Innovate or …..

Newspapers are dying, so let's get on with it.
Newspapers are dying, so let’s get on with it.

Innovation and journalism are not two words you usually associate together. But in order for journalism to survive it needs to innovate. I’ve said it before on this blog – this is actually a good thing and creates an exciting time for journalists.

As old models and formats struggle for audiences – and relevance – it is time for a new wave of journalism to step up and take hold of this opportunity. And that’s exactly what it is, an opportunity.

I was fortunate recently to experience the opportunities available to us. A few weeks ago the MEAA held a two day workshop with Lisa Williams the Director of Digital Engagement for the Investigative News Network. Her expertise is working with startups and helping them take their idea to fruition.

Over the workshop we teased out our pitch, created a plan to move forward and strategise finding investors. Sharing the workshop with journalists and programmers who are finding new ways to present the news was actually exciting.

Following are three key things I came away from the workshop with.

1. Be clear & concise

We often hear about the elevator pitch as the tool you use to sell your idea to that key investor in two sharp sentences. While this is true what I found is it actually refines your idea, distils it to something anyone can get. My idea, a dedicated site for freelancers to pitch work, has often left my friends glassy eyed when I explain it to them.

Now you should always have your elevator pitch ready for when you get stuck in one with Richard Branson. But just in case that day never happens, still take a moment to get your idea down to two sentences for no other reason than to bring it down to the essence of what it is.

2. Don’t be afraid of being first

For two days I shared ideas with a dozen or so people who had ideas that I’d never heard of before. In fact some were so left of centre if I didn’t meet them I could very well have never heard of them at all. While all our ideas were different and unique we had one thing in common – they were all original.

And that was our strength, there was nothing like what we had in the marketplace. That also became our strength and not our weakness because pioneers shape the world.

3. Be passionate

When I got to the workshop I was panicked by the idea of exposing my undeveloped idea in front of a room of strangers. But the moment they began quizzing me about my idea I knew why I was there – to passionately argue for what I believed in. It was my idea and I knew it had legs.

Nothing compares to your own enthusiasm for an idea and the tenacity to make it happen. We can be precious about intellectual property but at the end of the day, whoever tries to steal your idea is missing a key ingredient – your passion to make it happen.

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