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NiemanLab-SembramediaIn Latin America, a digital community of media startups hopes to make entrepreneurship easier

Entrepreneurs tend to take for granted how easy it is to start media companies in the U.S. The abundance of capital and potential ad revenue and lack of governmental censorship make it relatively simple for anyone with an idea to get something started. (Whether they’ll be able to sustain it is another question entirely.)

Other countries aren’t so lucky. Take Venezuela, where years of inflation have tripled food prices and brought economic growth to a standstill. That’s made daily life hard not just for Venezuelan citizens, but also for the country’s media entrepreneurs, who have struggled to find the funds they need to get started and stay afloat.

Media entrepreneurs in other South American countries face similar challenges, and they lack a central place to share ideas on how to solve them. SembraMedia hopes to fill that gap.

The site, whose name is a play on “to sow” in Spanish, is trying to build both a directory and digital community of media startups in Latin America. The hope is that by bringing them together, SembraMedia can help founders turn ideas into reality, and startups into sustainable businesses. (Leer mas)


Digital journalism startups shared their experiences at the Ibero-American Colloquium

Article about SembraMedia in Knight Center for Journalism in the AmericasBy Silvia Higuera/MD

View video from the startups session at SembraMedia’s site:

New digital native media outlets are proliferating throughout Latin America. They have been created by journalists who have become entrepreneurs, driven by necessity—oppression from governments, crisis in traditional media, different types of censorship—or because they felt a drive to innovate online.

Some of these entrepreneurial journalists from the region came together during the second panel of the 9th Ibero-American Colloquium on Digital Journalism organized by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. Nearly 100 journalists from the region attended the event.

Eight of the featured initiatives are part of the new non-profit organization SembraMedia, which seeks to create a community of digital journalists from Latin America and Spain that will support them in their process of becoming sustainable.

Janine Warner, its founder and executive director, began by expressing her delight in presenting the proyect in the same place “where it was born,” making reference to the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) “Development of Journalistic Projects for the Web: an Introduction to Entrepreneurial Journalism,” offered by the Knight Center in 2013 and taught by Warner.

Warner remembered how she “stole” the phrase “just do it” during the MOOC to push several of the journalists in attendance at the Colloquium to execute their ideas. Many of these projects make up SembraMedia today, which was founded in October 2015 and now has 200 affiliated media outlets in its directory, she explained.

Although there are several ideas and projects to be carried out by SembraMedia, she highlighted that the topic of sustainability is one of the most important ones—taking into consideration that this is one of the most common concerns among entrepreneurs.

The first successful case study was that of Chequeando from Argentina, which Warner said was one of the “best in the world.” (Read More…)


IJNet article SembraMediaInside SembraMedia, a new resource site for digital media companies in Latin America

For years, Janine Warner has traveled Latin America, teaching as a guest professor at universities, speaking at conferences and meeting entrepreneurial journalists along the way. She wanted to find a way to connect all these people.

So, in October 2015, Warner launched SembraMedia, a new nonprofit organization and online portal that aims to create a community of digital journalists in Latin America and Spain, providing a place where they can share information, strategies and resources.

“The real vision behind this is about helping digital media companies become more sustainable,” said Warner, a journalist and consultant from the United States. (Read more)

You’ll find more coverage of SembraMedia in Spanish-language press.

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