Last month I had the opportunity to make a quick trip to Atlanta for the PBS MediaShift Collab/Space workshop. I’m behind on blogging about it, but I wanted to share some of what I learned here.
I highly recommend checking out all of these startups. Mark Glaser of PBS MediaShift offers an excellent short description of each one plus links here. It’s inspiring to see innovation in the media space; these are exactly the kinds of businesses/nonprofits I’d like to see my entrepreneurial journalism students creating. A few quick takeaways:
I was especially taken with Clear Health Costs, which aims to bring transparency to this notoriously opaque industry in ways that not only help patients but perhaps help to force reform of our often inefficent and overpriced health care system. What a great idea! I think we need to see more examples of using journalism skills in ways that don’t just involve producing a traditional article or video but can be extremely useful for audiences.
I also enjoyed brainstorming possible solutions to challenges faced by Andrew Haeg of Groundsource, who is working on a simple system to ask people questions via text message that works even on feature phones and as thus can be used throughout the globe. Not only is the latter of obvious use to journalists seeking to broaden their source base and do better reporting, it is easy to imagine how pollsters and other experts in public opinion or market research could also use the tool and perhaps subsidize its journalistic and pro-social aims.
It was interesting to learn that California Public Press is operating on a budget of about $60,000 per year and San Francisco Public Press on about $75,000. Both of these are small,local nonprofit investigative journalism outlets that often work with public records and data to get stories. Clearly this is a shoestring budget and they would love to/need to increase it, but I thought it was valuable to know a ballpark of what might be needed to at least get going for others interested in similar work.
AdGlue strikes me as the type of thing more publishers need to look into as an easier way to work with local advertisers. Most interesting to me was that if you have a hot story that’s getting lots of traffic, AdGlue will pick up on that in about 10 seconds and adjust the pricing accordingly.
The other startups not mentioned here are equally compelling – read more about them.
I also enjoyed the way the workshop was set up and I think it would be fun to replicate elsewhere. Startups spent the morning pitching and discussing their biggest current challenges, and then we broke into small groups to tackle solutions. The processes we used in collaborating and brainstorming had some similarities with design thinking.
Completely unrelated bonus to being in Atlanta: Purchasing some Sweetwater beer. And a doughnut.