This weekend, 20 aspiring journalist/entrepreneurs will arrive in Los Angeles for the second News Entrepreneur Boot Camp. OJR is a co-sponsor of the event, which is presented by the Knight Digital Media Center (publisher of OJR) in cooperation with the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the USC Marshall School of Business.
The camp starts Sunday afternoon and runs through Friday morning. I’d like to invite you to follow the action through Twitter – we’ll again be using the hash tag #uscnewsbiz. The events themselves will not be webcast, as the participants will be discussing their business ideas and concepts and we’d like to afford them a bit of privacy as they develop those. But summaries of the various talks and discussions will appear over the next week or two here on OJR, as well as on the KDMC website. I hope that you’ll follow along.
Even though the physical event begins this Sunday, participants have been working up the camp for the past several weeks. Tom O’Malia, Director Emeritus of the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the USC Marshall School, has put together an online instructional course for the participants, to help them begin to learn some of the business concepts behind what they’ll be doing as the develop their online news initiatives.
Changing attitudes is key. Too many journalists fail as publishers because they can’t stop thinking and acting solely as reporters or editors – to stop thinking as employees and start thinking as business owners. Once you make that mental change, though, the next step is to cultivate a habit of lifelong learning and training, to develop the full range of skills that you will need to build a community of readers and customers, to cover that community, and to secure the income that you will need to make your business sustainable over a long term.
Those are the topics that we’ll be covering, in person, at the camp next week. We’ve brought some great speakers and instructors to the event, including Susan Mernit, Lisa Williams, Tracy Record, Ben Ilfeld, Tom Davidson and more. We’re also bringing back two of our alumni, Rita Hibbard and Bargain Babe Julia Scott, who will share their journey from last year’s camp to their current work.
As I said in my introduction to last year’s camp, we need to pry journalists from the culture of failure that’s evolved around the news business. Opportunities abound in the information business. So, please, follow us on Twitter during the event and on the websites after… and join us on this journey.