Life as a Content Producer

Greetings DMIers. Happy Monday and welcome to week 5 of the semester. We’re having our first guest speaker this week.

Amanda Hasaka will be joining us via Skype from Los Angeles on Wednesday. She is a content producer with Time Inc. and a former digital producer with Disney ABC Television Group. Amanda has been working in the entertainment industry for more than five years.

Amanda is going to talk about Time’s INSTANT video platform, a mobile-first site she helped to launch earlier this year. I think you’ll find that Amanda is a great example of an intrapreneur. In LinkedIn chats she mentioned that her job is in a space that’s constantly changing and the platform she’s working with now didn’t necessarily exist a few years ago.

In addition to INSTANT, she’ll talk about:

  • Her career path: how did she move from Chico State’s J&PR program to her current position with Time
  • What her job as a content producer involves
  • How she measures the effectiveness of her product
  • Q&A


Check out some of the news coverage about the product:


Do your research and bring lots of questions.


Best, @DebraJChico



The Value of Talking to Your Market

Greetings, DMIers. I’m glad most of you fund the Sticky Test exercise helpful in brainstorming your initial product concepts. It’s interesting to see the direction that everyone is moving in.

When we did the Sticky Test many of you reported that the “Unexpected” and “Story” traits were a challenge at this point. For the story component, take a look at Entrepreneur’s Five Blueprints for Your Brand’s Story. Good one to bookmark for future reference.

Monday we’ll be focusing on conducting original research with your potential market. This research will help to identify if your customers experience The Problem in the same way that you. It may also help to determine if your idea is just that — an idea — or if there is potential to make it something more. This is a crucial stage for any entrepreneur.

Be sure that you take a look at Mashable’s How to Solicit the Customer Feedback Your Startup Needs before class.

The NiemanLab is also fantastic source to dive into. Remember that your final concept must have a significant news element built into it. As you continue to develop your idea think about how you’re going to include traditional journalistic elements: news storytelling, generating original content via blog posts or other news content formats, perhaps partnerships to showcase great content from other journalists. And, some of you are looking at localization issues – how can you build a hyperlocal news element into your idea?

Lots of great stuff to contemplate this weekend.


Image Source: Realistic Shots, Creative Commons Zero license

Find Inspiration: Entrepreneur’s 100 Brilliant Companies to Watch

Good afternoon DMIers. I hope you had a fantastic Labor Day weekend and are ready for week 3.

Tomorrow we’ll be diving into your digital media product concepts with Homework 1. We’ll be putting each product concept to the Sticky Test and brainstorm options for further development. We’ll also review Homework 2 and 3, which require you to start identifying details about your competitors and your market.

Here are some resources to help you find some inspiration in your work:

  • Entrepreneur’s 100 Brilliant Companies to Watch in 2016 highlights innovators across a wide range of industries including fashion, health, business services, tech, recreation and food. This is a great resource for a quick dive into entrepreneurs in specific industries you’re passionate about. Who knows, you may find a competitor or two in this feature.

Enjoy exploring your industries and fine-tuning your business ideas.


Welcome to JOUR 451: Digital Media Innovation for News & PR

Greetings DMIers: I hope you had a successful first week of the fall 2016 semester.

We’re going to do a Design Thinking activity that was created by the Institute of Design at Stanford. In our class session you will:

  • Brainstorm the gift-giving experience with a partner.
  • Based on that brainstorm you’ll develop a product prototype.
  • Then, you’ll test that prototype with your partner.

The pace will be quick and that’s intentional. Remember to spend some time before class thinking about your last gift-giving experience. Think about the process, not just the person you gave a gift to and what the actual gift was. Also, think about your personal motivations in this activity.

Bring to class any tools that will help you with creativity. I’ll bring sugar and something healthy to snack on.

You also want to start your brain churning on your DMI product concept task. A few ways to help you jump start your creativity:

  • Google search entrepreneurs and startup companies in the industries you’re most passionate about. Start looking at what innovation is happening now in those areas. Also, research the companies you most want to work for. Who are the intrapreneurs at those companies and what innovations are they creating?
  • 1 Pager: Now That’s Innovation (due Wednesday).
  • Homework 1 (due Sept. 7) forces you to put into writing some initial product concepts.

A key point to keep in mind about this product concept creation:

  • The most successful products solve a specific problem the market feels. It will be key for you to be able to clearly define The Problem your market faces. I often refer to this as your customer’s pain point.
  • Here’s the link to the Instagram founder’s comments on finding the problem we saw in class.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I’ll see you Monday.



Twitter image source: Startup Stock Photos, CCO license

Diving into Ad Pricing

Greetings DMIers. One of the big conundrums with our digital media concepts  is the revenue section. Most of you are using advertising in some way as a revenue source. Advertising is appropriate as long as its implemented in effective ways that do not turn off members of your market.

There are many details that you’ll need to think through in terms of your advertising plans. Some of those topics include:

  • What types of advertising will you use?
  • Where in your product will those ads appear and how often (ad inventory)?
  • In the case of sponsored content, how are you going to be transparent to your market in the labeling of these paid-for spots?
  • How much are you going to charge for each category of ad you’re going to sell?

To help get us started on that last bullet, take a look at some of these resources:

  • Quirk’s Online Advertising Guide: this is helpful to think of the different areas, sizes and options in web pages for advertising.
  • Digiday’s 2013 article showing how much it costs to run certain types of ads on well-known sites.
  • Promise Media offers a section identifying how to develop online ad rates, rates cards and more.
  • Association Media Publishing has a great list of key terms you need to be familiar with in the online advertising area. Some of these terms are also covered in Briggs but not all of them.

