September seems to be the month of the startup. The Voice of San Diego just began taking the wraps of their new resource center for community-based and nonprofit journalism, “The Hub.” It’s just getting started, but already includes a wealth of lessons and resources. Along those lines, Brad Flora of Windy Citizen, posted “5 Mistakes That Make Local Blogs Fail” over at the PBS Idea Lab. Meanwhile, Paul Biggar compiled his own list of lessons learned from NewsTilt, which failed just two months after it launched. Finally, the New York Times reported that Jeff Jarvis will be announcing the creation of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at CUNY. The center will essentially offer a master of arts for prospective journalism startups. In addition to those headlines and blog posts, there are also two key events happening this month that shine a spotlight on news startups: Georgetown University’s “The Anatomy of a News Startup” and the Block by Block conference.
At the Georgetown event last week Jim Brady the founder and general manager of TBD and Matt Thompson of NPR’s new Project Argo, both of which have launched in the last two months, discussed what it took to get their projects off the ground. The conversation avoided most of the usual future of journalism tropes: there was no “who’s a journalist” questions, no desperate warnings about journalism’s downfall or overly rosy pictures of journalism’s future, there was no discussion of which new gadget would save journalism. Instead, the panel focused on the very concrete nuts and bolts of developing, launching, and maintaining a new web-first newsroom. Both Brady and Thompson addressed these topics with a pragmatic emphasis on the daily life of working journalists.
What did they count as the most important lessons so far? Continue reading