Forget about Internet competition, the alleged advertising crash, declining news program ratings and newsroom cutbacks. There’s only one problem facing the journalism industry in 2011.
And that’s… attitude.
Too many people in our industry, from publishers to cub reporters, are wallowing in a culture of failure, bringing a fatalistic attitude to their jobs, one that has been and will continue to become self-fulfilling.
Journalists’ bad attitude toward their business manifests as whiny entitlement: People should communicate online under our rules; Readers should pay more for our reporting; Online publishers (in this case, Julian Assange) should play nice to the powerful like we do, too.
Winners make money and differences in peoples’ lives. Losers make excuses. Which do you want to be?
Sure, you can find (at least temporary) comfort in the familiar. Keep working on traditional, quote-three-sources-including-one-elected-official, inverted pyramid, newspaper-style stories. Maybe add a part-time blog on the side, to feel “hip” and score some points with your boss. If you get laid off (or fear you might be), send clips and resumes to other newsrooms. If that doesn’t elicit a job offer, look for a j-school faculty gig. Keep attending the same industry conferences, networking with other newsroom journalists, to commiserate about how tomorrow just doesn’t look or feel like the good old days.
People who follow this path are simply trying to run out the clock on their career: trying to make it to retirement before they’re forced to make any substantial change in how they work or what they do.
Do you really think you can make it? Even if you do, is that really how you want to live?
You don’t have to live in a culture of failure. You can leave the journalism industry that pines for the past to join a journalism industry that engages the market as it exists today – one where publications are building income, and influence, along the way.
You won’t be the first journalist to do this. That means that others are available to help show you the way. But you’ll need to start listening to these new voices, and tune out the pessimism, frustration and even scolding you might hear from the colleagues you leave behind.
So here is where I make my pitch to you: Come apply for our 2011 KDMC News Entrepreneur Boot Camp. It’s an intense experience that will help you develop the skills you need to succeed in this new journalism industry. It will help you see that our industry is not one that’s failing, but one that’s being failed by ignorant management and inflexible institutions.
You don’t need to be their victim. You can be the leader of new journalism publication, one that makes a positive difference in its community while providing you will the livelihood you need.
We won’t help you do this by trotting out the same speakers and voices that you’ve been hearing at journalism industry conventions for years. We’ll be at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, hearing from business school faculty – people who have built multi-million dollar businesses with less money up front than you spent on dinner last night.
The journalists you hear at this camp will include boot camp alumni, individuals who’ve taken what they learned at the camp and built functioning publications that are supporting themselves (and, in some cases, multiple employees). This boot camp isn’t about learning the theory of entrepreneurship – it’s an online and in-person blueprint for how to do this yourself.
And it’s free. We’ll even help cover part of the cost of getting you to LA in May for the in-person week that wraps up the camp.
I’ve been publishing my own websites since 1996. I’ve been working full-time for myself for nearly three years. And I’ve never had more fun in the journalism business than I’m having now. My income went up in 2010, not down. I am so thankful to have found a way out of the culture of failure that imprisons so many others in the news business. I just want to help other journalists find their way out, as well.
That’s why I’ve worked so hard on developing this boot camp, and why I hope that you will take the time and make the commitment to apply for it. Here’s the link. The deadline is Friday, January 14, 2011.
Got questions? Hit the comment button below. We can’t wait to see you at the camp.