Thursday, November 1, 2012

Free Falling: The Uncertainty of Media Innovation

By now, everyone knows of the risky skydiving stunt Felix Baumgartner pulled off when he dove from space, 24 miles above ground. But very few are talking about the man who allowed us to see it all, entrepreneur Jay Nemeth.

Jay Nemeth, Flightlinefilms.com
As a journalist and graduate student specializing in media entrepreneurship, I'm fascinated with the race for media start-ups to innovate new ways to deliver news, and to find a model to properly monetize their hard work. Perhaps Nemeth's example is one the media industry can emulate.

 Nemeth created an industry. He started his company, FlightLine Fields, which provides aerospace cinematography, before anyone knew they needed such a thing. He is an entrepreneur thinking ahead of the rest of us, now enjoying the benefits of his company's competitive advantage.

News entrepreneurs would be right to emulate Nemeth's style. And the good news? You're already thinking way ahead of some of the old traditional news rags. But how do you experiment with the next big news-thing without falling to earth with no parachute?

You could use some help.

Innovation Management is an online learning center that offers help to small businesses looking for ways to innovate. Here are some easy steps they offer:

1. Identify your need or opportunity

2. Find a partner. Nearby universities, research companies, other media startups, or even larger media organizations may help you dream up new ways to innovate

3. Protect your intellectual property. You may have to come up with terms to share information with your learning partner, but keeping your ideas from other companies will help protect your competitive advantage.

Nemeth gave great advice to Young Entrepreneur to sum it all up. He said...

"Identify something new that no one is doing and get your part ready. You may be ahead of your time, but be patient and wait for the industry to catch up to you. If you position yourself correctly, you'll be their first choice, and possibly their only choice. As they say in aviation, you want to be "number one on the runway."’

Sheeka Strickland is a graduate student at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She's studying Media Strategy and Leadership. Sheeka is an experienced television news reporter. Follow her on twitter: @Sheeka_S


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