Monthly Archives: September 2013

Ethics of Sponsored Content

Greetings DMSers.

Yesterday we started a discussion about revenue streams and how they link to the business plan you’re developing this semester. Under the trending category we briefly touched on the notion of Sponsored Content.

Yesterday, Ad Age published a wonderful article written by Michael Sebastian that you should read: News Organizations Face Tricky Trade-Off with ‘Sponsored Content.’

I anticipate Sponsored Content will be a topic of heated discussion on many fronts in the news and PR sectors. Keep an eye out for interesting pieces to share with the group.

This Friday’s blog topic focuses on advertising from the customer’s perspective. I look forward to reading your blogs identifying companies that do advertising well vs. those that do not.

Explore Storytelling with Google Glass

Happy Friday DMSers.

I’ll be bringing Google Glass to class Monday. We’ll have about an hour or so for everyone to get their hands on it. I’ll also bring information regarding our developers license in case anyone is interested in developing a Glass card (that’s what Google calls apps for Glass).

If you’re not familiar with Glass, check out this section of Google’s site. And, check out this piece by in the New Yorker. My experience has been pretty similar to this writer’s perspective.

It’s pretty cool technology but it’s definitely got its challenges as noted in the articles below. We’ll discuss how Google has rolled out the product thus far, the Glass Explorer community, and some of the challenges I’ve experienced playing with Glass thus far.

Related articles

Give Me The Green Stuff

Monday’s class will focus on financial issues — how can you make money with your journalistic skills and how does this financial ability link to your business plan.

Prior to Monday’s class be sure to:

  1. Check out Briggs Chapter 3: Make Your Money Plan
  2. Read Paul Graham’s Ramen Profitable post
  3. Review The Business Plan assignment

We’ll have a hands-on activity to help you get started with the financial decision-making process for your startup.

Deadline Changes & Homework Notes

From our last class session:

  • Homework 3: is not due until Monday, Sept. 30. Today,  you should be close to finalizing your research plan and your product sketch, while starting to reach out to your potential market.
  • Homework 4: all you need to have ready for Monday is an idea regarding who you would like to target for this task. Just basics — why this person, how does she/he connect to your interests in startups or being an entrepreneur. Don’t worry about the rest of the tasks listed in the assignment.
  • Tomorrow’s Blog: is about product naming. Bring to class ideas for your product’s name and we’ll do a short critique.

I will be around tomorrow if you need assistance or access to the Mac Lab. Otherwise, have a fabulous weekend and best of luck with your market research.

Check Out These DMS Bloggers

There were some really nice posts done Friday afternoon in the DMS Blog. Take some time today to check out these two in particular:

Kayla Chance’s post titled, DMS: Inconvenience to Opportunity. What I love about this post is her intro. This is exactly what I was hoping everyone on this adventure would be feeling and thinking about this point of the semester. And, she’s done a great job using examples to illustrate her perspective.

Natalie Norris’ post titled, Dream the Impossible. The video she included with her post addresses many of the sentiments I’ve heard from the class — the challenge of believing enough in yourself and your idea to take ACTION and not just sit idle with these great ideas bouncing around in your head.

We move toward testing our product ideas with markets tomorrow in class.




Interest Area Connections

Yesterday’s new business ideas covered a wide range of industries: fashion, games, food, travel and outdoor recreation. I’ve come across resources with interesting links to your ideas you may choose to investigate:

  • Music industry: Check out Ghetto Web Blaster created by Matt Kiser, an alum of our journalism program.
  • Those interested in fashion might want to check out the latest issue of Entrepreneur as it has a spread titled “Style Files” featuring several interesting businesses.
  • The same issue of Entrepreneur has a story on gamification and how it’s being used in a wide range of industries for both internal and external audiences.
  • And of course, check out blogs from your peers who highlighted industry movers and shakers.

Topics on Upcoming Challenges

We also discussed taglines that some of you were contemplating. Inc. Magazine has a feature titled, “Is Your Tagline a Help or a Hindrance.”

And we discussed that you’re going to have to identify how to make money with your startup. Here’s a great piece to digest from Paul Carr about his journalism “somewhat-weekly newsletter” NSFWCORP I found on PandoDaily.


Nice job with the new biz ideas

A really nice range of new business ideas was presented in class yesterday. Since the presentations took far longer than I anticipated, I’m using today’s post to do a bit of catch up and an overview of where we’re going next.

CATCHING UP — Action Item for You

As we ran short of time in class, I feel that those students presenting toward the end were a bit short-changed in idea review. To be fair in grading and assessment I’d like everyone to give me access to your presentation files (i.e. Prezi, Haiku Deck, etc). Please send me links/access via my email:

If you included your presentation links in the write up you sent to me via email prior to class, you do not need to resend the presentation link.

