On Friday, a jazzed-up Dave Cohn waxed poetic about the future of journalism. I agree wholeheartedly. Except with this statement:
What we need right now is 10,000 journalism startups. Of these 9,000 will fail, 1,000 will find ways to sustain themselves for a brief period of time, 98 will find mediocre success and financial security and two will come out as new media equivalents to the New York Times. (The NY Times is part of this game, I’m not making a big/small media divide here, just using them as a standard).
My prediction: It could be that two out of 10,000 may become equivalents to the New York Times. But in this so-very-networked medium, I believe that 10,000 journalism startups can find success and financial security. There doesn’t need to be another New York Times. WestSeattleblog.com is successful and is providing Tracy Record and Patrick Sand with a living. They’ll have to tell you if they define it as financial security. And they’re covering only part of Seattle. MexBizNews isn’t successful yet, according to Diane Lindquist (reporter, editor, chief cook-and-bottle-washer), but it could be. Diane’s got the jurno chops; she just needs guidance in a few areas, such as content management systems, advertising, marketing, search, Web shell development (including user-friendly searchable databases), and community building.
Some of us at the Reynolds Journalism Institute have been batting around the idea of starting a news organization incubator to help people like Diane be successful. This new medium has certain characteristics; if you understand its basic nature and have what you need to make a go of a journalistic enterprise, then you have a much better shot at supporting yourself.
Our main goal: We want to put journalism back in the caring hands of journalists. No matter what the medium.