Main actor: Simone
Simone is a young media department graduate, who followed the adventures of the journalist Jorge Luis. Jorge Luis was transforming the newspaper operation into a kind of collective learning project, turning the newsroom into a platform for discussion and learning, and inciting the developers to provide an API for external coders. Simone wrote a paper about all this in her last year at the media department. She also runs a blog about tools which empower people to participate in politics (local, nation-wide and international).
Main success scenario
- Simone loves her blog. She believes verticals and specialization are the future in blogging. However, she needs money to live, and to pay back the debts she made to finance her studies. Her media department was moderately interesting, but nobody ever thought of organizing a course “entrepreneurial blogging/journalism”.
- Posting every day about collaborative online tools such as wikis, forums, blogs, mindmaps, synchronous sessions, social bookmarks, visualization tools, Simone decides to reach out and look online for others who are experiencing the same challenges.
- As she encounters various other people, they start curating stuff about blogging business models and best practices. They find lots of useful stuff for free at Robin Good’s website, and they manage to get access to online resources at a strange group which seems to specialize in “mind amplifying tools” and “literacies of cooperation”. They also discover that “entrepreneurial journalism” is taught at various colleges, and invariably the professors and most of the students there indulge in blogging and publishing about their insights and experiments. All that material is being discussed on the collaborative platform Simone built.
- Simone uses the discussions to blog about her experience. After all, issues about financing media who empower people in order to broaden and deepen the democracy is something which is rather on topic for her own blogging practice. Also, because of her reaching out, her contacts increased considerably. She works together with someone to share a virtual co-working space, and people start noticing her. Some ask her for customized expert advice about collaborative tools and collaboration methodologies. The city council expresses some vague interest and considers hiring her as a consultant.
- Even though she gets several gigs, Simone realizes it’s not easy to earn a living as a blogger. But it seems to open other doors… however, she continues her investigation about business models for collaborative media. As yet we don’t know whether Simone’s blog will be profitable in itself, but we do see a network around her projects, exchanging insights but also valuable business information and opening more doors.
I had the opportunity to give some seminars at media departments here in Belgium. In my experience, the students were not familiar with curation practices or infotention strategies. They also lack courses in entrepreneurial journalism. In other words, they’re still educated for the big media companies, but they’re not prepared to start the next TechCrunch or Huffington Post. Often the students asked me, after the seminar, “how can we learn all this? they won’t teach us these things here”. I think there is a need for P2P learning about not only curation, infotention, social dashboards, communities and governance of common pool recourses, but also about publishing strategies, social media workflows and business models.