We’ll chat more about this in class as we continue to develop our Money & Marketing plans


Perfecting the art of the pitch

Greetings DMSers. Nice job with the mini-pitches yesterday about your markets. Our next one will be Thursday, Nov. 12 and will focus on revenue generation. You’ll have 3 minutes total to talk up how you’re going to monetize your concept.

Since we’re focusing on The Pitch (remember it’s two parts: the verbal and the deck), I want to share some resources that can help in the development of your story:

The exact pitch deck strategy I’ve used to raise $125M since 2011 by Mitchell Harper. While some of his content is beyond the scope of our class exercise, several tips are really worth using.

He has another post, How to nail your investor pitch and walk away with multiple term sheets, with great advice also. Check out #5 through #9, which all apply in some way to our assignment.

Finally, I mentioned a great piece in This American Life about a journalist pitching an investor on the streets of San Francisco. Listen to that one here. Dive into the “I’ve got 99 problems and a pitch is one” segment. Great storytelling.

Tomorrow is all open lab time to work on the Money & Marketing Plan and your product mockup.



Dabbling in design and visiting with The Hatch Agency

Greetings DMIers. We’re heading into Week 7 and we’ve got a fantastic week ahead.

First off, be sure to click over to the Homework and Resources tabs. Grab the revised versions of the course schedule and the DMI 1 Pagers. We’ll briefly chat about these at the start of our next session.

Dabbling in Design Tuesday

Most of Tuesday’s class session will be open lab time to work on two big design projects you have:

  • Homework 6, which is your logo design, and
  • Your overall product design. A draft version is due before Thanksgiving break.

You should check out this very useful article from Canva, 25 Epic Design Tips for Non-Designers.

You can use any software you choose for these design tasks. The lab has full access to Adobe’s Creative Cloud versions of Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. Adobe also offers a free 30-day trial of this software, which may prove helpful in November.

In terms of your product mockups, you can also explore the wide variety of wireframing tools available. Last fall’s group of students experimented with JustinMind and Balsamiq. But, there are many, many other options out there. Check out these articles to get a glimpse of the range:

The Hatch’s EmmKrem Visits Thursday

We have another amazing J&PR alumna visiting with us Thursday. Emmalee Kremer graduated from the news option in 2011. Currently, Emmalee is a senior account executive at The Hatch Agency in San Francisco. She’s worked with journalists from Wired, The New York Times, Re/code and Tech Crunch among many others.

Emmalee specializes in working with high-tech startups and venture capital companies. She’s going to talk about life working for startups in the public relations and marketing space. Since this is a big part of your Money & Marketing Plan, I’m sure you’ll have lots of questions to toss her way. Follow her on Twitter @EmmKrem.



Get in on The Hunt with Comas and Dukkers

Greetings DMIers. This Thursday we’ll have the first our of entrepreneur guest speakers. Our guests, Brittany Comas and Ally Dukkers, graduated from the Chico State J&PR program with the news option and are currently running various social media platforms for The Hunt.

The Hunt is a fashion startup located in San Francisco. The company’s about page explains that it “is a community powered mobile app that is transforming the way that people shop online. By empowering peers to suggest products for each other, The Hunt taps into the personal shopper inside all of us and creates a positive community centered on fashion and individual style.”

Brittany and Ally are going to discuss:

  • Career path: how they moved from reporters at The Orion to social media goddesses in San Francisco.
  • Their jobs at The Hunt
  • What it’s like working for a technology startup
  • How your journalism skill sets translate well to startup companies
  • Recommendations for landing jobs in the tech space

I’m sure our guests can give you a wealth of ideas for your digital media product concepts. Do your research and bring lots of questions.



How to Conduct Research with Your Market

Happy Sunday DMIers: This week we’re continuing our focus on primary research. Your draft research plan is due Thursday and should include:

  • A description of your product concept
  • Clear identification of your market
  • Your introduction: how will you explain what you’re doing to the people you need to interact with?
  • The exact research methods you wish to use, and the exact questions you’ll use via those methods.
  • And, you’ll need to have some type of visual mockup of your product concept

In addition to the resources highlighted last week, you might find these two articles helpful:

Tools To Help Create Mockups

You can use paper drawings of your product concept for our first round of market research, but you might get inspired to dive in further with some of the cool tools you’ll find in the articles below. And, you might find some new app startups to experiment with – there’s fashion, time management, social media and email tools highlighted among many others. Both are found on Medium (an amazing news startup you should explore if you don’t already use it):

We’ll use some of our time in class Tuesday to work on the product mockups.



The Value of Talking to Your Market

Greetings, DMI class. I hope you found yesterday’s class session helpful in brainstorming your initial new product concepts. It’s interesting to see the direction that everyone is moving in.

Tomorrow we’ll be focusing on conducting original research with your potential market on your concepts. This may help to determine if your idea is just that — an idea — or if there is potential to make it something more. Briggs Chapter 5 hit on this point well.

We also discussed the notion of product-market fit. This article from Entrepreneur might be helpful while you start to contemplate your ideas further: 3 Steps to Determine Product-Market Fit.

When we did the sticky test many of you reported that the “Unexpected” and “Story” traits were a challenge at this point. Talking to your market may yield some interesting ideas on those fronts. I found this NiemanLab article that highlights an unexpected element quite well: Soon, publishers will be able to determine when smartphone users are bored and push content at them.

The NiemanLab is a fantastic source to dive into. Remember that your final concept must have a significant news element built into it. As you continue to develop your idea think about how you’re going to include journalistic elements: news storytelling, generating original content via blog posts like The Atlantic is doing, or other news content formats like podcasting, perhaps partnerships to showcase great content from other journalists, etc. And, some of you are looking at localization aspects – how can you build a hyperlocal news element into your idea?