Feb 1, 2012

Attention digital media entrepreneurs: we want to help your news startup stay up!

One of three winners in the International Press Institute’s News Innovation Contest 2011, the co-convenor of the Digital Editors Network plans to use his funding to support news entrepreneurs.

François Nel, Director of the Journalism Leaders Programme at UCLan, beat off stiff competition from 300 other projects, to be named as one of only three winners who will share a $600, 000 grant from Google for projects in across Mali, Turkey, France, the Netherlands and the UK.

Nel said he will use his grant to launch the Media And Digital Enterprise (MADE) project, which aims to equip digital innovators in the UK and Turkey with the cutting-edge knowledge and skills required to start up and sustain innovative new journalistic enterprises in the public interest.

“With easy access to new and cheap technology, starting up a new media enterprise is pretty straightforward; keeping it up is much more complex," said Nel. "That’s the key challenge MADE will tackle."

Nel, who researches and consults widely on online business model development, will be working in collaboration with software developers from ScaperWiki.com and Sarah Hartley, interim managing director of UK hyperlocal experts Talk About Local and community strategist for Guardian Media Group.

Over the course of the next year, the MADE project will, in the first instance, offer up to 60 news entrepreneurs training in data-driven journalism, online community engagement and digital business development - kicking off with the 48-hour MADE:UK Weekend for media startups  from 15-17 June in the Media Factory (Update: applications being accepted until May 18th)

Next,10 high-potential entrepreneurs will be selected for the MADE Hothouse, a 12-week business incubation and support programme that will include mentoring through UCLan’s award-winning Northern Lights business incubation support team.

Finally, the experiences of the project participants will be shared through  the MADE Insight Reports, which will include detailed case studies of the activities and learning of the project participants.

If you're interesting in keeping in the loop on how the MADE project develops in the UK and Turkey, add your contact details HERE.

The International Press Institute (IPI), in line with its commitment to defending press freedom and promoting the quality of journalism worldwide, launched the IPI News Innovation Contest with a grant from Google in 2010.

The process of selecting the winners was very rigorous. More than 300 applications were whittled down to 74 and then, in a second round, to 26 finalists whose submissions were reviewed by a panel of experts including Jeff Jarvis, Director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at City University of New York; Torsten De Riese, former Director of CNBC Europe and Managing Director of NewsCred Ltd; Daoud Kuttab, General Manager of the Community Media Network in Jordan, Amy Webb, CEO of Webbmedia in the US and Anthony Dara, founder of NN24 Network News 24) in Nigeria’s first 24-hour news channel.

“The contest, a first of its kind for the 61-year-old IPI, is in line with the organization’s commitment to defending press freedom and promoting the quality of journalism worldwide,” said IPI Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie, who was also on the review panel.

" Of course, UCLAN is home to the UK's oldest journalism programme and has been working to help industry worldwide address some of its key challenges for almost 50 years now, " said Nel. "This project is another example of our commitment to supporting the global news industry as it changes and evolves.”

"I'm really looking forward to linking with others who are committed to building innovative, sustainable digital news enterprises," said Nel, who can be contacted at FPNel [at] uclan.ac.uk, or on Twitter @francoisnel .

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