Ink-stained entrepreneurs

Ink-stained entrepreneurs
: It hit me a few months ago, when I was working on a proposal for the Citizens’ Media Center:

For the first time in memory, a journalism student can act like an entrepreneur. Before, if you wanted to write or publish, you had to go to the guy who owned the printing press (or the broadcast tower). Now, thanks to easy, inexpensive publishing tools (read: blogs) tied to history’s best distribution network (the Internet), anyone can start publishing to the world and even make a business of it (see Gawker or PaidContent).

All of this is a long intro to a comment Rafat Ali left on the Northwestern/Advance blog investigating hyperlocal citizens’ media:

I do think besides the potential of citizen media, it is time for journalism education to wake up to the facts.

It is time that journalism schools taught some real skills just beyond the actual writing and reporting…

It would be great if a cultural movement based on blogs leads to entry-level journalist starting their own sites/blogs which develop into independent and profitable ventures. Maybe only a few of these would end up becoming into a sustainable enterprise, but I do believe this is the moment for the individual journalist-entrepreneur. The so-called “Free Agent Nation”, a concept which became very trendy during the 90s boom, could finally become a reality for journalists. What is needed is the passion to cover an area you want to cover, and some amount of businesss acumen. Or at least plug into a business infrastructure (of the kind Jeff has written about elsewhere before) that would allow them to develop great editorial products…

Yet more for the Bloggercon session on Making Blogs Make Money.