SPN Out & About: RJInnovation Week at the University of Missouri

The team at Silicon Prairie News is often invited to participate in events and entrepreneurial conferences about either our organization or the geographic and …

The team at Silicon Prairie News is often invited to participate in events and entrepreneurial conferences about either our organization or the geographic and industry areas Silicon Prairie News covers. Our series “SPN Out & About” documents those experiences.

When Randy Smith, a longtime mentor of mine and the Donald W. Reynolds Endowed Chair in Business Journalism at the University of Missouri‘s Reynolds Journalism Institute, invited me to attend this year’s RJInnovation Week, I jumped at the chance.

The Reynolds Journalism Institute exists to develop and test ways to improve journalism through new technology and improved processes, and RJInnovation Week brings together journalism and business leaders and aims to solve the business problems journalism is facing today. As a journalist working for a startup news outlet that’s trying to gain traction in a rapidly changing industry, I have obvious interest in the symposium. It’s my hope that the ideas exchanged at RJInnovation Week — and disseminated here by yours truly — can capture the interest and imagination of other folks on the Silicon Prairie, too. 

To kick the week off, five teams of graduate students that partnered with journalism-related businesses to develop solutions to their problems presented the fruits of semester-long efforts. The student teams worked with The Associated Press, The Chicago Sun-Times’ Pioneer Press, the Media Policy Center‘s Imagine Democracy project, Kachingle and Spot.us

The Spot.us team won the competition, which was scored by a panel of four judges and audience ballots. The Kachingle team took second, and the Pioneer Press team took third. The winning team presented a plan to help Spot.us, a startup that provides an online platform for community-funded reporting, encourage community participation, grow sponsorships and, ultimately, reach financial independence.

You can find Monday’s presentations in the RJI’s video archives or catch live action via the RJI’s livestream. I’ll blog and tweet more throughout from RJInnovation Week, and you can find others’ observations on the proceedings using the hashtag #rjinovate.

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