"Super Camp" Program Helps Online Community Publishers Form Sustainable Business Plans

Posted on February 08, 2012 by The Patterson Foundation

The Patterson Foundation’s ongoing work in new media journalism has resulted in a new mentoring program that will help online community news publishers form sustainable business plans.

Following the 2011 Block by Block: Community News Summit in Chicago, the initiative identified a half dozen online, hyper-local news publishers throughout the country to begin an intensive program known as “Super Camp”.

The kickoff workshop focused on business sustainability and models to develop a strong, actionable revenue plan.

Administered by the Knight Digital Media Center, the Super Camp program is organized around a “learning-and-doing” model, with expert coaches providing instruction and mentoring on business practices from selling local advertising to managing customer relationships.

Each attendee brainstormed, created and presented individual business plans for critique by the larger group, adjusted them according to feedback they received, and finally, showcased their revised plans. At the conclusion of the session, the group of publishers had created both a unique business plan and a 100-day action plan to implement.

All attendees felt they prospered from the experience, with one attendee mentioning, “to be able to write a business plan in a three-day period with the help of experts in the field and the advice of colleagues was just awesome.”

Each publisher took home action items and have been connecting since then via a private Facebook group, where they can share ideas and cultivate their business plans. The next step for the program is to develop individual coaching plans for each publisher while they execute their business strategies.

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