Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Press Gazette: Journalists as entrepreneurs

I've got a piece in the latest issue of Press Gazette about journalists as entrepreneurs.
It was inspired after I went to a couple of conferences at the start of the year where there was much talk of journalists having to become entrepreneurs with the ability to invent the new business models that will keep them employed.
Among those I interviewed were Greg Hadfield, who has just left the Telegraph Media Group where he was director of digital development, and who was the first British journalist to leave national newspapers for the internet in 1996 – after his son, then aged 12, had created Soccernet, the football website. It was sold to ESPN/Disney for £25m.
I also interviewed Tony Boullemier who was part of the free newspaper boom of the 1970s and launched the Northants Post in 1975 with just £6,500. By the time he sold out to Thomson Regional Newspapers in 1988 it was distributing 400,000 copies a week and employed 230 staff.
New entrepreneurs I interviewed included David Parkin, the former Yorkshire Post business editor, who launched online business news serevice TheBusinessDesk.com in November 2007 covering Yorkshire. It has since expanded to cover the North West and just launched in the West Midlands.
I also spoke to James Fryer who launched SoGlos.com in 2007 with Michelle Byrne as an online Time Out for the county. He believes So.Glos.com could be a model for start-ups across the country.
They all agreed that journalists have the skills and tenacity to be good entrepreneurs but they also need a good understanding of the commercial markets they work in and the ability to attract advertisers.
Press Gazette is now only available on subscription

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