Marcotte-Travis-Flynn
Mike Marcotte, Travis Gonzales, a Communication & Journalism senior and project assistant and Carolyn Flynn meeting (at Satellite Coffee over caffeine) to prepare new entrepreneurial media course.
Credit: Mike Marcotte

Communication & Journalism Professor of Practice Mike Marcotte and Instructor Carolyn Flynn are co-teaching C&J 393 this semester. The elective course is an exploration of how student multimedia writers might combine their skill and knowledge of a particular subject with business and technical skills to create their own job through a media startup.

This is one of the new courses offered in the curriculum in conjunction with Innovation Academy. Marcotte says they will look at how journalists are becoming business leaders and finding ways to develop revenue streams to fund their work. The course will invite local media entrepreneurs in to talk about their own efforts.

“Many emerging journalists will need to create their own jobs by creating their own brand and business,” said Flynn, who was a senior-level editor at the Albuquerque Journal for23 years and who works as a senior associate for Creative Circle Media Solutions. “This course is about how to marry your passion for content with a viable revenue model so the journalism you want to do can thrive.”

In early January, Marcotte attended a course funded by the Scripps-Howard Foundation as a fellow at Arizona State University Cronkite School of Journalism. In the course, journalism instructors from many parts of the country attended to catch up on ways to teach student journalists about the rapidly changing market.

The fellows learned about how to create revenue models that can fund a career. “It’s a real struggle. The disruptive nature of the internet has devalued the advertising model for business,” he said. “And angel investors are not happy with that model so the question is what economic model should you have?”

Marcotte says some journalists are able to do niche websites that have deep content on a narrow subject and use a subscription model to support the business. Others have a rich philanthropist. Some entrepreneurs cover areas where they can make money from events they put on to support their website. Other have multiple streams of revenue that they combine to make their business viable.

It’s a complex world that young journalists will have to navigate, but this course will help give some perspective to students facing the topsy-turvy world of journalism in 2016.

“The model has been disrupted, but with that, a whole new horizon of possibility appears,” said Flynn. “We want our multimedia journalists, strategic communicators and business entrepreneurs to dive into a conversation about that, and we want them to be equipped with the business knowledge to do it.”