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Entrepreneurial journalism

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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Mediabistro Course

Memoir Writing

Memoir WritingStarting July 16, learn how to tell and sell the story of your life! Taught by a published memoir writer, Wendy Dale will teach you how to create a story around a marketable premise, write a memoir with solid structure, sell you memoir before you've finished writing it and more! Register now! 

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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Vox.com and News Flash Cards: What Do You Think?

Vox-MediaFinally Ezra Klein‘s Vox.com has debuted, and the Internet has spoken. Of course, the former Wonkblogger and Washington Post resident celebrity’s move away from legacy media to, essentially a startup, was big news, so anyone interested in new media is watching closely.

Vox Media has been known in recent years for its success in online publishing — because they’re digitally native, they’ve been able to pioneer the art of creating cool-looking “verticals,” relying on a combination CEO and Chairman Jim Bankoff often champions: top-notch talent and the best possible technology.

The seventh of Vox’s properties behind The Verge, Polygon, Eater, SB Nation, Racked and Curbed, Vox.com is a slight departure from the company’s typical paradigm; instead of focusing on sports or food (SB Nation and Eater, respectively), its role is to report and analyze general news. Klein, several of his Post colleagues and other reporters, totaling a 20-person team, were brought in to do explanatory journalism. That is, to provide ongoing resources for understanding the concepts behind news stories, whether they’re politically, financially  or culturally focused.

Which brings us to “Vox Cards,” a sort of digital index card akin to how you studied for college exams. The cards take big topics like the Affordable Care Act, Bitcoin, global warming, immigration reform and my favorite — “Congressional dysfunction” — and break them down into 20 or so simple questions and answers that hopefully help readers understand the why it matters aspect of the news. Vox Cards are linked to in articles, which include “highlighted” words. Basically, Vox Cards help you digest the “vegetables” of current events in a slideshow form.

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Project X No More: Understanding the News with Vox

It’s a real thing now. Ezra Klein’s much gabbed about Project X has a name, a launch video, and its first explainer. Under Vox Media, the venture is simply Vox.com. Here’s their launch video:

I’m excited to see what it looks like and what it does. I like the idea of a news explainer — I recently wanted one for my not so newsy father who was asking about the Ukraine news cycle. To him, it seemed like it came out of nowhere: “this wasn’t on the evening news two weeks ago!” I, on the other hand, had been watching is slowly unfold and then blow up on Twitter and around the internet. Will there be a single link I can send him the next time that happens?

What do you think about Vox? Do you think this is the solution to the “problem in journalism” as Klein and company see it?

Image via Vox. 

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