Posted in Entrepreneur, Innovation, journalism

Finding Your Entrepreneurial Inspiration

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

I am a journalist who has never been interested in following the entrepreneur path.  I just don’t have the desire or the mindset to do it.  But I know plenty of journalists who are thinking of or actually following their entrepreneurial dreams as a way to stay in the game as newsrooms continue with job cuts.  And I feel the Digital Journalism Task Force has a responsibility to help those follow those dreams.

Last week’s layoffs by Gannett and Media General brought up the entrepreneurial discussion once again.  My good friend — and partner in crime — Doug Mitchell is about to start year two of the New U: News Entrepreneurs Working Through UNITY competitive program.  Thanks to a grant from the Ford Foundation, New U helps journalists of color who want to become entrepreneurs by having them    participate in a national “boot camp”.  It offers training and one-on-one mentoring and a competition for start-up funding to assist news entrepreneurs in realizing their ideas.

This year’s National Association of Black Journalists’ annual convention and career fair includes four workshops — including year two of Sheila Brooks’ day long “Creating Wealth in an Innovation Economy” session — on entrepreneurship at this year’s convention.  And NABJ has the first Ray Taliaferro NABJ Entrepreneurial Spirit Award winner.

But beyond the convention, what is our organization’s commitment to helping members fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams?  I’m inspired by the efforts of members including NABJ Secretary Roland Martin, Mike Green, co-founder of the Black Innovation and Competitiveness Initiative, Meta Mereday, Editor in Chief of Savoy Magazine, Retha Hill, Executive Director of the Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab at Arizona State University, Dr. Sybril Bennett, Associate Professor of the New Century Journalism Program at Belmont University, and Doug Mitchell, co-chair of NABJ’s Media Institute, co-director of the New U program and an adjunct professor instructor at the City College of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism. among others.

I thank Dr. Syb for sending me a great example of bible scripture Isaiah 11:6: The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.

NABJ historian Wayne Sutton writes at Black Web 2.0 about the entrepreneurial dreams of two 11-year-olds — Marci Lawson and Ben Brown — who pitched their ideas at the recent Triangle Startup Weekend in Durham, N.C.  Clips of their presentations are below.  They can be an inspiration to us all!

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Posted in journalism, multimedia journalist, Webinar

DJTF Offers Replay of NABJ Presidential Online Forum

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

Last night, the Digital Journalism Task Force held an online forum for the candidates — VP Print Deirdre Childress, Treasurer Greg Lee, and Region II Director Charles Robinson — running for the presidency of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Our questioners were:

  • Dr. Sybril Bennett, Associate Professor of the New Century Journalism Program at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., and Programming Chair for this year’s NABJ convention;
  • Mike Green, Chief Information Officer and a co-founder of the Black Innovation and Competitiveness Initiative; he led award-winning online community engagement projects for the Dow Jones Local Media Group and is also a blogger at Huffington Post; and
  • Mark S. Luckie, National Innovations Editor at the Washington Post, creator of the 10000 Words blog and author of The Digital Journalist’s Handbook.

We had a lively discussion on issues ranging from support for entrepreneurial journalism projects to expanding NABJ membership adapt to the new digital reality and the upcoming Online News Association’s annual convention this fall in Boston.

For those of you who could not attend the webinar is here.  Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, the last 20 minutes of the webinar were not recorded.  But there’s more than enough for NABJ members to get a full understanding of the candidates’ views on digital journalism.  Enjoy!

Posted in Education, journalism, multimedia journalist, Webinar

Join DJTF For An NABJ Presidential Candidate Online Forum

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

On Monday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m. EDT, the Digital Journalism Task Force will be holding an online forum for the candidates — VP Print Deirdre Childress, Treasurer Greg Lee, and Region II Director Charles Robinson — running for the presidency of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Digital journalism continues to quickly evolve and shape our industry, and we’re seeing an emphasis on all things digital at this year’s convention.  So the members of DJTF felt a forum to question the candidates on their knowledge on all things digital was in order.

