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Our Advisory Team…

One of the aspects of this project that I’m very excited about is the Advisory Team that has come together to support us. Back when we first were awarded our Knight Foundation grant in May, I began making calls around Duke to let various administrators and other media-related groups know about our plans. The response was great. To a person, they were all incredibly supportive and immediately wanted to know how they could get involved, how they could support us, etc.

This was particularly nice because traditionally, a lot of these groups don’t really talk to each other. I know from my time at The Chronicle in the late 80s and early 90s, we barely paid attention to what anyone at Cable13 or WXDU was doing. To some degree, we could afford to ignore each other back then. But now it’s a whole different world, with journalists expected to have skills that range across all three groups.

So in thinking about how to tap this enthusiasm, and generate a little cross-pollination on campus, I decided to create the Advisory Team. While the group doesn’t have an official governance role, I’ve asked each member to offer an ongoing critique and be available when I ask for advice or guidance. We also plan to convene the group on campus, hopefully at least once each month.

We may invite some additional folks to join as things get underway. But here’s our initial group, and a little bit about why I invited each person:

1. Brian Crews: advisor for Duke media organizations, including Cable13, WXDU; and Freewater Films. An obvious choice, since he’s so deeply involved with so many groups that under some scenarios could be sharing a building with The Chronicle at some point.

2. Ellen Mickiewicz: director, DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy. DeWitt has been rapidly expanding and now offers a journalism certificate. Ellen said she’s always wished there was more of a relationship between DeWitt and The Chronicle.

3. Ken Rogerson: Sanford Institute for Public Policy. Ken was also particularly excited about the grant. He’s just transitioning out of DeWitt. But besides working in the Public Policy area, he also serves on an advisory committee for ISIS.

4. Richard A. Lucic: ISIS Curriculum Director and Director of Undergraduate Studies. ISIS is doing some of the most interesting work at Duke in the area of new media and online communities.

5. Victoria Szabo: program director for ISIS. Victoria has also agreed to be project manager for building our newsroom in Second Life, which makes me enormously happy.

6. Jon Fjeld: Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Fuqua School of Business. I originally met Jon when I wrote about a start-up he was running when I was a reporter at The News & Observer. One thing that’s become clear to me, as a professional journalist, is that we can no longer afford to ignore the business side of newspapers and newsrooms. At my day job, we’re being asked to reinvent both how we gather news, and how our business works. So creating a place, a new newsroom that encourages innovation, experimentation, and entrepreneurism would teach valuable skills to a new generation of journalists. And I hope that Jon will help us think about those things.

7. Kip Frey: Researcher at DeWitt Wallace Center and general partner at Intersouth Partners, a Durham-based venture capital firm. I also interviewed Kip back when I was at The N&O. And I invited him for reasons similar to Jon. In addition, Kip has worked with and invested in several new media companies. But he lends one perpspective that I think will keep us on our toes: He doesn’t believe there’s a need for a new, central newsroom. His vision of media’s future is much more decentralized. I’ve heard this argument from lots of folks out where I work in Silicon Valley, and it’s certainly something we need to consider as we go forward.

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