Digital Journalism Initiative



Room for innovation: The Digital Journalism Initiative at the HMS

Are Instant Articles on Facebook really effective? Which sales opportunities emerge through WhatsApp, Pinterest, Snapchat, and other social media tools? What digital potential does video streaming with Periscope or Meerkat & Co. hold for live reporting? In the future, how can, how may, and how must editorial offices enter into a dialogue with their readers and viewers, and why should they? What opportunities and risks does native advertising bring with it? And does the future require a digital professional ethics to reshape the relationship between journalism and the public sphere?

One need not even conduct research to achieve current findings in order to recognize that modernization is needed in the field of journalistic training. Today, more than ever before in the history of media, the continuous acquisition of core skills, new management concepts, and the evolution of alternative revenue structures contribute significantly to the development and prosperity of published content.
In light of the digital transformation, training programs are now praised within many companies; however, we still lack coherent training concepts and a holistic approach that can match the increasing complexity of journalism.

For this reason, the Hamburg Media School (HMS) has come together with renowned media companies and partner institutions in Hamburg to bring about the Digital Journalism Initiative (DJI).
The DJI is a quality offensive in the Digital Journalism program that we use to support media companies in their digitalization strategies, including in the transfer of innovative knowledge, as well as when testing new business models. At present, the DJI will focus on five goals in order to overcome the financial, physical, and technological challenges of digitalization:

  1. Increasing digital innovation awareness in media companies.

  2. Creating an innovation-friendly work environment in editorial offices.

  3. Expanding internal and external training portfolios.

  4. Establishing editorial creative zones and free spaces for digital experiments.

  5. Promoting processes of innovation management as a strategic advantage.

In the coming months, the initiators of the DJI will work to flesh out these goals in detail. Certain measures have already been established, specified, or are currently taking shape. These include:

Awarding annual need and merit-based scholarships to students in our degree programs. Several companies and foundations are already supporting us in this endeavor.

Conducting excursions and Innovation Field Trips for editors, journalists, and media managers to locations like New York City, Chicago, Florida, and London.

Holding conferences and events during our Innovation Days like VOCER Innovation Day in cooperation with the SPIEGEL publishing house or Media Innovation Day during the 2015 World Publishing Expo in cooperation with WAN-IFRA.

These are only a few examples of concrete transfers of know-how, funding, and practical partnerships orchestrated by the DJI. There is more to come. We invite you to follow our lead and to help strengthen top-quality digital journalism, both in the media hub of Hamburg and beyond the boundaries of Northern Germany.

The Hamburg Media School is glad to support you as a contact point, partner, moderator, advisor, or service provider. If you have any ideas or comments with regard to the DJI, please feel free to contact us. I look forward to your questions and criticism, and especially to additional encouragement toward the goal of a culture of innovation in journalism.

Best regards,
Dr. Stephan Weichert
Digital Journalism Program Director (EMAJ)

Additional information about the Digital Journalism program

Julia Ruge

  • +40 413 468 76
  • +40 413 468 10