Four reasons why journalists need to become journopreneurs

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With commissioning budgets slashed, content freely available, delivery models changing and pay models constantly reinvented, journalistic skills alone are no longer enough. In order to be successful and sustainable, independent journalists need to be equally equipped as business entrepreneurs. They need to become journopreneurs. Here’s why:
  • Technology is creating a level playing field for publishers of all kinds of media: from crazy cat blogs to investigative reporting published in e-book format. Mighty media conglomerates, broadcasters and publishing houses still have power, but they now have to share it. There is an opportunity for independent journalists to build their career on both sides of the fence, benefiting from the name and reach of traditional media outlets and simultaneously enjoying the freedoms of going it alone.
  • For every disappearing advertiser, there is a crowdfunder ready to invest, donate, sponsor or pay a dollar. Or ten. Or a thousand. Paypal accounts to receive online payments take minutes to set up and web shops can be built for free in a few hours by anyone who has used a basic CMS before. Levels of experience and contacts within the traditional media establishment become less relevant as entrepreneurial journalists find other ways to fund their work, reach their audiences, sell their work and generate income.
  • Staff jobs are vanishing almost as fast as print readers and paid subscribers. Despite the industry’s transformation, media remains a popular field of study with tens of thousands of talented graduates joining the field each year. Like those affected by the ongoing redundancies in traditional media, most of them will – by choice or out of necessity – become freelancers. In a crowded market space, journalists who create their own projects and products are more likely to stand out from the crowd.
  •  Newspapers become less about news and less about paper. Audiences become less about reading, listening and viewing and more about participating and experiencing. A different approach is needed to constantly find out what different audiences want and how to give it to them. Using social media, analytics data and other free web tools, innovative freelance journalists can react quicker to changes than big media organisations. Moreover, they can use the same tools to proactively try out different things in order to fine-tune products and deliver them to a more engaged audience.
On 22 March and 31 May I am hosting one-day Journopreneur Workshops in the refurbished Biscuit Factory in London. The workshops are designed to inspire you to launch and grow your freelance career, open your mind to new opportunities that will make you money and encourage you to develop your own journopreneurial ideas and projects. You can book your place here.