In my senior project class, the capstone course for the journalism major, we have been studying the entrepreneurial side of our industry-that is, exploring ways to actually make money in this business. Because, let's face it, the news ecosystem is changing, and the old foundation of supporting journalism with subscription services and ad revenue just isn't cutting it anymore.
Even the most positive and upbeat members of the journalism community (I'd like to think that I'm one of them) have come to realize this. The fact of the matter is that while everybody needs news in some way, most of us don't want to pay for it. The same is true for many other media industries, as the Internet increases accessibility to content but decreases the need for that content to be paid for.
In fact, just before sitting down to type this, I unsuccessfully scoured the web for an online version of a documentary that I need to watch for homework. If that doesn't say "desperate" (referring to both myself and the industry), then I don't know what does.
So, back to entrepreneurial journalism; in class, our latest focus is on developing web startups that solve a "pain" in the market. It's a funny way to put it, I'll admit, but it's so accurate-the best new journalism ventures (or in any field, for that matter) find solutions to problems that consumers have…or that they didn't know they had until they stumbled upon your site. As we develop our own concepts for news startups, I began to think about what "pains" The Ramapo News can help solve for our readers.
One of the things we are launching this semester is community blogs. Much like I use The Ramapo News online as a platform to blog about journalism and our newspaper, we are offering virtual space to clubs and organizations on campus to use our website as a place to get their messages out to our readers.
We started this initiative with SGA Today," a blog by Student Government President Vinny Guinta about the latest happenings on campus and within their group, and we are hoping to expand as the semester goes on. (We'll even help you market the blog, like we did with the cool graphic of Vinny for SGA Today!) We are often asked to partner with campus organizations, and after realizing there was a need for more diverse voices and information in our publication, we thought blogging would be a perfect way to solve this "pain."
So, check out our new "Blogs" section online, and if your club or org would like to inquire about starting one with us, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note that at this time, we are only accepting blog requests from groups rather than individuals.
And by the way, The Ramapo News will be looking into other "pains" that our readership may have and how we can creatively and effectively solve them. Stay tuned for new developments and opportunities to give us your feedback on how to best serve you. For now, you can always reach us on social media or via email if you'd like to send us your thoughts!
That's all the news for now-Nicole