By Steve Outing
Dan Gillmor is gearing up for his new position as inaugural leader of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University, starting next year. Over on the Center for Citizen Media blog, he blogs about the planning process for getting the new center going.
He writes: “The most important thing is simple: This is a time of incredible opportunity in media, and entrepreneurial thinking is absolutely key to the future of journalism. Much of the worry in the traditional organizations is well warranted, given the implosion of their business models, but even there I’m seeing plenty of creativity spawned by the realization that what worked, business-wise, in the past is at best unlikely to work in the future due to the end of the monopoly and oligopoly eras of news. Meanwhile, activists and entrepreneurs are seizing the chance to make a difference when it counts. Everywhere I go, I talk with people of all ages who have great-sounding ideas about media projects. The major question remains, how do we make these things sustainable?”
Gillmor is (as usual) at the right place in the grand scheme of things. This is exactly what the news industry needs. I totally buy into the notion that entrepreneurial thinking is what will “save journalism.” As old business models become unsustainable, traditional news organizations must be much more open to entrepreneurial thinking — and fund new business operations that well may hasten the inevitable demise of their former cash cows.
Of course, much of the new news initiatives will come from entrepreneurs with no formal links to traditional news organizations. I’m hoping we’ll see a wave of those in the next couple years (after which, of course, they’ll likely get acquired by news companies looking to save themselves).