The GNI Startups Playbook is a Guide to Launching Your Own News Business — and Avoiding My Mistakes
Officially, the Google News Initiative’s Startups Playbook is a guide to designing and launching a viable digital news business. Unofficially, it’s a
Officially, the Google News Initiative’s Startups Playbook is a guide to designing and launching a viable digital news business.
Unofficially, it’s a guide to avoiding my mistakes.
Since finishing my degree in 2013, I’ve scraped by as a freelance writer, strung together part-time gig jobs, and burned myself out as a local director for a startup media chain.
I don’t particularly recommend any of these career paths, so I hope this Playbook will help offer other entrepreneurial-minded journalists another option: starting your ownnews business.
Five years ago, this might have seemed crazy. The cost of developing a professional news site was too high, and the revenue model too uncertain.
But the economics have changed since then, and our industry has learned a lot about what it takes to succeed in the new media landscape.
The GNI Startups Playbook is the resource I wish I’d had when I started my career in journalism — a curation of the lessons and best practices that have emerged for launching a journalistically impactful and financially sustainable digital news business, including:
- Identifying and reaching your target audience
- Building and testing a Minimum Viable Product
- Aligning your business plan with your values
- Developing a diverse set of revenue streams
- Creating a budget and setting business goals
The Playbook’s six chapters are designed to help you answer a basic (but important) question: Is your big idea worth pursuing as a business?
If the answer is yes, we give you an overview of next steps to consider with four “starter guides,” which cover some of the fundamentals of developing a product, growing and engaging your audience, finding funding to launch and sustain your business, and setting up your operations.
This material builds on the work of Project Oasis and reflects the collective wisdom of a small army of journalists and journalism industry professionals, business coaches, and news entrepreneurs who have done this before, including several LION members.
It’s their advice, resources, and other contributions that make this Playbook sparkle, which is why we’d like to ask for your help, too.
If you have templates you’d be willing to share, readings that you recommend, or questions that you don’t see addressed, please let us know.
This Playbook is a living resource that we can update and refine over time, and hearing your input and feedback is an essential first step.
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