The Success Catalyst of Journalism Businesses

At Galeri Nasional

Mark Briggs of Poynter Institute claims his course would tell you – aspiring entrepreneurial journalists – what to do before plunging to the business world. After the huge success of BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post, every journalist seems enchanted to give this a try. Who knows it’ll be a fruitful business undertaking that’ll lead you to a life full of fortune?

But if you’re like me, you know it takes more than writing and reporting skills to do great in journalism industry. There’re so many factors we need to take into account to be successful. And yet, the meaning of success itself is blurred. What I mean by success may be entirely different from what you mean, and what any other journalists mean.

Briggs couldn’t be as popular and wealthy as Kara Swisher, Sarah Lacy, Jakoeb Oetama or Jonah Peretti but he is for sure quite experienced in his own way. He stated his course “aims to give participants the knowledge and tools needed to launch content-driven news/information websites. We’ll take you from idea to implementation and, when necessary, help you retool or replace ideas with better versions.” In complete, he writes:

If you’re considering starting a news or information-oriented website, this course will help you decide whether an entrepreneurial path is the right one for you. And if you’re looking for a crash course on starting a business, it will show you the ropes, point you to the right resources and help you formulate the questions you most need answers to.

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN:

After completing this course, you’ll have newfound knowledge about creating a business and bringing your specific idea to fruition.

You’ll be able to:

  • Explain the difference between an idea and a product.
  • List the basic elements of a business plan.
  • Define basic business and marketing terms, including ROI and CPC.
  • List and summarize the legal structures available when establishing a business, and identify their strengths and weaknesses.
  • List popular technological platforms and cite strengths and weaknesses of each.
  • List available analytics tools and identify what to track and how to analyze the numbers.
  • Summarize the primary options when forming a business as a legal entity, getting legal and accounting help and finding software to help run the business.
  • List and describe major ad networks (e.g., BlogHer, Federated Media)

For your specific business, you’ll be able to:

  • Define your market, approximate its size and identify your audience
  • Write an executive summary.
  • Define the current work that needs to be done and identify the people who can do it.
  • Determine whether funding is needed and, if so, how much.
  • Decide whether the business can be bootstrapped and, if not, identify options for securing funding.
  • Estimate how many users/customers/viewers/readers will be “enough” to make the business work.
  • Identify qualities that distinguish your business from your competitors.
  • Perform a basic assessment of potential adjacent markets.
  • List questions that need to be answered about your product, market and/or business.
WHO SHOULD TAKE THIS COURSE:
  • Journalists working at legacy operations interested in founding a start-up venture
  • Recent journalism graduates interested in working in journalism, but not for a “traditional” journalistic business
  • Anyone passionate about a community, topic or cause who has a desire to start a publication-based business with journalistic values

For a moment, I let the words seep into my mind. Is it going to work? Can all these topics cover what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur in journalism industry?

It doesn’t seem that easy. Mastering all these things might be leading us closer to the goal but definitely not instantly.

We need a CATALYST.

What could that be? The mysterious catalyst that we’re searching for…

I remember several juniors asking me if they could just stay in the comfort of their hometowns while doing their journalism gigs. I told them, if they can be in Jakarta, it’d be much better.

The reason is because they need NETWORKS, people. They must see and talk to people, not only sitting and typing at home. Journalism businesses do NOT work that way. You have to go out, see more and more people, talk to them, dig tons of information from these folks you may not find at the smaller social circle in hometown.

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Filed under entrepreneurship, journalism

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