Spring, 1.5 Credits.
Students will spend time over the course of the semester working on a project at a New York City-based startup. The objective of the Apprenticeship is to expose students to entrepreneurship and to help them develop skills that can be used in their own ventures.
Over the course of ten weeks, they will be asked to answer a specific question or address a specific challenge faced by the startup. The startups will vary in size and subject of focus, but the assignments will in some way be related to the projects being pursued by the Entrepreneurial Journalism students. So, for example, a student who is interested in launching an online news venture might explore the costs and benefits of launching a paid product for an existing news site. Another student might work with a social media service provider to consider new ways that journalists might use the tool to surface reliable, timely content and engage with disparate sources. The assignments will depend on the startups, their needs, and the opportunities that present themselves. Projects will be approved both by faculty members and by the enterprises’ executives.
We will help match students with companies based on students’ interests, skills and experience. We will meet with students early in the semester to discuss the venture partners and assess potential matches. Based on students’ individual needs, we will schedule deadlines for preliminary and midterm reports, as well as final reports and presentations. Students will visit the startups several times over the course of the term to gather the information that they need to complete their research and report.
Students will be expected to spend 2-3 hours of self-directed time weekly over the course of 10 weeks researching and analyzing a key strategic or operational issue. Students will undertake a site visit at least three times over the course of the semester, with the following goals:
• Initial visits: By late February, students will visit the venture to which they have been assigned to meet with the team, work out the scope of the project, gather relevant information, and discuss any potential issues/hurdles.
• Second visits: Midway through the semester, students will make follow-up visits to the venture to discuss progress and resolve any outstanding questions/issues. Students will be expected to produce a status report that details the progress they are making and their research to date.
• Final visits: At the end of the semester, students will make final visits to the ventures to present findings and submit a final report.
• Gain an appreciation for startup culture.
• Gain experience assessing challenges faced by new organizations.
• Gain an appreciation for the business pressures of a startup.
Students will maintain an apprenticeship journal throughout the length of the term. The journal will function as a sounding board, where students will analyze issues raised over the course of their term of apprenticeship. In advance of starting work at a particular firm, students will be expected to draft and submit a list of relevant readings that will help prepare them for the context they will encounter at the firm in question (this is part of the Pre-Apprenticeship Report). The apprenticeship journal will help students develop their thinking on the core topics they encounter over the course of their apprenticeship. This journal will also serve as a resource for other students in the class and entrepreneurs who might be launching ventures in a similar space. In addition to the journal, students will write up three reports – before, during and after the apprenticeship. The final presentation will include both a written and oral report.
The first grade will be based on the quality of the student’s report before the start of the apprenticeship (15%). The Midterm Progress Report will account for 30% of the grade and will serve to ensure that the student is accomplishing the goals that were set forth at the beginning of the semester. The final written report and presentation (30%) will also form a key part of the overall course grade. The startup will also assess the student’s work at the apprenticeship. The digital journal will comprise the final 25% of the grade for the course.
Pre-Apprenticeship Report: 15%
Midterm Progress Report: 25%
Final Report and Presentation: 35%
Digital Journal: 25%
Syllabi for Entrepreneurial Journalism Courses