JRMourning the End

It’s been quite the semester. Scratch that. It’s been quite the 4 years in the Journalism, Media & Computing Department.

“We’ve explored — really just touched the tip — of entrepreneurial media and some of the ins and outs of being an entrepreneur. We heard from entrepreneur Bryant Ott. You survived the elevator pitch. You developed your own ideas for a new product/company.”

-Dr. Carol Zuegner

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#JMCAwesome Seniors

My biggest blessing from this Entrepreneurial Media class, and honestly the last 4 years in this department, is the connections. The wonderful people pictured to the left are going places. I feel so lucky to have studied, succeeded, failed, laughed and struggled with them throughout this crazy thing they call college. The people that make up the this department have become family.

Not only have I built lasting connections with the students and faculty, but this class taught me how to make connections with strangers. The ability to break the ice and start a conversation with a random person is something I’ve always prided myself on. However, when our class took a trip to the Bailey Lauerman networking event, I got to put that skill into practice. I met a several professionals who I eventually connected with on LinkedIn, which will serve me well if I ever decide to enter the field. (Currently I plan on pursuing a degree and career in Student Affairs).  

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SocialAbroad Executive Team

Another huge takeaway from this class revolves around an anticipation for the future. I’m grateful that Creighton provides it’s students with an ever-changing curriculum that meets the needs of today’s journalistic society. The future of journalism and mass media is unknown. Therefore, taking a class that quite literally teaches you how to start from the ground up is so important. Stretching my creative capacity and coming up with an idea to pursue further as a business is something that will serve me well; many journalists will have to do this in the future to stay relevant.

The final takeaway from JRM599 and quite possibly my favorite aspect of the class is an ability to present an idea creatively and professionally. Above is a picture of my team after our final business plan presentation for our app, SocialAbroad. While I didn’t enjoy it at the time, doing an elevator pitch taught me how to consolidate information in an engaging way and speak from my brain instead of a notecard. Preparing the final plan allowed me to think of creative ways to engage the audience. The skills I learned that relate to public speaking will be absolutely invaluable in my future career.

I can’t believe I am done with all required classes for my journalism major. Not walking into Hitchcock 204 or 205 everyday will be an adjustment. I absolutely cannot imagine my Creighton experience if I had chosen something different. Thank you Carol and the rest of the JMC faculty for teaching me marketable skills across so many fields. Your guidance and leadership over the last 4 years has been so inspiring. 

(Elevator) Pitch Perfect

The concept of an “elevator pitch” is really intriguing to me. I’m definitely that annoying girl on the elevator who strikes up a conversation with everyone instead of staring blankly at the floor. I like breaking social norms and practicing small talk with strangers with a limited amount of time is always beneficial.

When we were assigned the elevator pitch assignment for my senior capstone in journalism, I was entirely too excited. My unpopular opinion and energy for the assignment was opposite of the general reaction in the room. I don’t mind public speaking. In fact, I like to be in the front of the room taking charge of the scenario.

In order to prepare for my elevator pitch for SocialAbroad, I spent a great deal of time looking over the market analysis that my group and I put together a few weeks prior. In researching other industry participants, I was able to put together a pitch that drew on strengths that set SocialAbroad apart from apps like Trip Advisor, Air Bnb, Hostel World, and Tinder.

Developing the pitch didn’t take me long, and after practicing the pitch for an hour in my parked car (because I couldn’t find another place on campus that was private), I was feeling confident. I knew which words to emphasize more with my tone, which words to use a hand motion on, and so forth. However, when it came time to actually deliver the pitch my mind went blank.

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JRM599 after surviving Elevator Pitch Day

After practicing for hours and not feeling any nerves prior to 4pm on Wednesday, all of a sudden I froze and started speaking on a tangent. I didn’t say half of the things I wanted to and I was not as dynamic in my delivery as I had hoped. But I got through it. I survived. Here is the photo evidence that the entire class survived.

I really enjoyed listening to other people’s pitches. The ones that stood out the most were the ones with enthusiasm. It’s hard to sell a product that you’re not excited about yourself. The content in all of the pitches was great; almost everyone used statistics and data.

The pitches that came off in a more casual, conversational tone also resonated with me the most. The concept of an elevator pitch is that you are just telling someone in a short period of time who you are and what you’re all about. It shouldn’t be just a grandiose thing.

I learned a lot from the experience. Thinking on your feet is probably the most important. When I blanked on my pitch, it was important for me to be able to actually think about what I was trying to say, instead of just rambling from memory. It is also important to get excited about your product and really take charge of the room. In demanding that attention, you are demanding investment in your product.

Passion: Plan, Project, Profit

I love talking about passions. I could talk about passions all day with people. The twinkle in their eye, the beams illuminating from their face, the energy in their voice gives me life. When someone is passionate, they light up a room and I love seeing that quality in people.

Last week, Bryant Ott from the White and Blue Review came to talk to our entrepreneurial media class about his passion project.

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Homepage of the White and Blue Review

Ott immediately started the conversation stating, “I’m a total Creighton nerd.” He grew up going to all of the basketball games with his dad and spent much of his time in college with his buddies at different games and matches. Creighton sports encompasses Ott’s passion, I could tell by the way his face lit up when speaking about it.

When Ott graduated from Creighton he began writing a blog with creative content and reviews of the basketball games. He sent it out to his friends that left Omaha to pursue other jobs. What started as a way to stay connected and stay busy during his job hunt, turned into something much bigger.

 

Being an entrepreneur involves agile development. This is basically continuous development and the ability to shift focus and attack a new opportunity. The White and Blue Review started as a blog about Creighton basketball and has since expanded to all Creighton sports. Ott saw the opportunity and took a chance. 

