Introduction

A Google search for the term "journalism crisis" in Spanish brings up more than 24 million results; in English, this figure rises to nearly 80 million. The phenomenon has been widely documented and addressed.

Seemingly every journalism conference has a panel with experts pontificating about the "future" of the journalism profession – and when the problems facing media are not being discussed, it seems we are forever looking for a "silver bullet" that will solve the problem. Each year, there is another new technology that will 'save' journalism, from virtual reality to chatbots to blockchain. Despite the many discussions on these topics, no single solution has emerged.

Despite the gloomy outlook that prevails around the world, in Latin America and Spain there are some positive trends, although even these are not without their challenges.

In 2017, SembraMedia published Inflection Point, an in-depth report about digital native media in Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. The research revealed something that is happening region-wide: new digital media are growing, and they have managed to sustain themselves over time, diversify their income, and forge close connections with their audiences. However, many have also paid a price for their editorial independence. Nearly 50% of media entrepreneurs interviewed by SembraMedia report they have suffered physical and virtual and attacks.

Despite the obstacles, digital native media have had significant impact in their communities and have received prestigious awards, including the Gabo Award from the Gabriel García Márquez Foundation for the New Ibero-American Journalism (FNPI for its initials in Spanish).

However, while the “crisis in journalism” has been well-documented, especially as it affects news distribution and the relationship media have with their audience, there is a journalism institution that has largely remained invisible, or at least in a secondary role. Universities – in particular schools of communication and journalism – have resisted changing the way they teach in the midst of this transformation, even as pressures have mounted on the (post)industry media, and upon academia itself. What type of transformations are occurring, and how does what is being taught in journalism classes show up in newsrooms?

To answer this question, SembraMedia commissioned this study to examine how entrepreneurial journalism is being taught at Latin American and Spanish universities. We were most interested in learning about the professors who teach this subject, because through them, we believe that it is possible to observe and analyze the dynamics and trends developing in classrooms that will then shape the journalism profession as a whole.

We asked ourselves three questions to guide the research:  

First

What kind of training and experience do professors have who teach entrepreneurial journalism courses in Latin America and Spain?

Second

What is the content of these courses?

And third

What kind of impact have professors had on their academic communities and how journalism is practiced?

These sections are preceded by an explanation of the methodology used to choose the interview subjects and develop the interview questions. In the last sections, you will find a basic resources kit with readings, references and sources of information about entrepreneurial journalism.

Since its inception, one of the motivations of SembraMedia has been to connect and stimulate collaboration among digital media entrepreneurs in Latin America.

That same spirit is the motivation behind this study. Journalism schools are a key player in the reconfiguration of how people receive information and are reinventing the ethos and professional identity of journalists, redefining what it means to do journalism.

Reports such as Inflection Point have revealed that Latin American and Spanish journalists are not only reporting, narrating and distributing news, but also creating a vibrant ecosystem for digital native media. The more than 60 professors we found so far who teach entrepreneurial journalism are working to provide this missing link in the ecosystem, as they plant the seeds of entrepreneurship in future journalists. What we found in our study was that there is an eager, enthusiastic, and growing number of professors working to help journalists become entrepreneurs, draw attention to their work, and increase their impact. This report reflects how they are doing it and what results they have obtained.

//profesores.sembramedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/nvo-logo-footer.png