Education of the Entrepreneurial Journalist

Entrepreneurial journalists talk about how they are changing the rules for the profession-and attempt to save it from certain death.


Jeff Jarvis, Associate Professor; and Director of the Interactive Program, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

Rafat Ali, Editor/Publisher, ContentNext Media
Phil Balboni, President and CEO,
John Harris, Editor in Chief,
Geneva Overholser, Director, School of Journalism, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
John Thornton, Chairman, The Texas

Panel Highlights

While it's not likely that every journalist will end up running their own independent media enterprise, our panelists agree that it is essential that marketing and business courses should be taught alongside writing and reporting. The wall has come down and the days of keeping journalism and business separate are over.

Jarvis: In terms of entrepreneurship and business, what should we be teaching journalism students today?

Ali: "Basic skills of writing and reporting are still as important as anything else. But I think a lot of schools ...should be teaching business courses at least on the economics of the media business."

Balboni: "Teach the business of news. If you don't understand how to run an enterprise and create a balance between excellence in journalism and a successful business you will fail at one or both."

Harris: Students and educators need to be aware of...a conception of journalists as free agents, as individual value creators.... You the journalist are the franchise, what value do you bring and how transferable is that value?

Overholser: "We will have journalists who need to care about where audiences are and how they are going to reach those audiences...we [must] become marketers, we [must] understand web analytics, we [must] understand search engine optimization, we [must] understand how media organizations are trying to support themselves."

Thornton: "We started a nonprofit because I came to the conclusion that news was just a really crappy business... What I've seen is that salespersonship needs to be taught, period. Business schools don't even do a good job of teaching the skill of asking for money."