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Digital Media Entrepreneurship, a Few Thoughts…

In the past several weeks, with a brief timeout, I’ve been thinking hard about the new Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship that I’ll be starting at Arizona State University next year. To say that I’m excited about this is an understatement; I can’t wait to get started.

As I finish up some other work, ponder transitions of ongoing work and deal with the horrible chores of moving residences, etc., I’ve managed to have some conversations with several friends in the media and startup arenas. Nothing is set in stone yet, but I do have some initial thoughts.

The most important thing is simple: This is a time of incredible opportunity in media, and entrepreneurial thinking is absolutely key to the future of journalism.

Much of the worry in the traditional organizations is well warranted, given the implosion of their business models, but even there I’m seeing plenty of creativity spawned by the realization that what worked, business-wise, in the past is at best unlikely to work in the future due to the end of the monopoly and oligopoly eras of news.

Meanwhile, activists and entrepreneurs are seizing the chance to make a difference when it counts. Everywhere I go, I talk with people of all ages who have great-sounding ideas about media projects. The major question remains, how do we make these things sustainable?

As noted elsewhere (and principally in this case by Clay Shirky, whose work has given me several light-bulb moments over the years), one of the most important shifts in the digital landscape has been the declining cost of experimentation. Anyone who has an idea about media can try it out for a relatively low cost, perhaps merely the investment of some time.

That is made to order for the university environment in an obvious way. At the same time, semesters have start times and end times, and that students have other work to do besides our course and independent study projects. Entrepreneurship is about many things, and focus is one.

I’ve already met, spoken with or emailed with several ASU students who are looking at the new center as a possible fit for their own work. And next Monday and Tuesday, I’ll be on the campus, where I hope to meet with many more.

More thoughts soon…

4 Comments on “Digital Media Entrepreneurship, a Few Thoughts…”

  1. #1 Undercurrent
    on Nov 21st, 2007 at 8:17 am


    Dan Gillmor reflecting on the forthcoming start of a center for digital media entrepreneurship at Arizona State University: The most important thing is simple: This is a time of incredible opportunity in media, and entrepreneurial thinking is absolutel…

  2. #2 JohnofScribblesheet
    on Nov 21st, 2007 at 9:04 am

    Wow, sounds like a really interesting center. Will you be running courses, workshops etc? Good luck with it.

  3. #3 Steve Outing » Gillmor to the news industry’s rescue
    on Nov 24th, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    […] Arizona State University, starting next year. Over on the Center for Citizen Media blog, he blogs about the planning process for getting the new center […]

  4. #4 Dan Gillmor
    on Nov 24th, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    John, we’re still thinking this through, of course, but there will be at least one course per semester plus independent study projects. Workshops are a good idea…