Archive for December, 2011

3 reasons why journalists could make good entrepreneurs

A few months back, I went full time with AdYapper, an early stage startup in the ad space. Since around that time, I’ve been thinking of reasons why I think journalists could make good entrepreneurs.
Why is this important? Newsrooms continue to lay off reporters, and starting a business could be a great alternative to a path in the communications field, which is where many journalists go once they’re done in the news business.
This is not a new concept. (In fact, we’ve blogged about it recently.) Since my time at Chicago Tribune/Tribune Company, I’ve been urging reporters to think of themselves as entrepreneurs within their beats, and within their newsrooms; however, I never really thought of just  why I think the very act of reporting and writing is entrepreneurial.  So I came up with a few reasons:
  • Expertise: The very practice of journalism requires knowledge of a space other than journalism. Other than writing and reporting. And if there’s something a reporter doesn’t know, they learn about it.
  • Hustle: This one really goes without saying.
  • Contacts: Journalists have the right to ask anyone any question, at any time. (Whether they respond is another story entirely.) Through it all, journalists develop great rolodexes, and if they’re good, respect — and a good working relationship — from and among their readers and sources.

I put out a call within my network, asking why they thought reporters could be good entrepreneurs. I got one answer: “Journalists can make great entrepreneurs. Our skill sets are tuned to detect and address relevant problems,” says Jason Goodrich, a former editor at the Chicago Tribune and now CEO of Shortlist. “We get to the ‘why’ by talking with people and analyzing the data. Maybe above all else, journalists tend to possess the right mix of idealism, skepticism and determination to bring useful ideas to life.”

Not surprisingly, Goodrich also thinks there’s a learning curve. “However, being a journalist does not qualify you for startup life,” he said. “Entrepreneurship is about building a sustainable business. Let’s just say that there’s a lot of math involved.”

Just something to think about.

-Daniel B. Honigman

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What do you think? What are some reasons YOU think journalists could make good entrepreneurs? Do you have any examples of entrepreneurship within your newsrooms? Please leave your thoughts as comments below!

6 comments December 13th, 2011


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