We don’t want to see people sent out into the world slaughtered by the wolves because they don’t know anything about the business side,” he said at this year’s Online News Association conference when I asked his thoughts on journalists learning business principles. MediaShift managing editor Courtney Lowery Cowgill, co-founder and former editor in chief of the now-defunct New West, was also encouraging. She told me that while she and others were building their sites, they were stymied while trying to get advice on how to support the news businesses while maintaining proper standards. “Friends in similar startup situations were struggling with how to blur the lines in an intelligent and ethical way,” she said. “There was nobody to help us with that. They were all just saying, ‘No, no. Don’t do it.’ We all need a roadmap for how to do it, a good guide on how to do that ethically, intelligently and efficiently.
We don’t necessarily need to train every student to be an entrepreneur, but every student needs to understand the pros, cons, and realities of their work and themselves as a brand. It isn’t unjournalistic, it is realistic today.