Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Build your own job: what have you got to lose?

Two things make entrepreneurialism so relevant today – one is the internet and the digital revolution, which mean that it’s never been easier or cheaper to publish. Second, with so little job security around, there is very little to lose in striking out.
In this clip from Masterclass 12 of Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide, pioneering multimedia journalist Adam Westbrook talks about the realities of the modern jobs market for journalists.
Find out much more about entrepreneurialism, portfolio careers and building your own job here:

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

How to build a journalism business: free interactive course

Yoodoo is a free, interactive learning website that takes you through the whole process of deciding what your business should be, testing and refining your concept.
They do it with short videos and quizzes, taking you through 40 steps to hone your ideas. It’s an impressive free programme that gives you all the material you’d normally expect to pay for in a business manual or ebook.
You could use it to go through the steps that entrepreneurial journalism students at City University New York complete as they begin a business (details here) but while Cuny is about starting the business, Yoodoo goes further along the path and looks at running it as well.
In addition to identifying your product or service and finding your customers, it deals with the nitty gritty of budgeting, sales, marketing, accounting, costs and break-even, Vat, employment law, finding offices and much more.
I’ve taken the course. Here’s a video taster of what they put me through, in a segment about web marketing, and how I got on.

Working on your elevator pitch

You'll find a full outline of how to create that all-important elevator pitch, and your own journalism business, in Masterclass 12 of Multimedia journalism: A Practical Guide here:

Journalists: What elements to include in your porfolio career

Here's Adam Westbrook's advice on putting your portfolio together: "Ask yourself 'what is it about being a journalist that I really love', and then try and build a business around that."

You'll find a great deal more about building your own job, entrepreneurialism and portfolio careers in Masterclass 12 at Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide's web-version: 

Here are some of the recommendations he comes up with:
Specialise in a single journalistic skill
For example, an expert in Freedom of Information requests (think HelpMeInvestigate) and investigations (think the Investigative Journalism Bureau).
Aggregate the news
Journalism professor Clay Shirky says: “If I was going to set up a news business tomorrow, it would be a business designed to create not one bit of content.”
Adam says: "You can build a business like Mashable or TechCrunch has done. They have aggregated, but built on top so they are the home page of tech news. If it's happened in that field, you’ll get it on those sites, and they build their own spin on top of it."
There are other areas of specialist content where this hasn’t been done yet.
Make a niche work
Forget broadcasting to the many – think connecting with the few.
You only need a thousand followers who will pay for your content to earn a living.
It needs to be a niche that really matters to that audience and you must become the place to go for information about it.
Launch a journalism collaborative
The most famous one – Magnum Photos - was a collaborative of  photojournalists who re-wrote the rules of the game in the mid 20th century.
Magnum was born out of the Leica, a cheap, portable camera, and innovative people such as Cartier Bresson
There are parallels today, where multimedia technology is simpler and cheaper than it ever has been. Creating and publishing  is very straightforward and it's easy to innovate.
Examples from the US:
Examples from the UK:
The major groups are struggling: "They had a business model that required 30 per cent returns, and are having to lay off journalists to try to maintain that profit margin.
"A hyperlocal start-up can run on a much smaller margin. They can cut costs not by paying the journalist nothing but by not having to pay for a big office and a massive printing press."
So if you can really serve a community, keep your costs low, you can fill the gap that has been left by the retreat of the big-groups’ titles.

Monday, 28 June 2010

What should be taught about entrepreneurialism

J-Schools that teach entrepreneurialism - how to build your own job - are few and far between. In Masterclass 12 of Multimedia journalism: A Practical Guide, we look at those that do, and what we can learn from them.

City University New York is a pioneer.
At Cuny they set out to tackle the fact that journalists didn’t understand their own business by establishing a course in which students must create a business plan for a sustainable (which they define as profitable) journalistic enterprise. Cuny won grants of $100k to give as seed money to the best of the ideas students come up with, as decided by a jury of experts.
Here’s what students learn:
How to create a plan for a sustainable (profitable) journalism business
That plan includes
  • An elevator pitch – how to sell the idea briefly and effectively
  • A needs statement – why does the world need this business?
  • Market research and analysis – deciding who their customers are, and talking to them about the idea
  • Competitive analysis
  • Product plan – what is it?
  • Revenue plan – how’s it going to make money?
  • Distribution/marketing plan – how will people discover it?
  • Operations plan – how will it operate? What will that cost?
  • Launch plan– what are the phases and milestones?
You'll find out much more about entrepreneurialism, building a job, and creating a portfolio career here

Can any journalist be an entrepreneur?

Yes, says Adam Westbrook, they can. "It’s a mindset thing. Get that mindset and you can do it."