Blog Front: I will be fixing the link problems with your personal blogs that were mentioned in class. Blog 2 grading will be done by noon tomorrow. I’ll be sending grading notes to your email. See the DMS Blog handout for this week’s blog topic.


Now that everyone has a new business idea or two or three, here’s an overview of our next steps:

Customer Profile

This is a new document I just added to the website and class dock in the Mac Lab. This is a brainstorming tool, and not a required homework assignment. If you choose to use this form it will help you develop content that is required in several upcoming assignments.

You need to start creating a detailed description of your market — who is it that will purchase this new product you’re creating? Through my many years of PR work, I have found that it helps to identify demographics and psychographics, but also to gather images that help paint a photograph in your mind of your customers.

I strongly encourage you to get photographs of individuals you perceive as prospective customers (these can be stock photo images that help you visualize your customers). And get images of the wide range of customers you may have — primary and secondary. Having those solid images fixed in your head can be very helpful as you move through your product development process.

Homework 2 (Deadline: Monday, Sept. 16)

This assignment gets you to start planning both primary and secondary research. The customer profile exercise above will help you with the primary research aspect. As will the Briggs’ text chapters identified in the course schedule and the Mashable article you’ll find linked there.

The secondary research component focuses on your perceived competition.

During Monday, Sept. 16 class we’ll be brainstorming how to conduct primary research with members of your market. We’ll most likely do this in small groups based on industry focus.

Homework 3 (Deadline: Monday, Sept. 30)

With this assignment, you’ll execute the primary research plan you created in Homework 2. You’ll be testing your new business concept with members of your market. This initial testing can provide important insight into your idea as it stands now and where it might go in the future.

Where Do Great Ideas Come From?

Collaboration is key during this whole startup process. Take a few moments to check out this video by Steven Johnson illustrating how innovative ideas come about.

Are you the next young millionaire?

Good afternoon DMSers.

Monday’s class will focus on two key questions:

1) What are your digital media startup ideas?

2) Of these three elements — product, market, team — which is most important?

Be sure that you review Homework 1 for a complete description of what’s due for your new business ideas. Also, we’ll be putting your ideas to the Made to Stick test. Check out this Today Show interview with the book’s authors for an overview (and see the details in Chapter 5 of Entrepreneurial Journalism). Expect Monday’s class to be highly interactive.

If you’re having problems getting started with your new business ideas, consider doing a Google search with the industry you’re most passionate about and the word entrepreneur. For example: fashion entrepreneurs. This can also help you with the DMS Blog that is due tomorrow.

Chapters 4 and 5 of the Briggs text will help you answer the second question above. And, it’s a great lead-in discussion to the next series of homework assignments.

I’m really looking forward to Monday’s session. Have a great weekend finalizing your new ideas.

Solving The Problem

According to Mark Briggs, author of our course textbook Entrepreneurial Journalism, some of the most successful startups began by solving a problem that the company founder faced in her/his daily life. In Chapter 5, he cites Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith as one example. Bhatia and Smith wanted to have the ability to access their work email accounts from any computer with Internet access regardless of firewalls used by their employers. To solve their problem, they created Hotmail.

With Homework 1 you’re going to start identifying some possible startup concepts for your new business venture. One way to think about new products is to identify specific problems you face in activities you perform on a regular basis. Ideally, other people face this same problem, and they would be interested in the solution you develop to the problem.

Chapters 4 and 5 of the Briggs’ text will help you get started on this endeavor. Chapter 4 focuses on innovation: How does one innovate? What are the essential elements of innovation? Chapter 5 helps you to identify if your idea is just that — an idea — or does it have the potential to become a viable business concept.

During our Sept. 9 class you’ll be presenting two to three initial digital media startup concepts. See the Homework 1 handout under the Assignments tab for complete details.

We’ll help brainstorm your ideas during Monday’s class session.


Start Exploring Your Peers’ Perspectives

Greetings DMSers. Happy Labor Day!

Most of our student blogs are now linked to the course site. Check them out here. In particular check out John Riggin’s post. I liked the overall structure he crafted, paragraph treatment and the use of links within the piece. I also think many of you can relate to Taylor McKenna’s blog, in particular her closing paragraph, which is definitely something I’m challenged by.

Throughout the course of the semester you’re going to want to track, read and comment on the various blogs as part of your class participation. And, as we grow our blogs and explore entrepreneurial topics, you’ll find linkages from your particular interests to those of your peers. Then, you can help one another grow in important areas, share resources and brainstorm on your business concepts.

DMS Blog #2 is due this Friday at noon. You’ll need to identify a company you think is truly innovative and has been causing disruption within its specific industry. I’m sure each of you has many, many ideas to choose from.

While I’m not sure it counts as disruption just yet, here is a company and a new product I’m interested in testing out given my interest in graphic design. And, note the One-Liner Pitch. You’ll be creating this for your new product as well.

Enjoy diving in to this week’s blog.