Rebecca MacKinnon says that journalism schools need to teach students to be more entrepreneurial. I agree that that’s why I added an entrepreneurial course that I will teach to the curriculum of CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism (you won’t find it online; it’s new).
The idea is that students need to create a new journalistic product. These could be businesses the students start when they graduate (and because they may have the next Google in mind, this will be the one course I won’t webcast) or a product they could start in an existing media company (because they are all woefully short on R&D) or even a charitable endeavor (but even in this case, they need to show why people would give money to make it work).
American journalism is in crisis. What a wonderful opportunity we now have to rethink the whole industry. The question is: Even if journalism schools do train the future’s journalists to innovate and think outside the box, will today’s news organizations be prepared or willing to take advantage of their fresh ideas?
I find it pleasantly ironic that while some in journalism wish it weren’t a business, others want to train journalists to be better at business. Count me in the second camp and see my other posts on the topic today.
Brian Horey, general partner of Aurelian Partners, does a good job defending Knight Ridder’s investors in emails to Dan Gillmor.
Susan Crawford, bearer of one of the most dazzling brains online, has perfect advice for the old-media people who think search is an enemy. European publishers complained about Google making money off “their content” when the truth is that Google is sending prospective members to “their” communities if only they were ready to welcome them. Susan says:
What Google does is respond to search queries by providing snippets — thumbnail pictures and a line of text here, a line from a page there, a headline — and helping people get to where those things were posted. That’s pointing, not copying, and it’s a key element of Web 2.0.
The publishers, and the news agencies, are having trouble with this evolution — heck, they had enough trouble with Web 1.0, much less the groupness we’re seeing now– and are relying on incumbent laws (like copyright law) to protect their ability to charge for content.
But there’s a great opportunity here that shouldn’t be missed: news companies can become not only providers of great stories (well-researched, well-written, unlike blog posts) but also sources of order. There is so much information now — we need help! We need priority, and sense of impact, and sense of global connections. We need visualizations, and links, and commentary. All of these things are valuable. We’ll pay — with our attention, our loyalty to the brand, and maybe even with money if the reporters’ own personalities are allowed out to play.
A search engine, alone, can’t provide this kind of judgment. Not even Google can say which story is likely to have an important impact on our collective future. There is a Web 2.0 model for publishers, and they can only get there by letting go.
I think it’s about order and also about relationships, about connecting people to information and each other.
Well, just as I write that American publishers aren’t facing the reality of life after presses, Donald Graham of the Washington Post starts to sing a new tune:
Washington Post chairman Don Graham said publicly for the first time this week that the future of news is on the Internet, not in print newspapers like the Washington Post.
“The Web site simply has to come through, ours and that of other newspapers, for us to be successful,” Graham told investment analysts Wednesday in New York.
Graham delivered the keynote address for UBS Bank’s annual Global Media Conference. His speech focused on how the Internet is dramatically changing the way he runs his company.
“Our Web competitors, Google in particular, are coming up with clever new products which are designed to make our life harder,” Graham said. “Young readers are less inclined to read us than I would have guessed.”
After detailing the strengths that print journalism still holds–chief among them the effectiveness of print advertising–Graham acknowledged that the Internet can do some things better.
“The business is changing faster than I expected,” Graham said. As an example, he offered the Post’s coverage of Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
[Hat tip: Jay]
My Media Guardian column Monday will be a version of the Last Presses post; I’ll link to that when it’s up.
Business Week is abandoning print for its international editions to emphasize online instead:
BusinessWeek announced today that it will reposition its approach to global markets. A greater emphasis will be placed on providing online news, analysis and information and on developing local language publications while maintaining a single flagship print product.
“We have decided to create robust, customized Asian and European versions of our popular BusinessWeek Online Web site, while delivering a single global edition of BusinessWeek magazine instead of providing separate regional versions,” said Stephen J. Adler, Editor-in-Chief of BusinessWeek. “We are taking this action to harness the growing power of the Web globally and to serve readers and advertisers in a more timely, efficient, and targeted way.”
I have no idea how the international print editions were doing and whether this is more of a retreat from international or a push into online; obviously, it’s positioned as the latter.