2010 New Media Business Challenge

CUNY Undergraduate and Graduate Student Competition: Design a hard-headed plan to launch a profit-making business

Old journalistic media - newspapers, broadcast TV and the like - are hurting. They're stuck with lumbering 19th and 20th century production and business models in a fast-moving, digitized 21st century world.

New Media - electronic means of mass communication including the Internet, mobile devices, text-messaging, electronic games, blogs and podcasting - have democratized and revolutionized journalism. Recall the phone-recorded images of protests in post-election Iran that stunned the world - and the Iranian government - last June.

But with journalistic tools in everyone's hands and everyone expecting to get news for free, the craft of journalism - which historically has been sustained through economically viable newspapers and broadcast media - is under assault. How can journalists earn a living? How can the organizations that employ them survive?

Here's the $1,000 challenge for CUNY undergraduate and graduate students in any discipline, a special competition that's part of the 2010 CUNY Murray Kempton Awards for Journalism: Can you devise a business plan for a profitable New Media organization that can deliver quality journalism, pay salaries and support an ongoing news-gathering organization? Your business model cannot rely upon foundation support and must be self-sustaining through revenues it generates.

Can you devise a business plan for a profitable New Media organization that can deliver quality journalism, pay salaries and support an ongoing news-gathering organization? Your business model cannot rely upon foundation support and must be self-sustaining through revenues it generates.

Your proposal can be for a journalistic enterprise large or small. It can have a general or a sharply focused mission. The goal is not to devise a plan to save an Old Media company

THE BUSINESS PLAN MUST INCLUDE STANDARD FEATURES (if you're not a business major, do some research to see what they are). Among other components, it should:

  • Include a vision statement.
  • Consider the competitive business environment of which your business will be a part.
  • Explain the niche your business will fill in this environment.
  • Describe and analyze your business prospects.
  • Outline the economic viability of your business venture.
  • Assess your cash start-up requirements and your cash flow for the first year of operation. At what point will your business break even?
  • Specify what kind of staff you'll need, how you'll hire them and what kinds of salaries you'll pay. (Reporters and editors have to earn enough to eat, feed and house themselves, besides having a bit of fun now and then.)
  • Sketch out marketing and expansion plans.

JUDGING will be by a panel of professional journalists and business experts who are familiar with New Media. As part of the process, judges will meet with entrants to discuss the proposals.

DEADLINE: 5 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.

RULES are detailed in the ENTRY FORM.

PRESENTATION: The CUNY Murray Kempton Award for Best New Media Business Plan will be presented at CUNY's Journalism, Broadcast and New Media Conference on Friday, Oct. 8, 2010, at the University Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave., at 34th Street, in Manhattan.