As a startup media junkie, I’ve been both pleased and bemused by the recent trend of academic institutions starting to focus and train on entrepreneurship in media. While such training can only be good, I’ve been frustrated to see most of the activity limited to the traditional Big Media Hubs — on the East Coast at CUNY; on the West Coast at UC Berkeley; and at J-school stalwarts like Northwestern and Arizona State.
Don’t get me wrong– I laud the work of all of these programs, all led by people I consider friends and titans of the industry. Their work is critical and trailblazing. I crib heavily from their playbooks.
But there are things I’ve seen in common that I’d like to diversify:
- All are in traditional hubs of news, hubs that in the case of the coasts may be so cosmopolitan, large and media-rich as to be anomalous in scale, or at least of limited transferability to communities in Middle America.
- All come directly out of a Journalism school. This is on face a good thing, as Journalism needs as many people focused on business models as possible. But just as I applauded startups with different models from my old Pegasus News; and just as I’ve long lamented the lack of sales folks at myriad “Save The News” conferences, I’ve longed to see a media entrepreneurship program drawing on an even more eclectic group — Crowdsourcing the problem beyond the core, so to speak.
That’s why I’m pleased to announce that in the Spring semester, I’ll be helping to broaden that field of work by teaching Entrepreneurial Media in the Emerging Media and Communications (EMAC) Program at the University of Texas – Dallas School of Arts and Humanities. I’m fortunate that EMAC head Dean Terry and his team shared this vision and have worked tirelessly with me, first in seeking a Knight News Challenge Grant for this effort — and then in making it happen even without outside funding.
Students in this course will be part of a group that will conceive, pitch and execute a small-scale media launch. Topics covered will include identifying a market, setting up a company, sourcing talent, raising capital, communication strategies, choosing technologies and transitioning from startup to going concern. Each topic will feature real world examples and conference calls with media entrepreneurs from around the US.