Entrepreneurial Journalism. Friend or Foe?

The phrase “Entrepreneurial Journalism” is a new one to me. However, the more I read and think about it, the more I like what the phrase implies. It offers this idea of journalists having the power to treat what they do like a real business, to take control of the online news medium instead of hopelessly clinging to the traditional methods of the past. To me, an “entrepreneurial journalist” is someone that does not just passively write and report but also actively observes modern trends and uses the news delivery interface creatively and intelligently.

The first chapter of Mark Briggs’ Entrepreneurial Jounalism: How to Build What’s Next For Next details the shift from traditional news to online news, and the mistakes publishers made along the way. He reveals a new kind of journalism that is “collaborative, transparent, and authentic.” It is difficult to be a writer in a field where “what’s hot” changes by the minute. The need to be relevant becomes increasingly difficult when the audience a journalist writes for changes its needs with every tweet, status update, and blog post.

I like Briggs’ description of new media being “cheap, fast, measurable, interactive, and direct.” I think this description is an accurate summary of what audiences are looking for when they consume news. They want it now, they want it condensed, they want it clear, and they want to be able to directly voice their opinion after they read it. It’s a new concept which opens the door pretty wide.

This wide open door of the digital age does have some negative consequences. The Manti Te’o controversy leaked by Deadspin.com , which seems to heavily fascinate the country, shows how the internet can too easily be used for means of deception and can often encourage users to hide their identity behind a screen or even create a totally false one (classmate Richard Lee speaks of this topic in his recent blog post found here). Facebook has become less about actual connections with lost friends and more about glossy cover photos and glamours status updates meant to outdo one’s peers. I am part of a generation that has realized how easy technology makes it to lie and embellish.

Additionally, sites like Twitter, can offer a debilitating amount of information, and a lot of it is irrelevant, repeated, or just plain stupid. According to this article  on Poynter.org, journalists would be wise to step out of  “a tweet every minute” mindset and focus on deciphering what is actual news and what has already been tweeted a thousand different times in a thousand different ways.

These are some pretty heavy drawbacks and definitely need to be addressed. However, Briggs’s message in his first chapter is pretty loud and clear: It’s time to get out there and use the digital age to one’s advantage. Journalists can’t afford to be naive to think that what used to work in print will continue to work online. However, there is no room for cry babies in this field. It’s time to act, to think, and to get out there and create your own web. I look forward to the rest of his book.



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