Wednesday, 07 July 2010 15:25

Report on Entrepreneurial Journalism syndicate discussion: Day 2

Written by  Muda Ganiyu

On day two of the syndicate discussion on entrepreneurial journalism at the World Journalism Education Congress, the chairman of the syndicate, Remzi Lani, summarised the previous day’s discussions and then invited Gillmor to continue with his insights. Gillmor encouraged participants who had issues from the previous day to speak up.

A participant who had promised to make available inter-disciplinary curriculum between journalism and engineering said he had brought the materials and if we get it printed or give e-mail addresses, he would make it available.

Various participants threw up models of entrepreneurship journalism in their institutions:

i.   From Oklahoma - Online students magazine with multiple media format that provides stability and entrepreneurship where students can initiate and post projects;

ii.   Britain - courses are offered based on accreditation requirements, and not as flexible as in the US; students' projects compete in the business reality show DRAGON;

iii.  Zambia - noticing a gap in the business reporting, the journalism department got airtime from the national broadcaster and created a business programme where students contribute and which earns revenue. Students who graduated are also encouraged to create their own programmes on national broadcaster.

Mr. Lani, the chairman of the session asked Gillmor to define the start-up culture, which he does as follows:

  1. It’s chaotic
  2. Ambiguous
  3. Requires team work, and
  4. Makes rapid development.

The issues of raising fund for the business without compromising the independence of the media was raised, and the argument went back and forth about the need to make profit and give return to stake holders and at the same time remain true to the ethics of journalism. Gillmor reiterated the need to:

  1. Remain transparent-that is where the news conflicts or coincides with interest of the funders, the readers should be made aware of this
  2. Others raised the importance of journalism remaining a service to the community, though at a profit to the stake holders.
  3. That sustainability is important-the media must be sustainable.

Which raised the issue of teaching students numeracy and economic literacy, whereas the emphasis had, hitherto being on purely literacy.


Finally, the issue of audiences was raised. What led to the advent of citizen journalism where the audience began to create their own content?

*Them not being properly represented by the traditional media.

*Their needs are not being met.

*Which means to succeed as an entrepreneurial journalist, the needs of the audience must be met.

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