I am keeping up on our annual broadcasters convention on Twitter (hashtags #rtnda and #nab), as well as the RTNDA web site, which is using CoverItLive to cover the biggest seminars.)

Today’s big event seemed to be about how to use new technology to better cover our communities.   And I think it looks and feels like entrepreneurial thinking  because there is always some risk in using new technology in place of old.

There are a quickly growing number of journalists using tools like TwitPic, Twitterific and dozens more to bring their followers to news conferences, breaking news and more – and it’s not on the station’s website!  Twitter didn’t promote this as a journalistic tool – some bright journalist started using it and word-of-mouth spread its use.

I’m not knocking it; I full support the use of Twitter in my newsroom, or Information Center.  We have found stories; we have lined up interview subjects for our newscasts; we have hundreds of followers just on our automated feed of story headlines.  And I will bet 1/2 of those followers don’t watch our TV newscasts.

So why do it?  Because, as an entrepreneur would do, we have to take risks.  We have to try different ways to reach our customers on their turf, knowing we will make nothing now and, perhaps, ever.  You can change out Twitter for Facebook and make the same argument – and I’ll discuss Facebook at a later time.

My point is this: Bravo to Steve Safran and Chip Mahaney for leading a discussion of new technology, risk-taking, flag-planting toward our journalistic, entrepreneurial future.  It’s meetings like this that keep me so excited about what’s going on now and what’s to come.

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I wrote last week about what I think we, as journalists, can learn from entrepreneurs.  I am still personally very optimistic about our future.  To me, our communities will still want information from people and organizations that are as free from bias as possible and who have the ability those in power accountable.  Sadly, I do think many communities will lose newspapers (including possibly San Francisco).  And, in these quickly evolving times, we need to find and test new ways to bring these products to our communities without fear of failure.  If it fails, readjust and try again.

Now, why I titled this entry that way.  One of fellow Twitter-ers, @maniactive (also known as Laura Bergallis), suggested I combine both names into a new name: jentrepreneur.  It’s starting to grow on me.  If you have a comment, let me know.

Tomorrow, I am honored to be joining Roberta King from the Community Foundation on WGVU’s Newsmaker program, hosted by Patrick Center.  It’s a great opportunity to get more of the community engaged in this great project.  When I can post some clips, I will.

I should have written this last night – but my head was spinning from all the ideas I had in my head after a 2.5 hour get-together with a group of local entrepreneurs!  (I have to thank my friend Paul Doyle, fellow Evans Scholar and Founder of technology company Proofspace for the invite.)

What I felt like last night! (in a good way...)

What I felt like last night! (in a good way...)

I have a new appreciation for what these business leaders try to do every day and how they approach their passions – and that’s the part I think we can use to stay upbeat, even as our publicly-held media companies continue to tank!

Media Company Stock Chart! OK, enough pictures!  What I want to say is this:

  1. The entrepreneurs I met last night – and the ones I know in my own extended family – have such unbelievable energy it becomes infectious!  Local content creation can also be exciting.  I want to find ways to keep that leel up every day.
  2. They are not afraid to try things, to blow things up that are not working, are not focused on just keeping the business stable.  The people I spent time with last night seem to always be looking for the next idea, to see how A connects to B to C and so on.  We have a lot of great ideas floating around our industry and I know money is tight.  But I also know no company has ever cut its way to success.  We have to continue to innovate!
  3. We need to get out of our buildings more often.  I could feel the difference personally being in that room as opposed to an afternoon in my office.  Connecting with the right people, for no other reason than exchanging stories and ideas, is a fantastic experience!
  4. All these people appear to live with their cup overflowing – or at least 4/5 full!

Local media companies need to find ways to stay relevant to their customers by producing products they find interesting, timely and in the right form or screen.

Now what am I missing?  What else do we need to add to make this work?