02/01/11: The business of backstory. Last Tuesday, I flipped the switch and softly launched my explanatory journalism venture, Newsbound. I’d spent the previous six months months researching, writing, and expanding my entrepreneurial skill set. I had talked up my concept to anyone who would listen and attracted a small amount of seed funding in the process. This is the first brick. Standing here, a week later, it looks undeniably modest. But damn, it was a heavy one to lift. Click here for more.
12/14/10: We are not alone: news startup community-building. Michael, we have come to the end of our mini-series on starting non-profit journalism projects in Portland, Oregon. Of course, we are stopping in the middle, the way all mini-series do, when you think about it. Life goes on after the closing credits, if the characters were vivid at all! I think our last act is about community. It’s so easy to dig into the day-to-day business of dotting i’s and signing contracts that it’s easy to forget about the larger environment in which we are trying to operate, the larger problems we are trying to solve. Fortunately, we are not alone here, are we? Click here for more.
12/07/10: The sweet smell of failure (or success) at a news startup. The two of us are finishing this stint at Launch Pad HQ after next week’s installment, but we didn’t think any discussion of entrepreneurship would be complete without talking about the twin engines of free enterprise: success and failure. I read once that capitalism without failure is like religion without sin. As I got into this crazy endeavor, the idea of failure has definitely been lurking behind me, pushing me to work longer hours, write better copy, take smarter risks. Click here for more.
11/30/10: Startup rocket science: technical specs for a modern journalism business. Today’s discussion is about basic hurdle-clearing. My project is still trying to reach escape velocity. I’m still all about testing the power of the rocket and its essential flightworthiness (I’m obviously a sucker for any metaphor from my Space Age childhood, such as “Launch Pad,” say!). Maybe we could start with a little exchange on the environment we are attempting to work within, though, because that’s a hurdle of sorts—and also an encouragement sometimes. So, what do you think? Is Portland, Oregon, a good place to start non-profit journalism projects, and what special problems does it present?Click here for more.
11/23/10: How entrepreneurial journalists should tackle the Big Demon: sales. This week we’re talking about the part of news entrepreneurship that has always scared me most: sales. Not just selling ads for money, but selling the concept to partners and other funders and (in both your case, with an e-mail product, and my case, with print) selling distributors on the benefits of getting our content out there. In short, the Ask. Click here for more.
11/16/10: Why journalists are terrible at time management. Today’s topic is time management. As Michael can attest, my time-management skills sometimes desert me. Or maybe I don’t apply them consistently enough. Some of that I blame on my newspaper practices, which led me astray almost from the beginning. Click here for more.
11/09/10: Two news entrepeneurs explain why they struck out on their own. Hi, Barry! Thanks for agreeing to team up on this Launch Pad stint. I love that CJR is trying to document and encourage the entrepreneurial journalism movement, after so many years in which media critics have seemed more eager to circle the wagons than explore the frontier. You and I are both running nonprofit local-news startups out here at the end of the Oregon Trail, in Portland, and we’ve agreed to spend the next six weeks or so in a sort of public chat about our businesses. Our startups don’t have a lot in common… except, of course, being run by short, bald, bespectacled ex-newspaper guys. Click here for more.
10/21/10: Why we’re taking in some articles from major outlets for “story repair”. The featured articles in the first couple of editions of Remapping Debate have all weighed in well north of the 2,500 word mark. Not all of our featured pieces will do so, but it is safe to say that most of our reporting will not consist of short pieces. There will be an exception to that rule, at least most of the time. It’s a distinctive feature on which we have gotten some very good initial feedback. It’s called Story Repair. Click here for more.