Venture capital catches the news bug

By Professor and M{2e} Co-Director Gabriel Kahn

There is a common misperception about the state of journalism today. Many focus on the dire headlines of newsroom cutbacks and declining revenues at big, brand-name publications. No question, that’s bad news. But I think it misses the real story. The news business is now attracting large amounts of venture capital. Silicon Valley has caught the news bug, launching companies such as Circa, which reformats news for mobile devices; Flipboard, which has opened up new ways of discovering journalistic content; along with many others. Los Angeles’s startup community has spawned Ebyline, a new company that has created an online marketplace for journalists and editors. Another firm, Perfect Market, has found ways to monetize publishers’ vast archives of news articles.

Journalism remains a craft. In order for it to thrive, new practitioners need to be mentored, seasoned veterans must express sound news judgment and journalistic standards need to be updated in order to remain relevant in the digital age. No doubt, the current business climate presents tough challenges for the news business. But the real story, as I see it, is that journalism is now attracting investment capital, engineers and data scientists are entering the news space, and innovation is everywhere. I can’t imagine a more exciting time to enter the profession of journalism.