This clip is extracted from Masterclass 12 of Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide, which is an in-depth look at how the modern-day journalist can use multimedia technology to build their own job.
But being a successful journalistic entrepreneur - and creating a portfolio career -  is not something you can achieve overnight.
It took Adam 18 months to two years of thinking about it, reading, researching. Eventually he realised it was something he could do, and later that it was something he really wanted to do.
Some think its not journalism. They don’t want to be running a business, but infact, says Adam: "It's actually a really creative process".
And the recession has proved that there is very little job security in big publishing corporations, so the risk of branching out is much diminished.
There's much more about entrepreneurialism, portfolio careers and building  your own job in Masterclass 12 at Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Developing a portfolio career

Instead of one full-time job, the modern-day journalist is likely to work at a combination of activities, some that pay (hopefully at least one that pays well), others that are done for free.
In this extract from Masterclass 12: How to Build Your Own Job at, pioneering multimedia journalist Adam Westbrook talks about what goes into his portfolio.
Adam's portfolio looks like this:

  • Teaching video journalism at Kingston University
  • Video journalist for agencies and sites online sites such as VJ Movement
  • Print journalism for clients including The Big Issue
  • Blogging
  • Selling information products, including e-books
For free:
Masterclass 12: How to Build Your own Job is an extensive exploration of entrepreneurial journalism that will be going live at Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide's website, over the coming days. Check back regularly for updates, or follow our Twitter alerts

    Friday, 25 June 2010

    Journalists: Build your own job

    Adam Westbook is a pioneering multimedia, entrepreneurial journalist. He’s brought together his thoughts on what the Next Generation Journalist will need to do to create a successful career and published an ebook with that title.
    What  Adam has to say offers a great introduction and overview to being an entreprenurial journalist, and in building what he calls a portfolio career.
    You can either listen to the full 20 minute interview with him or go to Clips, quotes and links below for the essential highlights

    MMJ Masterclass 12a: How to Build your own Job from Andy Bull on Vimeo.

    Clips, quotes and links

    Clip 1: The Next Generation Journalist

    The next generation journalist is going to have to think differently about their career. Adam says you need to work out how to build your life around your work
    Yep, journalism is a lifestyle choice, and if you aren’t happy having it suffuse everything you do, it's probably not for you. But if you enjoy doing it enough that you don’t really make a distinction between work and not-work, then you’ll do well.
    To do that you have to love what you are doing, and that’s another key component of Adam’s journalism philosophy

    Clip 2: Developing a portfolio career

    Instead of one full-time job, the modern-day journalist is likely to work at a combination of activities, some that pay (hopefully at least one that pays well), others that are done for free.
    Adam's portfolio looks like this:
    • Teaching video journalism at Kingston University
    • Video journalist for agencies and sites online sites such as VJ Movement
    • Print journalism for clients including The Big Issue
    • Blogging
    • Selling information products, including e-books
    For free:
    For more on BUILDING YOUR OWN JOB, check out the full Masterclass at Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide

    Wednesday, 23 June 2010

    How to build your own job

    The essentials of entrepreneurialism. Experts and practitioners on how to create your own journalism business

    Latest in the Masterclass series at features a week-long series of postings covering a huge, and hugely important area.

    With the rise in freelancing, and the great opportunities that new technologies offer us to launch our own titles, we look at proven strategies for creating your own media business.

    Experts include Adam Westbrook, the multimedia journalist, lecturer, author and more who epitomises the entrepreneurial spirit. 

    Eric Gordon, who bought and revived the Camden New Journal, and 

    David Howell, who created his own magazine and is an expert on self-publishing.

    One focus is on hyperlocal, and we profile three outfits that offer the prospect of creating a local website/magazine that pays. We also look at how to build a portfolio of money-making activities.
    Going live on in instalments between June 26 and July 2

    Wednesday, 16 June 2010

    Using Ovi to build a mobile site for Nokia phones

    Ovi, which is run by Nokia, is designed to create mobile sites solely for Nokia phones.

    Ovi actually uses a white-label version of Mippin, and if you create a site on Ovi, you’ll discover you also have an account at Mippin, where a mirror of the site you have created is automatically generated.

    Hence, building on Ovi is the same as on Mippin. For a tutorial on that, go to this element of MMJ Masterclass 11: Going Mobile.

    Your app is presented in the Nokia shop, where mine got 142 downloads in the first couple of days, which was satisfying.

    One benefit that Ovi has over Mippin is that Ovi allows you to design a button that will appear along with the other apps you have on your phone’s home screen.

    One downside of Ovi, apart from the fact it serves only Nokia phones, is that it takes them six working days to approve your site and publish it.

