One of the goals at the Seattle Journalism Commons is collaboration. We like to talk about it, and LOVE to see it. Members of the Online News Association and the Society of Professional Journalists have linked up to put on a series of conversation mixers titled #NewsNext

The theme of the kick off discussion between former PI.com reporter Monica Guzman and KING 5′s Director of Digital Marketing Mark Briggs revolved around the question:

“What can news organizations learn from startups.”

Guzman was well positioned to elaborate on this topic, having jumped ships from a traditional print newsroom, over to an online only publication with the Seattle BigBlog, and most recently into the adventurous startup Intersect.

One of the points she made about jumping into a startup was riding with a pirate ship mentality, because “things are too new to become law…it really is lawless.” Whereas the traditional newsroom has defined roles and comfort zones, Guzman explained that the rules of entrepreneurship are made up as you go along, and the team either works together or sinks together.

Another memorable piece of advice had to do with the art of the #fail. Guzman suggest to “fail fast” instead of trying to hang onto something that drags and doesn’t improve results.

Other valuable examples and insight came from Mark Briggs, who officially works for KING 5, but also has earned his stripes as a leading authority on entrepreneurial journalism. His Journalism 2.0 blog and book are a great resource, and as a current Ford Fellow in Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Poynter Institite, he’s done his homework.

Three startup news sites he mentioned as positive examples and role models are:

  • Pegasus News (also in Texas) – Their crew was willing keep working without pay because they had such a strong labor of love
  • Techdirt – A good example of building a loyal following based on their successful CwF+RtB model (Connect with Fans and give them a Reason to Buy).

Briggs parted a little advice to the crowd from hot thinker Lisa Williams, which was to go deep rather than broad. “Instead of ‘something about everything’ you need to be “everything about something.”

Come back and join us for more juice on Seattle Journalism events and meetups here at the #SEAjCommons. We are curating a special calendar and keeping the radar on full scan to bring you coverage and advanced notice of the local journalism scene around Puget Sound.

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