We're looking for a few good aspiring online publishers

OJR readers,

I’m excited about a project that OJR is launching, along with our new hosts at the Knight Digital Media Center. In 2006 and 2007, OJR hosted one-day conferences at the USC campus for online news entrepreneurs, and I’ve been wanting to expand on those programs, to offer more in-depth training and development for online journalists who are building the news organizations of today and tomorrow.

Now, it’s going to happen. Below are the details, from the KDMC:

The Knight Digital Media Center in partnership with USC Annenberg School for Communication, the Center for Communication Leadership and the Online Journalism Review is accepting applications for its special News Entrepreneur Boot Camp to be held May 16-21, 2009, in Los Angeles. This intense one-week boot camp is designed for 12 competitively selected digital entrepreneurs with great ideas for community news and information initiatives in the public interest. Topics to be covered include:

  • Identifying the best business model for sustained success.
  • Developing a sustainable business plan.
  • Marketing and audience development.
  • Content production and management models.
  • Legal and tax issues.
  • Identifying capitalization sources.
  • Developing and implementing revenue and advertising strategies.
  • Successful social networking models.
  • Selecting and implementing technical platforms.
  • Understanding and using metrics.

Traditional news organizations are floundering as business models collapse and audiences are increasingly turning to alternative news and information sources. This special boot camp is designed for digital journalists and others who are passionate about new ideas for serving the information and news needs of their communities but who lack the grounding in business and startup skills. Expert faculty from both academia and the private sector will provide intense instruction, coaching and mentoring on developing marketable business plans for providing news and information in the public interest.

The Knight Digital Media Center is a partnership of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

WHO SHOULD APPLY: Successful applicants will provide a concise and clear proposal for a digital initiative that services specific community news and information needs and will meet the following expertise criteria:

  • Digital fluency. Must be able to independently create and manage digital content in an online environment. Most important, must understand technology as tool and online as a community.
  • Business/math aptitude. Must be comfortable and competent in math and business environment.
  • Topic Expertise. Must demonstrate experience/expertise in targeted topic/service area.
  • Collaborative. Must demonstrate previous experience in working productively with others on projects requiring innovation.
  • Value-driven. Must be committed to values of accuracy, balance, fairness, credibility, inclusion, transparency and public service.

WHEN AND WHERE: May 16-21, 2009
Los Angeles, CA

HOW TO APPLY: Applications must be submitted online at http://www.knightdigitalmediacenter.org/boot_camp_applications/.

DEADLINE: Monday, February 16, 2009

I will be there, as part of the faculty for this event, and I hope to see some of you there, too. We’re looking for people who are passionate about the communities and topics that they cover and know that they must offer a website that collects and presents information in a fundamentally different way than news organizations did in other media in the past. (After all, if the old way worked today, some news organizations wouldn’t be teetering on the edge of collapse.)

Please consider applying for what I know will be an outstanding event, and the beginning of a productive ongoing relationship with KDMC and OJR for the participants.

About Robert Niles

Robert Niles is the former editor of OJR, and no longer associated with the site. You may find him now at http://www.sensibletalk.com.


  1. says:

    I’ll be there!

  2. says:

    The selection process is probably for not what you know but for WHO you know. So why bother?

  3. Because the people making the decision really don’t care who you know, but what kind of idea you have and track record you’ve created.

    Heck, speaking for myself here, I’d consider a long history hob-nobbing with highly-placed executives in the print journalism world a mark *against* a candidate, not a mark for. Hey, it’s not like those folks figured it out, did they?

  4. i`ll love to be there too , i`ll check the link now .

  5. Yeah, you are probably right…a ” Who ” you know scenario.

    Still may check it out!