Samford University’s Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) program has launched a new course focused on the skills and knowledge graduates will need to launch a digital media start-up, including how to identify market niches; how to analyze business foundations, including cost, revenue, and audience metrics; how to develop a business plan; how to build, test, and discuss website prototypes; and how to pitch ideas to potential investors.
“Digital disruption has created a lot of challenges for established journalism outlets and other media companies,” said Clay Carey, professor of the new Mass Media Entrepreneurship course. “But that disruption has also created opportunities for entrepreneurs to develop new, innovative products that serve audiences and clients. We’re going to walk through each step of that process this semester, starting with the development of an idea and ending with how to pitch a product to investors.”
As the final result of the course, each student will develop a proposal for a digital media enterprise. Students will also have the opportunity to enter their proposals in the Regions New Venture Challenge, where they can compete for prizes of up to $7,500 in start-up capital. Carey hopes that students in the class will submit their plans to the competition. “The Regions Challenge presents a great opportunity for some of these ideas to become realities,” he said.
“I’m taking this class because I want to be as prepared as I can be to succeed in the ever-evolving world of journalism,” said senior Caleb Canada. “This course adds a mindset to overcome obstacles and set your own future as opposed to letting others dictate it to you.”
Bernie Ankney, chair of the Journalism and Mass Communication and Communication Studies department, sees great potential for the new course offering. “JMC has always geared itself toward hands-on, practical education, and this class is an extension of that focus. For students with an eye on media entrepreneurship, this course will give them the tools and knowledge to start their business with confidence.”