Every start-up is different but what I like about this one is that the sole purpose is not to make tons and tons of money. Ott never expected this to be something that was profitable. All of the founding members have other jobs and just do this on the side because they enjoy it.

I was also intrigued by the wide variety of people in involved in the start-up from writers, to lawyers, to accountants, etc. If you’re passionate about something and you have an idea, there’s a spot for you.

Plan B, C, D, and E.

“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

-John Lennon

I always thought I had a plan coming into college. I was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, recent high school graduate with the world as her oyster.  Big dreams, big hair, and big plans defined my life and I was busy planning every aspect of what the future would hold. Confident52003212_cdaed75ca3_m in my plan, I had a very clear direction for my life and nothing or no one would stand in the way.

I would have never guessed in a million years that I would be where I am today. I didn’t plan for this. I didn’t plan to fall in love with the profession I did. I didn’t plan to become who I am so proud to be today.

Things ebb and flow in business plans just as they do in life. Involving yourself in the entrepreneurial world is just asking for a series of changed plans, and that’s not a bad thing.

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

-Mike Tyson

In a May 2013 article from the Harvard Business Review, Steve Blank discusses three things he learned after watching decades of start-ups follow a typical business model.

  1. Business plans rarely survive first contact with customers.
  2. Dreaming up five year plans is almost always a waste of time.
  3. Start-ups that ultimately succeed go quickly from failure to failure, all the while adapting, iterating on, and improving their initial ideas.

This absolutely resonates with me. It is a waste of time dreaming up detailed plans for the future before receiving feedback from customers. Like I said, plans change and it is absolutely imperative that an entrepreneur is okay with that or else the business will not survive.

The lean method Blank discusses makes sense. A business model canvas seems much more intuitive and beneficial for today’s changing media landscape and that to me, is exciting.

Niche News

Niche news outlets are becoming the latest trendy thing. Sites like the Seattle Transit Blog create an channel of local news on niche topics that readers are interested in. Blogs like this are designed to “fill a void in the community.” There is an entire list of them here from Michele McClellan of the Reynolds Journalism Institute.

The thing about localized news is that if it’s not relevant to you, that’s that. I looked through Michele’s list for a long time trying to find a site that peaked my interest but I’m not a Brooklyn parent, a New Jersey foodie, or a Texas wine lover. So, I immediately began filtering through sites that could be relevant to my life. As a native of Washington, the Seattle Transit Blog was calling my name.

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The content of the blog hits nearly 50,000 people each month. With a “well-educated, engaged audience consisting of well-informed Seattle-area citizens, transit riders & enthusiasts, as well as many government officials and local media,” this blog delivers new content daily. Even on the weekends.

“It is a must-read for anyone who cares about living, working, and getting around in the Puget Sound.” -STB

Seattle Transit Blog even has a community page called “Page 2” open to anyone who has something to say about transit or urban issues. Members of the community generally post once a week. This creates a public forum where comments are encouraged.

The design of the blog is professional. All writing, photography, and video is presented in a way that is pleasing to the eye. STB is a non-profit organization with a very small paid staff. Most contributors are volunteers from all walks of life, occupations, and perspectives. It is evident that the people writing and reading this site are incredibly passionate.

The site generates revenue from donations as well as advertising and sponsorships. They
offer advertising for $200/week or $40/day. Clearly-labeled sponsored posts run in their feed however limited to once screen-shot-2016-09-06-at-10-34-47-pmper week for $300. Since STB prides itself on serving the greater community, discounts are given to advertisers of political campaigns and local activism issues. Perfect for the average Seattleite, if you ask me. 

The founders of STB found a pain-point in the community and created a local solution. This is the future of modern news.

 

 

 

 

Weapons of Mass Disruption

Just as earthly landscapes change with time, so does the media landscape. I recently read a blog post by Carlo De Marchis discussing “disruptions” to the media landscape.

You can read the post here.

It’s 10 p.m. on a Tuesday night and I’m surrounded by three digital signs on the walls, two small device screens sitting on the table, and one laptop screen in front of me. Marchis would say that all of these media outlets are a “disruption.”

“There are 3 disruptions that are crucial for the future of media: the disruption of media consumption, the disruption of media communication, and the disruption of media production.”

-Carlo De Marchis

2913493592_52560201ff_zUsing the word “disruption” to describe the changing landscape of media doesn’t sit well in my stomach. I would consider this an opportunity. I’ve always been more of a glass-half-full kind of girl, and this creates no exception. With changes in the way we consume, communicate, and produce media comes infinite opportunity to think creatively and entrepreneurially.

Now don’t get me wrong, Marchis doesn’t spend his entire post down in the dumps about the media landscape, he calls us to action. He calls us to “look for the next transient competitive advantage.” He calls us to think about the idea of entrepreneurial journalism. I encourage you to read this book by Mark Briggs to gain more insight into the topic.

Personally, I think journalism is already entrepreneurial. It has been that way for decades. The current landscape wouldn’t be as colorful as it is without ground-breaking ideas. Journalists in today’s society have to wear many hats in order to stay relevant. They have to communicate their story in such a way that it holds our attention. But, what works today might not 6 months from now. I mean just think about how journalism has changed just in the last 5 years!

The entire idea of a constantly changing landscape excites me. As one of those annoying people who can’t stay focused on the same thing or sit still in a chair for extended periods of time, a field of expertise that requires constant creative thinking and different challenges everyday excites me.

But will my journalism degree be worth anything 10 years from now? Will my innovative thoughts be worth any money? The future of the media landscape is so unknown and that scares me, but that’s what makes is so beautiful when it comes to fruition.