Some interesting projects are on my plate

By Steve Outing

Unless your personal blog is your livelihood and brings in a decent amount of revenue, it’s sometimes difficult to keep it well fed. That’s my excuse for not having posted here in over a month. (Yikes!) … But I have been working on some fascinating news- and technology-related projects recently, so I share them here as an update.

Nearly all my work time has gone into the Digital Media Test Kitchen at CU-Boulder’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication, a program I founded and direct. (Yes, that journalism school — the one that may be “discontinued.” But no, it’s not the end of journalism education at the University of Colorado, but rather an institutional process that will modernize it as part of an overall restructuring to make journalism and media teaching and research more interdisciplinary and relevant to the digital transformation under way in our society.)

I’ve been pleased that the Test Kitchen program has been raising donor money despite the uncertainness of the university process’ eventual outcome, including two donors coming forward just last week.

So, here are some of the project areas that we’re working on at the Test Kitchen. I welcome partnership and collaboration inquiries in these areas, as well as new research ideas to benefit the news sector.

  • Membership models for news. This is a Journalism-Business research project looking into alternative revenue models for news websites (and including mobile components) vs. “paywalls” that some news publishers have put in front of commodity news content. We’re focusing on two areas of news providers where paywalls don’t make much sense: investigative reporting organizations and collegiate media.
  • Social gaming to change news behavior. In partnership with the developers of the popular Qrank mobile social news/trivia/history quiz, we’re experimenting with and examining the role of mobile gaming in changing the news-consumption habits of young adults, and increasing news awareness.
  • Always-on video as a news tool. In the area of “life-casting” is technology that allows an individual to record everything that happens to them, including video recording of everything that the person sees and hears. We think a more practical use for always-on video is for reporters out working a story.
  • Cross-device media viewing. We’re experimenting with ways to allow for better consumption by an individual of long-form journalism across multiple devices (PC, smartphone, tablet, etc.) by allowing an article reader to pick up where he/she left off when picking up a different media device at a later time.
  • Mobile augmented reality. This is an area where we’re looking at the potential of smartphone AR technology being put to use for innovative editorial presentation and reporting, and for new forms of local advertising.
  • Next-generation news aggregators. We’ve gotten a start on that with our beta site, but more is in store, including a refined user interface and aggregator-level source ratings.

There’s more, and I’m excited about the coming year. As I mentioned above, I love to hear from potential partners and collaborators: students, academics, entrepreneurs, etc. E-mail me at or call me at 303-834-7810.

And if the Digital Media Test Kitchen sounds like a program worthy of your financial support, allow me to point you to our Giving page!

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!