Boot Camp

Intense training for diverse founders starting audience-pay information businesses

Training for people with passion

Roughly three times a year, I offer an intense eight-week online boot camp that helps early stage journalism entrepreneurs start a financially viable news business with a well-tested suite of business modelling and customer validation tools.

I focus on working with diverse founders who are leaving newsrooms to start audience-pay information businesses. Typically, participants are mid-career journalists who have proven track of public-service reporting.

Does that sound like you? You’re in luck, applications are open again:

Apply today »

I expect boot camp participants to become the architects of the community-focused and community-funded news ecosystem that the world needs right now:

  • Important public-service reporting
  • A commitment to keeping information open to everyone
  • Reporting with communities, not on communities
  • Supported financially by those communities


“The one-on-one sessions brought great value to the program because of the personalized care. This is where we could talk through our passions, brainstorm ‘crazy ideas,’ answer unanswered questions, address concerns and everything in between.” — Boot Camp Participant

“The weekly, individual feedback sessions via Zoom were very helpful to me. I don’t know how Phillip managed to keep track of all of our projects and do everything else he does, but his advice and feedback were always pointed and relevant, and always helped me move on to the next step.” — Boot Camp Participant

“I truly believe it was fantastic.” — Boot Camp Participant

In the boot camp, you’ll learn how to:
  • Describe your business on one page
  • Forecast your revenue using a minimum success criteria and traction roadmap
  • Build three-month objectives and a plan for how to achieve them
  • Understand your community’s needs, and how your project will meet those needs
  • Run small experiments to prove your ideas
  • Know which technology and tools are the best fit for your undertaking
  • Build a “continuous innovation” mindset and toolkit that will keep your project relevant for years to come
  • And, most importantly, develop customers!
Boot camp schedule
  • Each week we meet online as a group, using Zoom video conferencing, for a 90-minute training session
  • We also have a weekly one-on-one coaching session to diagnose your project’s specific challenges
  • You will receive meaningful assignments with deadlines (journalists love deadlines!), and will be held accountable to deliver those assignments. These assignments will move your business forward, toward launch or improved success
  • We use Slack to quickly address any questions in real time throughout the week
What’s unique
  • You enjoy learning with a small peer group focused on the same challenges. Each cohort is typically 6-12 people. This is not a massively open online course
  • Highly-relevant “live case studies” with journalism entrepreneurs. For example, in the pilot boot camp we hosted Jen Poyant from Zig Zag and Allison Smith from Queens Park Today. These guests are hand-picked to be able to speak to your challenges
  • You get a curriculum that adapts to your specific needs. I do this by surveying everyone at the end of the week and making small additions to the next week’s lesson based on that feedback

Apply today »

Your personal coach

Everything that the Journalism Entrepreneurship Training Company offers is delivered personally and passionately by me, Phillip Smith. I am a certified Lean Stack coach. I’ve enjoyed a 20-year career as a technology and business entrepreneur. I’ve mentored more than a dozen reporter-led startups to help them build a path to sustainability. Much of what I know I learned as the CTO of an award-winning digital newsroom.

Let's talk

The path to your 1000 true fans starts today.
I can't wait to hear about your project, and to help you get there.