A recent phenomenon: 76% of the professors interviewed began teaching entrepreneurial journalism courses between 2012 and 2018. These professors can be separated into two different categories: those professors who joined academia recently did so to teach this type of courses specifically, while the more experienced professors - some with up to three decades of teaching experience - had to refocus their careers to include entrepreneurial journalism. Universities commonly respond that, in the face of the (post)industry media crisis, entrepreneurial journalism courses expand the skill set of the journalists they are training.
Recommendation: Implement these skills across the curriculum, not solely in a single isolated course, and follow up with graduates about their career progression. There is room for many universities in Latin America and Spain to incorporate entrepreneurial journalism courses.
The professors are entrepreneurs: 64% of the professors interviewed have been or are media entrepreneurs. Those who were not part of founding a project have provided advice and support to other media startups. And 76% of the professors interviewed worked at some point as a reporter, which is why they have knowledge of the internal workings of newsrooms. In addition, in academic terms, more than half of the professors have a master's degree. This level of specialization, both theoretical and practical, is an attribute which should be utilized.
Recommendation: Incorporate media entrepreneurs into the pool of professors. Communications departments and journalism schools at colleges and universities can offer consulting services to new or already established media. In turn, in the absence of professors interested in teaching in this area, the media entrepreneurs who have already established their projects are potential entrepreneurial journalism professors that universities can recruit.
The paradox of elective courses: Although they are a small portion of our study sample, elective entrepreneurial journalism courses attract students with a higher level of interest in the topic than required courses attract. However, not being included in the core course plan for a communication school, elective courses run the risk of being modified or eliminated from the curriculum altogether, and may not be in alignment with the university’s graduation plan. Committing to an entrepreneurial journalism focus requires addressing the weaknesses and opportunities of making required courses when training professionals.
Recommendation: More research is needed related to keeping journalism curriculums up to date. The goal should be to establish the best way to add entrepreneurial journalism seminars, or even complete courses of study, with a study plan that builds skills strategically.
Enthusiastic students afraid of numbers: Almost half of the professors interviewed think what most motivates their students to pursue entrepreneurial journalism is the possibility of creating something that is their own, both editorially and financially. This desire is followed by an interest in creating alternatives to previously established media. But a lack of both financial resources and anxieties over the challenges of managing their own organization are the main discouraging factors. The lack of a business mind-set and the fact that students still do not understand the transformation of the journalism industry are also the main difficulties noted by the professors as they taught their courses. The disconnect between entrepreneurial journalism courses and the rest of the curriculum makes it difficult to address these concerns in a consistent way.
Recommendation: Offer complementary workshops to introduce students to a business mind-set, where they can work with faculty from their university’s business administration department.
Courses connected with entrepreneurs: 80% of professors interviewed have invited a media entrepreneur to their class to share his or her experience with their students. They have also brought in journalists who have developed their own personal brands, as well as invited professionals known for their inter-company innovation. In our analyzed sample group, there were hardly any investors invited as guests. This is a noted weakness, but it is also an opportunity to expand networks and approaches to entrepreneurial journalism courses.
Recommendation: Establish connections among key stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in general, share knowledge, technology, networks and opportunities, and provide training, funding and coworking spaces.