Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Education, Innovation, journalism, multimedia journalist, Technology

Create or Die 2: Journalists, Innovators and Investors

By Mike Green, award-winning journalist and Chief Information Officer and a co-founder of the Black Innovation and Competitiveness Initiative

Editor’s note: please join NABJ’s Digital Journalism Task Force TODAY for a free webinar, Tapping our Oral Traditions: How To Add A Podcast To Your Print Story, from noon to 1:00 p.m. EDT.  Join multimedia journalist Vanessa Deggins as she shows how to create a podcast to accompany a print story. She will allow us to listen to some of her work and she’ll answer questions on how you can get started. The NABJDigital blog will also have links to resources Deggins recommends for producing podcasts.

What happens when you combine the intellect and innovative talks of TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) with the high energy, passion and zeal of SXSW (South By Southwest: Music, Film, Interactive) and channel it into the media industry?

You get “Create or Die.”

Journalism That Matters is the umbrella organization that gave birth to this new paradigm of innovative spontaneous collaborations within the construct of a new kind of conference where people engage with the passionate purpose of bringing ideas to fruition.

“Journalism That Matters is known for creating high-energy, high-passion gatherings,” said Dr. Michelle Ferrier, one of the event’s organizers.  “Our goal is to bring together a network of thought leaders and doers in the digital space to reimagine a news ecology that serves all of us. Participants are always amazed at the creativity and action generated at the sessions. ”

Create or Die 2 (Innovate, Incubate, Initiate) is the second iteration of an event that focuses on journalism innovation and diversity. Building upon the success of the first Create or Die conference held in Detroit last year, Create or Die 2 will be held June 2 – 5, 2011, on the campus of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

“The challenges of bringing more diverse voices and creating more viable business models are issues that can be and should be addressed together in the journalism world. As new media finds its place, we can shift a tragic trend by bringing more resources and energy to involving an increasingly diverse public,” said Peggy Holman, co-founder of Journalism That Matters and author of Engaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity.

Imagine a gathering of highly energized innovators from across myriad industry sectors engaging with entrepreneurial-minded journalists within a series of “unconference” style sessions that promote brainstorming, sharing, collaboration and production of new ideas that can be matched to interested funders.

“The design, build, pitch format is designed to create a ‘competition’ with people cooperating on innovating new journalism entrepreneurial ventures,” said Ferrier. “We want more people and communities of color engaged in telling their own stories and finding the means to do so through innovation.”

It’s no secret the media industry is influx. A transformation has occurred that disrupted old business models and encouraged journalists to embrace entrepreneurial endeavors that capitalize upon their knowledge, skills and broad connections. New technologies have opened doors to new opportunities. Journalists who once witnessed their innovative ideas wither and die within the management of deadline-driven newsrooms have found new life within a collaborative entrepreneurial ecosystem comprised of game developers, technologists, entrepreneurs, educators, investors, artists, filmmakers, etc.

The three day event is expected to bring more than 100 journalists, technologists, bloggers, educators, hackers, funders, community activists, designers, social entrepreneurs, and others who care about telling stories in diverse communities.  The format provides attendees with the opportunity to discuss those topics that are most pressing, while creating effective projects that bring real solutions.

“We have two main goals,” Ferrier said.  “One, is to bring together a dynamic, diverse group of participants who can examine the shifting media landscape for journalism entrepreneurial opportunities. Two, we want to leverage the knowledge network we’ve created to advance systemic changes in the distribution of funds, resources and knowledge to people and communities of color for journalism enterprises.”


Dr. Michelle Ferrier is vice president of Journalism That Matters based in Seattle. She is an associate professor in the School of Communications at Elon University.  She is also the founder of, a a hyperlocal website focused on allowing citizen journalists and community members to build their community conversation through good local information and networking.  You can read the NABJDigital profile of her here.  For more information and to register to attend Create or Die 2, visit the website at



Home of the National Association of Black Journalists's (NABJ's) Digital Journalism Task Force

One thought on “Create or Die 2: Journalists, Innovators and Investors

  1. Mike, thanks for the great article about Create or Die 2! We’re excited to be hosting this event in Greensboro and have three regional incubators committed to supporting three local teams. We know you’ll be there…we’re hoping to see other DJTF and NABJ members there as well!

    Dr. Michelle Ferrier
    Elon University

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s