November 4, 2009
Category: Archive
Digital Media Entrepreneurship (PN411-10)


Join Poynter faculty members Bill Mitchell and Wendy Wallace in this intensive program, beginning with one week of full-time classroom instruction and continuing with one-on-one coaching and self-directed online work. Also teaching will be Jeremy Caplan, a visiting professor at the City University of New York’s graduate school of journalism who writes about technology innovation and business strategy for Time magazine.

Course dates: TBD
Location: The Poynter Institute, 801 Third Street S, St. Petersburg

Your tuition (funding could be available from your local workforce board) also includes one year of self-directed online software training and two hours of one-on-one coaching (to be arranged with instructor). Click here to apply.

Application Deadline: TBD

Whether you’re starting an online business or already run one, this course can help you develop the skills and write the business plan you need to succeed.

About the course

Have an idea for a Web-based news and information business?

Whatever your passion — from sports to home repair or travel — you can turn that interest into an online media venture. Learn strategies for creating content, engaging an audience and finding revenue to support your enterprise. See how others are making niche and hyperlocal sites work in their communities.

Participants will learn:

  • How to refine and test their idea
  • How to write a business plan
  • Legal issues: ownership options, profit vs nonprofit, etc.
  • Accounting basics for a small-business owner
  • Technology that can help achieve their vision and market their plans
  • Software and other tools to help engage audiences digitally, including how to create an RSS feed and simple widgets to make a site interactive and searchable
  • Revenue models: subscription, advertising, foundation grants, etc.
  • Techniques for managing change and working in an entrepreneurial environment

Instructors will use case studies and will share the latest lessons from entrepreneurial ventures of this type launched in the past few years.

This course is presented in partnership with the City of St. Petersburg’s Business Assistance Center.

Who will benefit:

  • Journalists with an idea for an online business
  • New and aspiring entrepreneurs dreaming about owning a successful Web-based news and information business


  • TBD
  • If you are receiving unemployment benefits, you may qualify for government funds to pay for this training. For details, if you live in Pinellas, visit WorkNet Pinellas or call (727) 507-4300. If you live in Hillsborough, visit WorkForce Tampa or call (813) 930-7400.  You will need to meet eligibility requirements, go through orientation and meet with a career counselor. This process may take several weeks, so allow plenty of time.

Tuition includes (SUBJECT TO CHANGE):

  • Classroom instruction and interaction with Poynter faculty Bill Mitchell, who leads the news transformation initiative at Poynter and was a 2009 Harvard Shorenstein Center Fellow, and Wendy Wallace, an MBA with journalism, marketing and grant-writing experience.
  • Coaching and
  • Access to self-directed online training through Poynter’s e-learning portal for software training, NewsU Tech.

About The Poynter Institute:

The Poynter Institute is a leader in journalism and media leadership training, licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License #4114. We’re near I-275 (see map) in a beautiful building with comfortable classrooms and computer labs with the latest technology.


Some post-secondary education and/or measurable experience in business or digital technology is required. Basic writing and computer skills required. Students will need to demonstrate their writing ability and describe any relevant work experience on their program application.

How to apply:

Applications are not being accepted at this time. If you have questions, call Poynter at (727) 821-9494 and ask for Nafi Schwanzer, entrepreneurship program coordinator, or email us.


Do I have to be a journalist to take this course?

No. This course is open to anyone who is interested in learning about how to start a news or information Web site. No journalism experience required.

Do I have to be a computer programmer to take this course?

No. You should be comfortable with computers, certainly. After all, you’re about to start an online media business, right? But you do not need to know HTML or any other programming language.

Will I receive a degree or certificate? Will it count for college credit?

You will receive a certificate of completion. We will work with you if you want to explore options with your college or university to earn credit for this class. But you will need to make those arrangements. Poynter is licensed and accredited, but we are not a degree-granting institution. You will not earn college credit through Poynter for this course.

I still have questions! What do I do?
Give us a call. Call Poynter at (727) 821-9494 and ask for Nafi Schwanzer, entrepreneurship program coordinator.

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