Training for News Entrepreneurs

On July 9, 2014, we hosted a training session for news entrepreneurs at Montclair State University. The all-day session included talks from entrepreneurial journalists, marketing strategists, ad sales representatives, and other professionals from throughout the news ecosystem.

We started the day with a presentation from Bill Bowman, editor at the Franklin Reporter & Advocate. Bill, a graduate of the first Grow & Strengthen class, talked about some of the issues you can expect to encounter during your first year of starting a news site and shared some winning strategies for news entrepreneurs.

Professional business coach Joe Michaud covered some of the pros and cons of incorporating as a for-profit or not-for-profit corporation and answered a few questions from the audience about the difference between the two corporate structures. Mary Barr-Mann, co-founder of The Village Green, talked about how she and her partner Carolyn Maynard-Parisi managed to resolve the issues they encountered surrounding aspects of incorporation, professional partnership, and platform selection.

David Restrepo, cofounder and Chief Strategy Officer at TinyPass, explained how TinyPass can be used to power either a paywall or a membership option in order to help online publishers generate revenue for their sites. Debbie Galant, associate director at the Center for Cooperative Media, told us about some of methods that publishers can use to manage the online comments sections on their websites without falling prey to Internet trolls.

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 2.49.24 PMAnnette Batson of Baristanet and Sylvia Jáuregui of NJ Inside Out talked about their experiences as advertising and sales representatives for local and hyperlocal publications in New Jersey. They also discussed some of the practical, professional, and ethical decisions they’ve encountered during the process of selling ads and promoting their businesses.

Josh Stearns, director of the Dodge Foundation’s Journalism Sustainability Project, told us how publishers can utilize news events to foster increased brand recognition, community outreach, and partner cooperation. He also discussed how news events can be used as an alternative source of revenue for publishers and news organizations looking to expand their reach and engagement with readers.

Amy Radin, recent Chief Marketing Officer at AXA US and Huffington Post contributor, concluded the training session by explaining why companies should move away from a reliance on a set of linear values and relationships between content producers and content consumers. Instead, Radin advocated for the use of a more holistic approach by employing what she calls “value constellations” in order to better understand the complex and interdependent relationships between producers and consumers.


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