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Entrepreneurial journalism

Jill Abramson, Steven Brill Back Long-Form Journalism Start-Up

jill abramson picA new start-up venture spearheaded by former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson and award-winning journalist/Court TV founder Steven Brill focusing on long-form journalism says it will advance writers around $100,000 to produce substantial, longer-than-magazine length articles, according to Poynter.

Abramson, who fleshed-out plans for the as-yet unnamed venture at a Journalism and Women’s Symposium last weekend in California, said the venture will feature one story per month and will be available by subscription.

Although Abramson did not elaborate on potential investors, she said that she and Brill “were very close” to a possible deal with a funder.

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Reynolds Business Journalism Center Offers Financial Fellowship Worth $1,500

Lily Wu, reporter for KAKE News in Kansas, was a 2014 Strictly Financials fellow.  Photo via businessjournalism.org

Lily Wu, reporter for KAKE News in Kansas, was a 2014 Strictly Financials fellow.
Photo via businessjournalism.org

Financial journalists take note, there is still time to apply for a Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism fellowship, worth $1,500 for a  three day course of intensive study in financials and corporate activities from Jan. 5 to 7, 2015 in Phoenix, Ariz.

The eighth annual Strictly Financials Seminar takes place during Reynolds Business Journalism Week at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The fellowship is limited to 12 professional U.S. journalists with at least two years of business journalism experience. Consideration will also be given to those recently assigned to beats covering financial topics. Read more

What Is A Social Journalism Degree? CUNY Is Trying to Answer That Question

CMC-CUNY-Logo3In the endless discussion on the value of a journalism degree, the question, “Are we teaching young journalists the right things the right ways?” always seems to surface. And as the digital revolution rolls on, creating curriculum that will be newsroom-relevant by the time students finish their degrees becomes complicated.

But the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism has a fresh new idea for teaching journalism in their new degree plan — an MA in Social Journalism. As media blogger and journalism professor Jeff Jarvis wrote over at Medium, the degree is based on the idea that journalism shouldn’t be about providing content; it should be about providing a service. (He has been developing this concept for a while; he first introduced it on his blog BuzzMachine).

On top of CUNY’s core MA in Journalism and MA in Entrepreneurial Journalism tracks, the degree plan, if approved by the university and the state of New York, would teach students how to tap into a community’s heartbeat, movers and shakers and produce reporting and content based on what they learn.

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Knight Foundation Helps Fund 17 Innovative Media Projects

KnightLOGOMore media innovation is coming, in part thanks to the Knight Foundation (and of course, the great minds they help fund). The foundation recognizes that money and time are often obstacles to people who have big ideas about making media and journalism processes better, so they have chosen 17 inventive projects to fund through their Prototype Fund program.

The $35,000 grant allows media creatives to fully develop their ideas over a six-month period and then demo the final product before their peers and Knight folks at the end of the ride. After glancing at the list, these projects stood out as significantly useful tools for journalists and digitally-native news organizations. Read more

The Silence at The Intercept Is A Reflection of Startup Newsroom Difficulties

0ca4fbfa-ee45-4a5c-8995-24920f11e534-620x372Just over two months after publishing its first revelations about the NSA’s mass surveillance program, First Look Media’s The Intercept is taking a break. Well, sort of.

The newest member of the team (that we know of), built around former Guardian journalist and Edward Snowden cohort Glenn Greenwald, is editor-in-chief John Cook of Gawker. And on Monday, April 14, Cook took to the Intercept’s blog to explain why there hasn’t been a whole lot of action from The Intercept’s reporting team.

The main reason for the lack of reporting coming out of the team, which also includes Liliana Segura formerly of The Nation, is that they launched before they were 100 percent ready to launch. That is, they started posting stories detailing the NSA’s surveillance and other government programs before they were fully staffed and had a long-term vision for what The Intercept should be. Wrote Cook:

Until we have completed the work of getting staffed up and conceptually prepared for the launch of a full-bore news operation that will be producing a steady stream of shit-kicking stories, The Intercept will be narrowly focusing on one thing and one thing only: Reporting out stories from the NSA archive as quickly and responsibly as is practicable. We will do so at a tempo that suits the material. When we are prepared to publish those stories, we will publish them. When we are not, we will be silent for a time, unless Glenn Greenwald has some blogging he wants to do, because no one can stop Glenn Greenwald from blogging.

So there you go. The Intercept’s decision to go live was based on a broader obligation to just start reporting, “not based on an assessment that everything that one needs for the successful launch of a news web site — staff, editorial capacity, and answers to questions about the site’s broader focus, operational strategy, structure, and design,” said Cook.

Personally, I appreciate the sentiment that the website and editorial strategy don’t have to be perfect in order to set up shop. Ezra Klein‘s Vox did something similar and dubbed the site’s first iteration “a work in progress,” almost as if to invite criticism. The idea that The Intercept — even with such a specific topic focus — should have hammered out every single detail about what it wanted to be before launching is unfair. But, I can understand the complaints around the Web that The Intercept’s design is boring at best, given the $250 million eBay founder Pierre Omidyar funneled into the project. For all we know, though, part of their silence could be allowing for a total makeover.

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