02 February 2017

Interesting startups that can solve the problems of a newsroom do exist

Aron Pilhofer talks opportunities for startups in news organisations

Startups for News launches its sixth season and as its international jury is selecting the 16 most promising startups that have applied to the 2017 competition, ahead of the online pitch battles starting in March, we sat down with Aron Pilhofer, James B. Steele Chair in Journalism Innovation at Temple University School of Media and Communication in Philadelphia, to discuss his experience and sentiments on the collaboration between newsrooms and startups. Aron Pilhofer will be speaking on a panel at the GEN Summit 2017 in Vienna, 21–23 June.

GEN: During the years you worked at the New York Times and the Guardian, were there startups that impressed you or made you rethink your processes?

Aron Pilhofer: Yes, at the Guardian, about a year ago, we launched a completely new strategy, a business, content and company strategy built around reader revenue, loyalty and membership. We were very open with the fact that among our inspirations was a small startup in the Netherlands called De Correspondent. As the founders were very generous with their time for us, we discovered that their way of approaching the news business was almost the purest expression of a humane kind of journalism that the Guardian also deeply values. So that is one example of a startup that impressed and influenced our thinking. Another one might be Journalism++. What I think separates Journalism++ from other almost similar companies is that they have a very strong ethical core: everything they do, whether it is for an NGO or a news organisation has to comply with the highest journalism standards. I think it is a very interesting model, one that in my opinion could work very effectively in the US.