Monday, February 9, 2009

Journalism Entrepreneurs

What the Internet affords those with ideas is a medium to bring them to reality, and nowhere more so than in the classrooms where the academics of the subject can tested for viability in the public sphere, even long after one has passed out and is working at a job.

For those of us who might be tempted to associate start-ups with Applied Sciences or Management courses, think again. While Applied Sciences and Management courses might seem easily predisposed to bringing ideas to reality and with the means to do so, the Internet has democratized the space to allow someone with an idea and a little help from a neighbourhood techie to make a startup work, provided the idea has a need in the marketplace or is in a position to create that need.

To Applied Sciences and Management, now add Journalism. Let’s see how.

In September 2007, Jeff Jarvis announced a two-year grant from the McCormick Tribune Foundation to ‘provide seed funding to news start-ups’ developed by students of his course in Entrepreneurial Journalism at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism, each student working to create a start-up.

In addition to thinking up an idea that’ll survive in the marketplace, each News start-up was required to think up among other things, the promise it will fulfill in the marketplace, and the need driving the promise. This in turn required research as to how the offering will be taken to its stakeholders, i.e. the consumers, and any competitive analysis on similar products in the marketplace. Then a revenue plan, and a marketing plan to drive the revenue plan before launching it in the market.

Each class worked on, developed, and submitted market-viable ideas for Internet News start-ups for funding to a group of jurors, themselves Media entrepreneurs.

In a collaborative effort, CUNY hosts NY City News Service, a start-up initiative created at the institute, publishing works of journalism produced by CUNY students. It is multimedia web-based wire services where content produced by students under the supervision of faculty is published, and is available free to local media publications that in turn carry the content into the community with attribution. WNYC Radio, New York Daily News, Norwood News, and Queens Carrier are among the local media outlets that fed off this Online venture.

NY City News Service won the Best All-Around Independent Online Student Publication in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Region 1 Mark of Excellence Awards.

Other Online Ventures by CUNY Journalism students

Started by Colin Orcutt, a second semester student, Box Score Beat analyses sports journalism “by providing a closer look at what the press covers, and what it does not cover." Revenue objective is to create sufficient presence in the Sports World to make advertisers sit up and take notice before pulling in the advertising revenues.

I Snap NY is a new venture started by the students at the institute, updated with images of New York captured by students, a potential photo news service to mainstream media outlets.

News-based Internet Start-ups

See the following examples of how entrepreneurs are leveraging their ideas to initiate News-based Start-ups on the Internet to fulfill community needs and make a difference with their services.

1. IBISEYE is a risk-estimator website that users use to track Atlantic Ocean tropical storm and hurricane activity, so that they can identify at-risk buildings and report actual damage.

Note: If you know of Internet Start-ups we'll be glad to hear of them. Please leave your suggestions in the comments.

Submit Your Idea

The Internet affords an excellent opportunity to bring ideas and technologies together to serve information needs of communities. If you've ideas for potential Internet Start-ups submit them for us to evaluate them for potential funding.


  1. Very true....
    This is the Information age and the industrial age is over.

    In the Information age, its all about how many eye balls you attract (web traffic). Technology has connected all the world.

    according to comscore, the unique internet users has hit the 1 billion mark last month. It means that 1 billion people around the world are using internet and that's the population of India.

    So it means that you can offer your Products and services to 1 billion people around the world at a time without having a chain of your business or franchsing... All you need is an online web space and that's it... your Web business will run......

    I am very optimistic about the Information Age.......

    This is the era of Velocity (Fast Growth). And the appriciation of online properties (Web businesses, blogs, sites, forums, communities...etc..) becomes much faster than the traditional offline properties (Stocks, bonds, gold, real estate, offline businesses....etc...)

    By the way,
    I have submitted my own Internet Business start-up idea to the ET few weeks back.... You can see it here....

  2. To have a successful online business, a perfect online business system is required, and to create a successful online business system one has to analyze the current situation of one's business, set achievable goal, develop strategy/tactic, organize for the online presence (take action, control and form resources).