At last weekend’s We Make the Media conference, some of us started floating the idea of a journalism-specific co-working space — via our Twitter back channel while our breakout group was meeting. In short order, this idea evolved into a “media incubator” concept that now has its own post-conference work group, and has quite a few of us excited about what might be coming next.
What the incubator might include:
- Regular opportunities for independent writers and media contributors to socialize and network face-to-face.
- Sharing resources, whether that’s a copy of an AP Stylebook or WordPress coding skills.
- Shared workspace for freelancers and “entrepreneurial journalists” who normally work alone.
I love this idea. Here are some of my self-interested reasons for wanting such an incubator (particular the co-working space):
- Working alone from a home office is isolating. I miss the camaraderie of a creative office.
- Being surrounded by others driven by deadlines inspires me to be more productive with my own time.
- I have skills, resources and ideas that I can’t always immediately apply to my own work. I’d love to be able to share these with others, and to be on the receiving end of others’ leads and skill sets.
- Brainstorming with others — from a variety of backgrounds — can produce amazing results.
- I like being a cheerleader for my colleagues, and can benefit from similar encouragement and support.
One of the speakers from our conference later wrote that while there was a great deal of enthusiasm from the folks proposing to help make the incubator a reality, he thought that our trying to organize ourselves toward such an end might be similar to herding cats.
Honestly, I have seen quite a few good ideas fail. Some don’t even get off the ground. The passion is there at the outset, but it can fizzle out, get sublimated into another project, or simply be forgotten as soon as the next big idea comes along.
But this isn’t the fate of ever good idea. Sure, it’s difficult to launch a brand new brainstorming initiative the week of Thanksgiving, but I’m hopeful for our incubator. I can envision this project later become something akin to a working journalism/media think tank, a locus for both action and ideas.
We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, and the incubator — once it gets off the ground — could likely take on a life of its own and become something completely different from what we’d originally envisioned.
Either way, I’m looking forward to getting started.