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Journalism is becoming a high-tech profession — complete with software licensing

Here at the J-Lab Citizens’ Media Summit, a panel featuring Travis Henry of YourHub, Mary Lou Fulton of the Bakersfield Californian and Bakotopia, and Steve Yelvington of Morris Digital, which launched Bluffton Today.

One thing they have in common: they all developed their own software to run their sites — and now they’re selling that software. The social networking software developed for Bakotopia — which goes beyond letting users blog and add photos and gives them MySpace-like profile pages, and the ability to add other users to “friend lists” is now for sale. Morris Digital now sells the mdSPOTTED photo gallery software that enables reader-participants of Bluffton Today to upload photos to the site. And YourHub, a community platform in a box for newspapers, is now licensed in nearly a dozen markets.

My sense is that journalism is becoming a high-tech profession — not just in using the net as a distribution mechanism but developing new software. Which brings me to another point: J-schools should start thinking about technology transfer. Tech schools often make quite a bit of money licensing technologies developed in university labs. J-schools should start creating the next-generation technology platforms — and fund new innovations from licensing revenues.

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