NEW 300/600 – Product Management for Journalists
NEW 300.1 / NEW 600.3 – Product Management for Journalists
Time and Location: 1/17 – 2/16, 2017 | Tuesday / Thursday 12:30-1:50 p.m.
Room: Newhouse 3, 253.
Professor: Dan Pacheco, Chair of Journalism Innovation
Office: Newhouse 2, room 494
Cell Phone: 303.465.5560 (texting is preferred)
Office Hours: Posted here: http://doodle.com/danpacheco
How to Contact Me
Feel free to reach out to me in email about anything you want to stay private, or via Twitter for anything public that you don’t mind others seeing. You can call me at the number above and it will forward to my cell phone, but it may go to voicemail if I’m not in speaking range or am otherwise tied up. Texting is preferred on my cell. Just be sure to identify yourself, or my response will always be, “Who is this?” I promise to get back to you within 24 hours about anything substantial that requires a response, usually much less than that.
This course prepares you to be not just a typical journalist for success in the rapidly changing news and civic media ecosystem. It sets you up to be a leader and proactive change agent. Through the five weeks of this introductory course, you will learn how to conceptualize, plan out and prepare to launch a completely new digital media product that has a journalistic core. These are the skills you need to thrive in the digital divisions of news organizations and work collaboratively with developers, designers, business and marketing people to create entirely new storytelling forms, products and platforms.
Objectives and Outcomes
- Learn how to get started with market research and competitive analyses.
- Know how to build a prototype, pitch deck and business plan for a new digital journalism product.
- Learn to collaborate with and lead members of a team with complementary skills (software engineers, business development, etc.)
- Learn about different business entities, and how to build a business model.
- Understand your options for funding.
- Know your way around web hosts, FTP, WordPress, various social media services and social media APIs, and eCommerce platforms.
- Be able to comfortably answer the following questions for any new journalism product idea and turn it into a turn-key plan:
- What is your product offering, and how will it work? How is it unique and innovative? How will it stand out from the crowd?
- Who is the target market for your innovative news product?
- What data do you have to support the need for this product?
- Who are the competitors? (“Nobody” is never the right answer).
- Where are competitors succeeding? Where are they failing?
- What currently-unmet information need will you meet, and how?
- How will your project sustain itself initially and over time?
- If it’s a for-profit product, how will it make money? If it’s non-profit, how will you get your funding, and from whom?
- How will you build and launch the product? Who will build it? Who will maintain it?
Attendance and Attitude
This course depends heavily on class participation and attentive listening and interaction with guest mentors. For this reason, you are expected to attend every class on time. If you cannot attend, you must notify the instructor in advance via email and provide an explanation. One absence will be granted for any reason with no explanation. Each subsequent absence with an acceptable explanation will result in a half letter-grade reduction in your final grade (for example, and A becomes an A-, and a B- becomes a C).
You are expected to show respect for each other as well as for the instructor. Disagreements and spirited debate about concepts are acceptable and welcome. Personal attacks of any nature are not.
So let’s be frank. Textbooks on innovation are always going to be out of date. Therefore, I want you to always be out there looking for stories about innovations in journalism or civic media that you bring to class to help us all stay on the cutting edge of change. Plan on sharing at least one story per week in the class Facebook group. Look for topics that will create some discussion. Both sharing and discussing what people share is factored into the participation grade.
Here are just a few sources you should peruse, but don’t limit yourself to just them.
- Current posts and selected archived posts from Nieman Journalism Lab blog at http://www.niemanlab.org.
- Mashable.com’s Social Media, Tech and Business sections.
- New York Times technology sections and Bits blog: http://www.nytimes.com/pages/technology/index.html.
I prefer that all assignments that require a document are done using Microsoft Word so that I can add feedback into the margins to send back to you. Assignments that require a spreadsheet or presentation file may be done using either Microsoft Office, or iWork (Keynote or Numbers). Assignment due dates vary by assignment and will be posted on the class site. The dates in the schedule are for when assignments are given.
