Welcome to Journovation Central, a digital publication about innovation in journalism and civic media. We operate out of the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University with support from the Peter A. Horvitz Chair in Journalism Innovation. I’m Dan Pacheco, and I’m behind this site.
Why is journalism innovation so important today? Technology has turned the traditional news business model on its head, but it’s also creating a renaissance in how journalists inform and connect with their audiences. The purpose of Journovation Central is to to put a bright spotlight on the future of news, from innovative projects in existing newsrooms, to journalism startups, to entrepreneurially-minded freelance journalists.
It’s our overarching belief that the future for journalists is bright as long as they focus on how best to meet the needs of the audiences they seek to inform. Individual success stories abound, but they are often drowned out by the larger discussion about how to save the news industry and practices of the last century
While we think the discussion of how to save current news industries is important, we also feel that it’s well reported elsewhere. Our goal with Journovation Central is not to figure out how to fix the past, but to focus on the future. The lessons learned here can inform both legacy news organizations looking to improve their digital game, and “entrepreneurial journalists” who are doing it on their own.
Here are just few ways that the future is bright for journalists who take advantage of everything the digital ecosystem has to offer.
1. Curation is King. Networked digital devices such as the personal computer and mobile devices have led to an explosion in information and opinion. People have more access to instant information at any time in history, but as that sea of information grows deeper, how can they be sure what they’re receiving is true, accurate and balanced? Far from killing opportunity, digital publishing and social media create an even bigger need for journalists to help people separate the wheat from the chaff.
2. New Business Models Abound. Digital publishing creates new ways for journalists to fund their important work. In the past, only a few privileged organizations could afford to print, distribute or broadcast the same message to millions, and as a result those companies could charge a premium to advertisers.
Today, millions of people can publish highly targeted messages directly to each other, and the advertisers have more choices than they know how to leverage. This fundamental disruption in supply and demand makes it exceedingly difficult for legacy news organizations to adapt, but there is a silver lining. Smart journalists and news organizations are now free to create entirely new products and relationships with advertisers, and explore new ways of funding their activities.
This isn’t just an idea or a theory, but a reality. Journovation Central will highlight entrepreneurial journalists who take novel approaches to funding their work, and are willing to share what works for them so others can follow in their footsteps.
3. The Journalist is the Brand. Social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and Pinterest make it possible for journalists to aggregate audiences that are many orders of magnitude larger than any they were able to reach through old media forms. But more than that, they’re able to directly reach their followers without spending a penny.
In the past, writers got a name through the media outlets they wrote for, but that’s no longer the only path to growing an audience. The definition of who qualifies as a journalist is also expanding through blogs and citizen media. We will highlight journalists who are creating a name for themselves or their organizations in the social sphere and using their newfound power for civic good.
The future of journalism is bright if you know where to look. We look forward to telling the stories of journovation that are all around us.
– Dan Pacheco, Peter A. Horvitz Endowed Chair in Journalism Innovation