Journalism entrepreneurship

It’s a mouthful, but it’s essential. Journalists today have to be entrepreneurs. In Mark Glazer’s view, that means you need to understand the business side of news. He notes on MediaShift that two schools, CUNY and Berkeley, now offer courses in entrepreneurial journalism, and Arizona State has a new Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, run by Dan Gillmor. Syracuse has a class in new media business, as well. But Vin Crosbie, who teaches it, says one class won’t equip students to go into business for themselves:

Taking journalism students, giving them a course in entrepreneurship, and then thinking that you’ve properly prepared them is like taking carpenters, training them how to use a shovel and pick, and thinking that you’ve prepared them to be gold miners. It’s dilatantish. I’d rather first give them at least a course in geology.

Point taken. But there’s real value in at least exposing journalism students to the business side of news. Even if they wind up working for “mainstream” news organizations, these journalists can make the case for better journalism in a way that make sense to the money people. And if journalists want to develop new media outlets for their work, they’re going to have to know how to pay the bills. But what happens to the traditional “firewall” between news and sales if journalists are doing it all?

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