Blog Archives

Expand News Sources: Entrepreneurship, Changing Tech and Digital Journalism

Welcome DMI entrepreneurs. As we look toward week 2 of our startup adventure, we need to start expanding information sources you use on a regular basis. We do not have a course textbook to guide our collective learning. Instead, we’re going to be using a wide variety of sources from the digital space.

Explore the links below, start bookmarking sites and signing up for free enewsletters.

Entrepreneurs and Emerging Technology:

  • Entrepreneur: the title of the publication says it all. And, sponsored content (a monetization tool) on the site gives you access to articles which may help you with DMI Brief #3 Now That’s Innovation (due Sept. 6): The 10 Tech Trends Driving Our Future and Will Artificial Intelligence Really Kill My Job?
  • Fast Company: Sign up for Fast Co’s free email newsletter and the top stories come right to your inbox every morning.
  • The Startup on Medium: This will be helpful as we dive into business plans and how you think about technology, marketing and audience segmentation.
  • Haptical: a journalism startup focused on emerging technology.
  • Axios: another journalism startup looking at emerging technology.
  • What’s your favorite industry? Considering doing a Google search to find some startups in the industry you are most passionate about. You’ll probably find an Angel list, like this one, which also connects to monetization methods we’ll be discussing later.

Entrepreneurial Journalism: The challenge here is to start reviewing news media outlets you don’t normally follow and to understand how the startup culture applies to journalism. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

  • Nieman Lab: Great resource to glimpse what’s happening with entrepreneurial journalism, find info about new startups and how emerging technology is being used by reporters and news organizations. Sign up for the free enewsletter.
  • Journalism Innovation on Medium: This content comes from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism in NY city. The structure of our course is based on training I received several members of the Tow-Knight program. Medium was also a journalism startup.
  • Startups for News: This content comes from the Global Editors Network. Also on Medium.
  • Read Across the Aisle: Want to try out a journalism startup? This is a free app you can download for your smartphone. It’s designed to get you reading across a wide political spectrum. It’s currently one of my favorite journalism apps and it’s a good example of helping to solve a specific problem.

Feel free to add ideas for other sources we should follow as a class via the comments.


Twitter image source:

Design Dabbling & Exploring Hoodline

Good morning, DMIers. We’re just over a week away from spring break, so I wanted to give an overview of deadlines and tasks we’ll be completing prior to the break.

Today: DMI Brief 4

We’re going to be reviewing how to effectively name products. It’s a tricky proposition to name your product: it’s got to be creative, connect with your market and not already owned by someone else. Here are some tools that might help you with this task:

  • Name Robot: this site offers some free elements including tips on naming, how to research ownership and tools that might help with the creative process.
  • Sticky Branding’s article The Power of Symbols in Branding provides a good review of symbolism and how the eye processes visual info.
  • Startup Stash has a long list of tools focusing on various aspects of product naming.

After our naming exercise, we’ll review Homework 6, which leads us into Monday.

Monday: Dabbling in Design


  • DMI Brief #5, which focuses on money and how to get your market to part with it.
  • Mini-Pitch #1: You’ll present your Problem – Solution segment to the class in 60 seconds. Remember, you’ve got to tell an interesting story, not just spew data.

Most of this class session will be open lab time to work on two big design projects:

  • Developing your company color palette, font sets and logo.
  • Creating your product mockup via wireframing tools.

If you’re new to design principles, you’ll find these sources are helpful:

Wednesday:  An Introduction to Hoodline

Brittany Hopkins

J&PR alumna Brittany Hopkins will be joining us March 8 to talk about Hoodline, a San Francisco based digital media news company. Hoodline started in 2010 as a blog about the Lower Haight and has built itself into one of the “largest news sites in the city, with dozens of freelancers writing about their neighborhoods.”

Hopkins joined Hoodline in 2015 as a neighborhood editor and is currently the associate San Francisco editor. Photo above from her LinkedIn profile.

Homework 5 Deadline

The outcomes of your market research must be submitted no later than 3 p.m., Friday, March 10. This is a change from the course schedule. You’ll be submitting it via email.

Depending on the file sizes of your interview recordings or video sessions, you may need to provide this segment of the assignment via Dropbox or loading it into the course dock in the Mac Lab. Let me know if you have any questions or problems in this area.


Featured image source:; CC Zero License


Getting Started In Entrepreneurial Journalism

Happy Sunday DMI: This week in Digital Media Innovation we’re going to start exploring how entrepreneurial perspectives are influencing news media companies and the overall industry.

To help you start learning more about life as an entrepreneur I suggest you start following news media outlets that cover this specific area. Here are a few great places to start:

Sign up for the free enewsletters offered by these organizations. This gets you great news headlines delivered right to your inbox. You’ll want to start a collection of key content focusing on the industry areas you are most excited about. For example:

And, you’ll want to track approaches to entrepreneurial journalism:

Have fun diving in this week. Use these resources to start contemplating The Problem you’ll dive into in a few weeks.


Image Source:, CCZero license

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

This American Life: Super Business Girl

Hi, DMSers. I look forward to hearing about your product ideas in today’s class.

I wanted to share a program from This American Life about a young girl who has created her own startup, SuperBusinessGirl. This young woman is raising funds for her education, and she’s promoting herself as an entrepreneur.

This recording has direct relevance to our class and what you’ll be doing: creating a product for something you are passionate about, creating a business plan, talking to customers, doing testing and research.

Check it out.