In general, your assignments should always be turned in by creating a blog entry and uploading the digital file to the post. Please note that anything posted on the class site is intentionally public to the world. The reason for this is to help you begin to engage with the global community of change agents and help you begin to create a brand for yourself as a media professional who has a deeper than average understanding of how to conceptualize a new product experience.
Independent Reading Assignment
You should sign up for one of the following books to read, report and present to the group. The signup sheet can be found online here: http://bit.ly/2jsMM0G
- Lean UX by Josh Seiden.
- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
- The Innovator’s Dilemma or The Innovator’s Solution by Clayton M. Christensen.
- The Art of the Start, by Guy Kawasaki
- A Whole New Mind, by Daniel Pink.
- Present Yourself, By Kit Seeborg: http://presentyourselfbook.com/
- The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath, by Nicco Mele.
- C-SCAPE: Conquer the Forces Changing Business Today, by Larry Kramer: http://cscape.wordpress.com/
- The Filter Bubble, by Eli Pariser. http://www.thefilterbubble.com/
- The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris.
- Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results by Drew Boyd.
Have another suggested book relevant to journalism innovation or entrepreneurship from which the class could benefit? Feel free to suggest it to the instructor.
The grading scale for assignments and final grade is as follow:
I will make my best effort to post grades online through Blackboard, or by email if there are Blackboard issues, within one week (often less) of assignments being turned in. I require a 24-hour waiting period before discussing any posted grade. This is to give us both a chance to think rationally about the assignment and grade so that we can have a meaningful discussion.
Overall class grade will be calculated based on a 100-point system using this formula:
Participation (in class and online) 10 points
Book presentation 20 points
Individual Assignments 40 points
Final project 30 points
TOTAL 100 points
Description of activities:
Participation in Class and Online – 10 points: The creative process is heavily dependent on feedback and participation by others. You will receive points for in-class participation, such as joining in during a discussion, commenting on someone’s presentation or idea, and sharing links to interesting articles or initiatives you learn about that relate to the theme of the class.
Book – 20 points: You will be assigned one of the books listed above under Independent Reading Assignments and will have approximately one month to read the book. You must summarize the key concepts of the book in a 10-slide Powerpoint presentation to give to the class later in the semester.
Individual Assignments – 40 points from 5 assignments (each assignment is worth 8 points): Individual assignments are designed to help you practice the basic elements required for a new product plan (see Final Product Plan below).
Final project – 30 points: This is a proposal and associated materials that you could take to the board of directors of a media company, a grant-making foundation or investors to convince them to a) let you run with your project, and/or b) fund it. Intimidated? Don’t be, because you will practice different elements of the plan through individual assignments. If you keep up with those you should be fully capable of producing this plan for your great journalism startup idea. You will have one month after the end of the class to submit your final project.
Various opportunities are available for extra credit. These include attending seminars or conferences about digital technology, startups or innovation; writing articles about innovation that are published in respected sites and publications; and sharing finds that I feature in class.
Policy for Late Work
In the professional world, you never get credit for something that is submitted late without a prior discussion and agreement on a different deadline. This means anything you submit late without a discussion with me in advance will get an F grade.
In what circumstances would I accept late work? Only for those that would fly in the business world, and for which you can provide evidence. These are usually “Act of God” types of issues. For example, if you get hit by a car and are in the hospital, I will understand and we can work something out, but I may ask to see something from the hospital. I reserve the right to reduce the score for an assignment by a half-letter grade for each day it is submitted late, even if you have an excuse.
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Use of Student Work
The professor may use academic work that you complete this semester for educational purposes in this course during this semester. Your registration and continued enrollment constitute your permission.
The professor may use academic work that you complete this semester in subsequent semesters for educational purposes with your permission. Before using your work for that purpose, your professor is required to either get your written permission or render the work anonymous by removing all your personal identification.
Please refer to the course schedule page for this class.