Scholarship winner wants to help media “explore new digital revenue models”

    by Rich Gordon
    November 23, 2010

    When a Knight News Challenge grant made it possible to award journalism scholarships to people with backgrounds in computer science, no one — not even the first scholarship applicants — knew what career opportunities would be available to “programmer-journalists.”

    Five Knight scholars will graduate from Medill in December. Here’s the second of a series of posts describing them and their career goals and plans. Other profiles: Geoffrey Hing.



    Jesse Young has worked for two Internet startups in the Bay Area, but he came to Medill in part because of his love for magazines — the printed kind. He’s particularly interested in the challenges of making magazines financially viable online.

    In the Medill innovation project class he’s currently enrolled in (along with the other four Knight scholars), Jesse is one of the leaders of the business team, which is identifying revenue strategies for hyperlocal publishers. He’d like to do the same for a magazine like Harper’s.


    “I’m interested in finding ways to help media get back to profitability,” Jesse says. “Companies need to explore new digital revenue models that aren’t just throwbacks to print.”

    While at Medill, Jesse reported on the telecom industry, writing about broadband technology, consumer protection and mobile applications.

    He and some of his classmates also launched Flood Magazine, a Web site that garnered some attention earlier this month when Jesse showed how easy it was for a technically savvy non-subscriber to bypass the publication’s “paywall” barrier.

    Before coming to Medill, Jesse earned a degree in electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California-Berkeley.  He has worked as a developer and software engineer for MOG and Howcast.

    For more information about Jesse, check out his LinkedIn profile.

    Tagged: jesse young knight news challenge medill northwestern university programmer-journalist

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