larry Nylund says, “The list of qualifications we look for in a photojournalism applicant just got a lot longer.”


“The photo department [is] now known as the multimedia department,” Nylund says. “We are looking for talented people who can step in with the skills needed to tell visual stories in many different ways.”

The photographers in Nylund’s department contribute to the newspaper, magazines, weekly tabloids, a television station and a Website. Photographers carry still and video cameras, laptops, cell phones. The company now has video and audio studios.

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Evidence of the Reddit effect
March 29, 2007, 5:42 am
Filed under: audiences, blogs

Crazy — one link on Reddit.

March 29, 1:30 a.m.

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Telling the whole world about citizen media
March 28, 2007, 1:02 pm
Filed under: citizen journalism, hyperlocal, international

Proponents of so-called citizen journalism want to maintain the momentum and spread the idea:

OhmyNews plans to establish a global network of international citizen media Web sites … while developing a global resource site of citizen journalism with relevant contents in the future.

The well-known Korean Web site (which is often touted as one of the most successful citizen journalism efforts anywhere in the world) dangles a free trip to Seoul as a carrot to entice people to research and write about citizen media in their home country.

OhmyNews would like to open up research into independent citizen journalism Web sites around the world and introduce them to our global readers. And we intend to conduct this research the OhmyNews way — open source and collaborative. For the successful implementation of this project, the participation of our international citizen reporters is absolutely required.

The article invites you to contact Todd Thacker, senior editor, or Jean K. Min, communications director of OhmyNews — but there is no contact info included.

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Why Al Jazeera English is blocked in the U.S.
March 28, 2007, 4:05 am
Filed under: international, journalism, journalists, news

Finally, I’m happy that I watched an episode of Frontline’s “News War” series on TV. The first three were very disappointing — stuffy, predictable, old-fashioned and dull.

In the fourth installment, “Stories from a Small Planet,” the series focuses on something that is not old and stale. It is the biggest uncovered story in the U.S. — the rest of the world.

The first half focuses on Al Jazeera and some other Arab or Near East-based television networks, including Alhurra TV, the U.S. government-funded network (where our tax dollars are hard at work, spreading propaganda abroad). While not quite as informative as the documentary Control Room (2003), “Stories from a Small Planet” provides a decently paced overview of broadcast journalism outside the Western countries. The second half skips around and ignores Latin America and Africa, but briefly looks at the Philippines and China.

Now, as to why the whole of the United States is prevented from receiving the global news channel Al Jazeera English — via cable or satellite network. Look no further than Accuracy in Media. Yes, the ultra-conservative media watchdog organization. There they are, proudly showing off letters from their campaign to inform every U.S. cable and satellite provider about just how harmful and dangerous Al Jazeera English would be if it were broadcast in the U.S.

Since when are Americans opposed to an open marketplace of ideas?

I’ve said it before — I would pay a premium to get Al Jazeera English on my cable TV lineup. I would like to hear other points of view. Not because I am anti-American, but because I don’t think we can know what’s true if opposing views are censored.

There’s a ton of supplemental material online for “Stories from a Small Planet” at the Frontline/World site:

Update: Here is what Accuracy in Media published about Al Jazeera English in November 2006:

The American people do not want Al-Jazeera International in their homes or businesses. In fact, a recent poll revealed that 53 percent of people oppose Al-Jazeera International, while only 29 percent support the channel. Unfortunately, the Bush Administration has not responded quickly enough to the rise of Al-Jazeera International, and it was recently reported that the network will launch on November 15, though at this point there are no U.S. cable companies that have announced plans to carry it. When asked to comment on the new Al-Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar, Director General of the Al-Jazeera Network, stated ominously, “The new channel will provide the same ground-breaking news and impartial and balanced journalism to the English speaking world.” Indeed, Khanfar sardonically supports Kincaid’s assertions that Al-Jazeera International and the Arabic Al-Jazeera are entirely similar. Kincaid warns that this issue is of the utmost importance, and if Al-Jazeera makes waves on American cable, then the possibility of suicide bombers in America could lurk close behind.

It is interesting that they refer to a supposed poll and never name the poll or provide any information about who sponsored the poll, when or where the poll was conducted, or what questions were asked in the poll.

If 29 percent of Americans polled supposedly “support” the channel, why is not being carried on any U.S. satellite or cable service?

And how is it possible that a supposed 53 percent of Americans “oppose” Al Jazeera — when they have never even seen it? How can you oppose something that you have no experience with — an information source you have never seen? Do they oppose it because the poll-takers described it to them as the network that will create “the possibility of suicide bombers in America”? Hm?

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