As some of you have guessed, I’m interested in both media and entrepreneurship. That’s the reason why I attended “Ethnic Entrepreneurship & Starting Strong,” a discussion panel organized by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ,) the Tow-Knight Center and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
The panel was composed by Hong Qu, CTO of Fusion Media, Daniel Bentley, contributing Editor at Circa, Juan Guillen, Founder & CEO of LatinTrends Magazine and Mariana Marcaletti, founder of Latin American Radar. The panel was moderated by Chris Dell, cofounder & Editor-in-Chief CUNY Sport Report and Tow-Knight Fellow.
The panel shared insights and key points into the creation of sustainable media projects, as well as talking about their experiences as entrepreneurs. The discussion centered around the use of new technologies and tools to build innovative and efficient news platforms.
“If you want to make money, create something people create a habit from,” said Hong, who worked as Product & UX Lead at Upworthy and YouTube. “Millenias will be consuming media in a very different way, they will use every platform.”
Besides addictiveness, Hong also named content personalization and simplicity and convenience as keys to stronger user/reader/viewer engagement. He believes that if a reader takes more than three clicks or three seconds to get what he wants, he will jump to the next website.
The panelists agreed that online platforms and mobile technology will become even more fundamental to the future of news and information.
“Make it cross-platform, make users embrace new versions of the product, and start building fast and now,” said Dell.
“Capitalize on the time people spend on their phones,” added Bentley. “There you have it, a one on one relationship with your reader…through a phone.”
However, some believe that in order to make a solvent and self-supporting medium, new technology was not the only way to go.
“There are immense opportunities in the digital world, but we also live in an offline world, that’s where print can be powerful,” said Guillen, whose magazine, Latin Trends, focuses on Latino entertainment . “With a magazine, it becomes what coffee is for Starbucks or what a hamburger is for McDonald’s. In our case, print is our tool.”
Guillen also said that money, although important, should not be the only motivation to create something.
“Money is very important, however is the wrong angle,” he said. “Your main goal is to serve the community better. Money will come later.”
The event took place at Fox News Latino at Fox News Headquarters. (Of which got a behind the scenes tour and briefly met Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, who is currently in the middle of a controversy.)
I encourage students to participate more in this kind of events, where you can learn not only about the current trends in journalism, media and technology, but also you can network with working journalists and people involved in the industry. (Personally, I do not enjoy networking that much, but I can’t deny it’s extremely beneficial nowadays.)