I will moderate the event.  The monitor will be NABJ Elections Committee member and DJTF Treasurer Melanie Eversley of USA Today.  We will use the traditional Q&A format.

The questioners will be:

  • Dr. Sybril Bennett, Associate Professor of the New Century Journalism Program at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., and Programming Chair for this year’s NABJ convention;
  • Mike Green, Chief Information Officer and a co-founder of the Black Innovation and Competitiveness Initiative; he led award-winning online community engagement projects for the Dow Jones Local Media Group and is also a blogger at Huffington Post; and
  • Mark S. Luckie, National Innovations Editor at the Washington Post, creator of the 10000 Words blog and author of The Digital Journalist’s Handbook.

The focus of this debate will be on digital journalism issues, although questioners reserve the right to ask general questions about NABJ.  Each candidate will have up to 3 minutes to read an opening statement, with or without a PowerPoint presentation.

Our panelists will ask three questions each.  Responses for each question will be in rotating alphabetical order.  Each candidate will have up to two minute to respond, and panelists will be allowed to ask one follow-up question.  After the panelists have asked their questions, we will open up the lines for members to question candidates directly. Five minutes before the end of the debate, candidates will be able to give a one-minute closing statement.

DJTF feels it’s important to have an NABJ leader that is comfortable in the digital world.  I hope you will join us and bring your questions.  The next direction of NABJ depends on it!

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.”

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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 LocallyGrownNews.com, 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 http://createordie2.org.

Posted in Education, multimedia journalist, Social Media, Uncategorized

Listen to NABJDigital’s Hyperlocal Websites: Are They The Savior Of Local News?

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

Last night, the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force hosted a BlogTalkRadio show entitled “Hyperlocal Websites: Are They The Savior Of Local News?” Our guests were:

Our guests were:

  • Dr. Michelle Ferrier, an associate professor at Elon University in the School of Communications. She is the developer of a demonstration project called LocallyGrownNews.com, a hyperlocal community platform and service model focused on local food conversations. She is also a steward in Journalism That Matters, helping to spark journalism entrepreneurship nationwide.
  • Holly Edgell, one of two regional editors for Patch.com in Metro St. Louis where she is currently hiring 12 local editors, each of whom will be in charge of covering news for a community new website.  Before joining Patch.com, Edgell taught journalism at the University of Missouri and Florida A&M University. She also worked as a television news producer in a number of cities, including Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
  • Shawn P. Williams is the founder, editor and publisher of the nationally acclaimed and highly recognized DallasSouthBlog.com now known as Dallas South in June of 2006 where he serves as publisher and editor. The website has been featured on NBC Nightly News, The Chicago Tribune, CNN, NPR, BBC, and many other national outlets and is designed to promote positive images of African-Americans in the media.
  • Mike Green is a journalist-turned-entrepreneur with 14 years experience in media. He’s a New York Times Leadership Academy Fellow with training at CNN.com and he led award-winning online experiments in local community engagement for the Dow Jones Local Media Group.

We had a spirited and informative discussion on future directions of hyperlocal websites.  You can listen to the complete show here.

Posted in Education, multimedia journalist, Social Media

NABJDigital Leads Discussion On The Growth Of Hyperlocal Websites

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

On Sept. 3, I wrote an NABJDigital post discussing a series of articles and blog posts on the past, present and future of hyperlocal websites, which are being touted as one of the possible saviors of journalism.  As I wrote the post, I thought about members of the National Association of Black Journalists who had their own experiences in creating and maintaining hyperlocal websites.

