My team and I are developing a prototype for a program that would allow recent journalism graduates to gain reporting experience within communities throughout the United States.

Step one: Create a value proposition.

Value propositions play an important role in the creation of prototypes. It is important that entrepreneurs take the time to develop a value proposition to have a better understanding of the prototype and the problem to solve. A value proposition also informs the target market of the products’ benefits. Two groups, journalists and communities, would potentially benefit from our program. We plan to provide a way for recent journalists to have reporting experience, and we aim to enhance community journalism. By creating these value propositions based on the target audience, we can evaluate the overall focus of the prototype.

The next step is to conduct research throughout prototype development.

In the Reese News Lab, teams research the feasibility, desirability, and viability of potential media products. Over the last two weeks, we have started the preliminary research for our prototype. In addition to the value proposition, a key part of the first stage of prototype development is to research similar programs and assess the strategies.

We are speaking with program directors from other universities, such as the University of Alabama and Auburn University, to learn about similar programs. The University of Alabama has a master’s program in community journalism, and I spoke with a leader of this program. He informed me of the classes involved, the importance of the school’s relationship with The Anniston Star, the structure, and how the program started and has evolved.We have also started to contact a Teach for America leader to learn about the TFA model, since our prototype would be based on this model. By learning about current programs, we can have a better understanding of the direction for our prototype.

In addition to the preliminary research, we have started to delegate tasks and responsibilities, create questions to ask for surveys, develop recruitment messages, and create a list of people to contact this semester.

Although we have a basic strategy for the prototype and have created the value proposition, we know that our prototype will change throughout the semester. It is important to remember this for any prototype because as entrepreneurs research similar programs, talk to experts in the industry, and receive feedback from the potential audience, they can use that information to develop the prototype. I am excited to see how our project will progress throughout this semester and to figure out the project’s potential impact for journalists and for community journalism.

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