    I couldn’t get the site on any non-Nokia phone. I tried to send it to a non-Nokia phone by creating an account at the Nokia store, and clicking on ‘send to a friend’, and inserting my own mobile number.
    The site said it would send me a text enabling my app to download, but it never arrived, presumably because my number relates to a non-Nokia phone.
    Full Masterclass here:

    Tuesday, 15 June 2010

    Developing your mobile strategy: Advice from three experts

    In the rest of this masterclass we’ve concentrated on what you can do on mobile platforms yourself.
    But if you are working as part of a team – either at a publisher or on a journalism course where you have access to people with a range of skills, you can go further, and develop a mobile strategy.
    What should that strategy be? This excellent post from Regina McCombs at Poynter poses

    10 Questions to Help You Craft a Mobile Strategy (Before It's Too Late)

    Here’s a summary of what I reckon are the key points among Regina’s 10
    Who is your audience?
    Mobile is local -- much more so than the desktop web. Spend time researching your local market. What handsets do people own? Who are the largest carriers? What is the smart phone penetration in your area?
    What does your audience want?
    Mobile users like local information, video, breaking news and weather.
    What will you provide?
    Take inventory of what you have and how it's organised. Do your RSS feeds work well? Are they well-organised? Do you geocode your feeds so that you can deliver content based on a user's location? If not, what would it take for you to do that?
    How will you make money?
    There are so many options: advertising, charging for an app, charging a subscription to use a free app, selling by the issue, and sponsoring sites and apps.
    Consider how your mobile site will fit into any current or future registration and paid content strategy.
    Who needs to be involved?
    News, sales and technology. One person should be responsible for mobile strategy.
    What technologies will you use?
    Are you going to create native apps? For which platforms?
    A logical process would be to get a good mobile site up and running, then begin developing apps for particular handsets.
    How will you promote it?
    Use your newspaper or station to promote your mobile site or app, and make sure the information is easy to find on your website.
    Get the advice of two more experts at the MMJ site

    Monday, 14 June 2010

    Building a full mobile website with Zinadoo

    Here's a video overview of creating a site on Zinadoo. You'll find a good deal more information in the full Going Mobile Video Masterclass at

    Video not showing? Find it here
    You'll find the rest of this masterclass at or go directly via this link:

    Saturday, 12 June 2010

    Video Masterclass: Creating a mobile version of a blog or RSS feed

    I’ve tried various sites and came to the conclusion that Mippin is the best for creating a mobile site from a blog or RSS feed.This video shows you how, but for a really detailed, steep-by-step tutorial, go to the full video, text and stills tutorial at

    Video how showing? Open it here

    Friday, 11 June 2010

    New video Masterclass: How to go mobile

    Here's an introduction to the latest Video Masterclass on Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide.
    The full course is free to air  for a week, then it goes behind the paywall.
    How to create a mobile version of a blog, any RSS feed, or a substantial website

    What this masterclass is about
    This masterclass is about building a mobile, multimedia site to complement your static blog or website.
    Why do you need a mobile presence?
    The explosion in smart phone use means that many more people are now searching for information on mobile devices.
    If you don’t have a mobile presence alongside your conventional website, users who discover you on their smart phones find your websites impossible to navigate, and you lose out.
    What we’ll cover in this masterclass
    This masterclass will give you practical demonstrations of how to create a mobile site from a blog or other RSS feed, and also how to create a full mobile website.
    On video I’ll be demonstrating the use of two software packages: Mippin and Zinadoo. Several other packages are demonstrated in text and stills
    What we won’t be doing: creating an iphone app.
    We won’t be doing that for the simple reason that it’s not yet possible to use free software; software created for people who aren’t web builders with an intimate knowledge of coding – html, javascript and so on – to do so.
    No doubt that will become possible, and as soon as it is we’ll have a masterclass on it.
    What we will be doing
    We are concentrating on what can be done on free, readily available web-based software by people with no coding skills.
    And it’s worth stressing that you can create mobile content that gives readers a great experience on the iPhone without building an iPhone app.
    The sites you create will still look good on the iPhone, and your readers can link to them from an icon on their phone’s home screen, just as they would with an app
    The software packages we’ll be using don’t require any technical knowledge. And while the mobile sites they let you create don’t have the slickness of iphone apps, they do have the advantage of working on any mobile phone with a web browser.
    Not all the masterclass is on video. There is a good deal of supporting text, and you’ll need to work through that to get the full picture.

    Tuesday, 8 June 2010

    How to create a mobile version of a blog or website

    Here's a video introduction to the latest Masterclass at Check there for practical demonstrations in how to create mobile versions of blogs and RSS feeds, and also how to create a substantial mobile-friendly version of your static website.
    There's a lot of content to come and it will go live in stages over the next few days. Then, it'll be free to view for a week, after which time you'll have to be a subscriber to see it.

    Thursday, 3 June 2010

    Essential reading on your mobile Mippin feed validation KEY=51020fe8

    I've created a mobile version of Journalists' Essential Reading, which bundles 17 feeds from what to me are the most important sources for news, views and analysis of the state of journalism, and its future.

    Here's the url: reading