The second question was the opposite of the first: what do these teachers think discourages their students from undertaking entrepreneurial journalism?Here, the variety of answers was greater and, therefore, it was more difficult to group them into common themes. The most common response was a lack of economic resources (28%), followed by the lack of design and management skills to create a new website.
In the wide variety of “discouraging factors” suppressing entrepreneurship, each individual country has its own characteristics, but some patterns started to emerge. For example, Yanancy Noguera says that Costa Rica has a weak entrepreneurial ecosystem, and that the State has guaranteed employment. This combination discourages self-starters, creating a notable contrast with other Central American countries.
“Of course there is corruption, of course there is inequity, and there are many problems that need to be resolved. But the problems are not so critical that journalists feel an obligation, or a necessity to develop different kinds of journalism that are more innovative, more aggressive,” Noguera said.
Elizabeth Saad from Brazil, on the other hand, says that the main problem is that university curriculums are outdated and out-of-step with market conditions. The gaps that occur in educating journalists about entrepreneurship do not exist in a vacuum, but are inextricably linked to the whole process devised by universities to train journalists. This breakdown offers us valuable insight into the ways that educators and professionals are re-imagining what the future of journalism is going to look like.
María Sánchez from Spain notes that not everyone has the "culture of entrepreneurship," while Gonzalo Sobral from Uruguay believes that a large problem is a lack of creativity: "The students who are attracted to journalism seem like the restless type, curious bookworms. Meanwhile, students who are more orderly and systematic tend to wind up doing corporate communications. Each side fears that the other is where all the creativity is happening."
The entrepreneurial journalism courses taught by the professors we interviewed have become a space where students are exposed to real-world examples of successful entrepreneurship – whether that be a case study that deconstructs how an independent media project became successful, or via a guest lecture. We discovered that 80% of the professors we interviewed have invited at least one entrepreneurial journalist to share his or her experience with their students.
For example, Professor Sarita Murillo (Bolivia) brought Doly Leytón to her class, the founder of La Region, a publication focused on tourism and the environment, as well as Fabiola Gutiérrez, the ambassador for SembraMedia in Bolivia. Meanwhile, in Professor Alexandra López’s (Argentina) class, Roberto Dánna has spoken about Flores de papel, a neighborhood newspaper - in print and digital format- that he created in partnership with the merchants in his area on the outskirts of the city of Buenos Aires to generate a mutual profit.
In Spain, two professors mentioned visits from Ignacio Escolar, the founder of eldiario.es who is one of the most mentioned sources when talking about successful entrepreneurial journalism.