So I thought this would be a great topic to cover in our monthly BlogTalkRadio chats.  We will  broadcast “Hyperlocal Websites: Are They The Savior Of Local News?” on Tuesday, Sept. 28 from 8:00-9:00 p.m. Eastern time.  Our guests will be:

  • Dr. Michelle Ferrier, an associate professor at Elon University in the School of Communications. She is the developer of a demonstration project called LocallyGrownNews.com, a hyperlocal community platform and service model focused on local food conversations. She is also a steward in Journalism That Matters, helping to spark journalism entrepreneurship nationwide.
  • Holly Edgell, one of two regional editors for Patch.com in Metro St. Louis where she is currently hiring 12 local editors, each of whom will be in charge of covering news for a community new website.  Before joining Patch.com, Edgell taught journalism at the University of Missouri and Florida A&M University. She also worked as a television news producer in a number of cities, including Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
  • Shawn P. Williams is the founder, editor and publisher of the nationally acclaimed and highly recognized DallasSouthBlog.com now known as Dallas South in June of 2006 where he serves as publisher and editor. The website has been featured on NBC Nightly News, The Chicago Tribune, CNN, NPR, BBC, and many other national outlets and is designed to promote positive images of African-Americans in the media.
  • Mike Green is a journalist-turned-entrepreneur with 14 years experience in media. He’s a New York Times Leadership Academy Fellow with training at CNN.com and he led award-winning online experiments in local community engagement for the Dow Jones Local Media Group.

I hope you can join us on Tuesday, Sept. 28 from 8:00-9:00 p.m. Eastern time.  It should be a lively discussion, and we’ll leave plenty of time for your questions.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Musing on the Future of Media for Journalists of Color

By Mike Green, freelance journalist and former Web Editor for the Dow Jones Local Media Group

What is the future of media? It’s an important question to answer if the National Association of Black Journalists plans to establish a firm foothold that continues to help Black media professionals develop and thrive in an uncertain media industry that struggles to see where its going.

There are entrepreneurs currently building the roads upon which media will likely travel. And they are getting the funding that isn’t coming our way.  These are folks building the next platforms upon which communities, small and large, will communicate and interact daily. Media will use these platforms to reach communities of subscribers.  Here’s a link to a variety of brand new platforms currently generating a feeding frenzy of millions in investment capital.

These platforms will dictate how media will reach consumers in the near future. Think of AOL, MySpace and Facebook as platforms upon which numerous opportunities can be built to connect with the base subscribers.  The iPhone is a piece of hardware, yet still another platform that spawned an industry of applications designed specifically to reach the customer base of the iPhone. The resulting deluge made the iPhone a more valued commodity.

Kindle is a platform as well. And it also has future rivals already. The New York Times is a media organization, yet recognized the need to establish itself in the platform industry. So it built a platform upon which its readers could receive the Times according to the trends in consumer behavior.  See this video for a mind-blowing demonstration of what’s coming:

Future platforms are certainly going to dictate how consumers communicate with one another. And when media seek to reach those consumers, consideration to the platform will be high on the list of priorities.  Content is king among media. But the most valued commodity online is COMMUNITY. And communities value connections to friends, families and co-workers. In other words, the current trend today is building communities via platforms that establish easy connections.

NABJ is a community. So is the Black Press. HBCUs are as well. Sororities and fraternities also have communities. Yet, who is developing the platforms by which these communities can all come together?

BET established a community. Then it was bought out by White investors.  AOL Black Voices did it. It, too, was bought out. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I’m saying it’s an indicator that the most valuable commodity is the platform upon which communities are built. And while we’re creating cool content, the road to power, influence and control runs through community platforms.

When we speak of expanding our scope to include ownership of media that carries the content we produce, it seems prudent that we recognize and take advantage of the opportunities that exist in the trends. And right now, angels and venture capital firms (some of the most well established and well-known) are investing buckets of cash into new media platforms that establish targeted communities.

Are there any entrepreneurs in Black America building such platforms? If there were, would they have access to capital? Would we assist them? Could we assist them?  Are there Black investor networks? If so, can they be shared in this forum, or are they secret societies? Or perhaps we’ve identified a missing rung in the ladder to success?

Can NABJ play any role at all in developing an in-house resource of knowledge and networks that can help Black entrepreneurs whose ideas may impact the media industry?  Some nonprofits do play such roles. Here’s one in Canada:  http://naoangelinve stor.wordpress. com/ Angelsoft.net is the most prominent U.S. investor network for entrepreneurs that I’ve heard of.