10,000 Jurno Startups…Why Not?

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 digidavefinancial 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.


3 Responses

  1. Congratulations on your first hire, Tracy. What will that person be doing?

  2. Who says that you’re mediocre if you’re not the New York Times?

    Somebody else brought up something comparable in a recent comment string in which we were discussing local community news websites like ours. They said, who would want to buy a business like yours? Um, is the point of any business to grow it to a point where you sell it? How about let’s see where it goes and evolves? Somebody actually did ask me the dreaded “where do you see yourself in five years?” question at a speaking engagement last week — I said, quite honestly, this will be a bigger organization, with some employees (we are interviewing for our first hire this week, yee-ha) and a lot more offerings, but however we deliver it, the mission is the same – 24/7 news, information, discussion for our semi-little corner of the world.

    As for financial security: When I was working for corporate media (till I quit last December), voluntarily giving up a six-figure salary and comfy benefits, I didn’t consider that financial security … any gig can end at any time. (And I’d been thru a dot-bust layoff years earlier, a capricious radio firing decades earlier …) So while this is a different playing field – operating our own small business – it doesn’t feel any less, or more secure. But a HELL of a lot more satisfying.

  3. […] scale. Many of these things are already happening in micro fashion and will probably continue to incubate: “Our main goal: We want to put journalism back in the caring hands of journalists. No matter […]

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