Collab/Space Chicago


TechNexus Space, Chicago

How can media startups break through, survive and thrive? That will be the focus of the upcoming Collab/Space Chicago workshop on September 24, 2014, the day before the ONA14 conference. Sponsored by the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford and hosted by TechNexus, it will be an all-day, hands-on workshop focused on media innovation and spotlighting cutting-edge media startups —  in the Chicago area and beyond. We’ll be selecting several innovative media startups, which will present their startups in lightning fashion, with questions from the audience. Later we’ll do collaborative exercises — using improv comedy techniques (facilitated by Andy Boyle) — to learn how to work better together, and break out into groups to help the startups get past their challenges. But we’ll also be learning how to take those solutions back to our own workplaces. Plus, we’ll be collaborating with a diverse group of participants, including entrepreneurs, journalists, technologists, designers, marketers, investors and major players in the tech and media scene.

Register for the workshop now!

Collab/Space Chicago is a production of PBS MediaShift and sponsored by The John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford and hosted by TechNexus.

Key Speakers

Doug Mitchell is a media thinker, producer and innovator who is co-project director of the “NewU” Entrepreneur Fellowship Program for journalists and media professionals of color. Mitchell founded and still leads NPR’s “Next Generation” radio training, and currently is consulting for NPR to help it and NPR stations create and manage a “talent pipeline” into public media. Also, Mitchell is a co-founder of “The Journalism Diversity Project.” He is based in Washington, D.C.

david cohn circa
David Cohn is the chief content officer of Circa, an innovative news summary app. After starting out as a technology reporter, Cohn’s career has been about pushing the boundaries of how journalism is done. He was at the forefront of citizen journalism with “Assignment Zero” and the “Beat Blogging” project. He helped to pioneer the practice of crowdfunding for journalists by creating Spot.Us. Cohn is active throughout the news community, serving on the board of several non-profits, teaching at various journalism schools and helping to organize industry events including ONA and TechRaking. He lives in Berkeley, Calif., where he likes to grow things in the garden or bike.

Andy Boyle is a News Applications Developer for the Chicago Tribune, where he’s built projects for the 2012 and 2014 elections, created tools for user-generated content and regularly works on visualizing data, from high school sports to crime. Previously, Andy has worked at the Boston Globe, the St. Petersburg Times and The New York Times Regional Media Group, where his work was cited in the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News. When not speaking at colleges and conferences, Andy is usually writing and telling jokes. His mom would be so proud. You can follow him on Twitter at @andymboyle.


The following startups will be presenting at Collab/Space Chicago:

PortaBierta Media
Realizing Innovation
Silicon Hills News
SociaLife Chicago
Solar Power Report

Read more about the presenting startups here.

Workshop Sponsor

Knight Journalism FellowshipsThe John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford foster journalistic innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership. Each year, 20 outstanding individuals from around the world are selected to participate in the program.  They are given the resources to pursue and test their ideas for improving the quality of news and information reaching the public.

How It Will Work

Media-related startups in Chicago and beyond can apply to present at the workshop. We’ll choose 8 startups at various stages of development. Startups will make brief presentations to the group and answer questions. We will list their 3 biggest challenges, whether that’s financial, technological, marketing, distribution or some other major challenge. Later in the day, we’ll divide into breakout groups around each project and develop solutions for their challenges. Solutions will be shared with the full group, and we’ll keep track of the projects and provide updates and share their progress in coverage on MediaShift.

The goal will be to collaborate to help those projects succeed in the long run, creating interest groups for them on the spot (and afterwards), while also networking between the tech and media communities. We’ll end the day with a mixer which is open to the community, to encourage further discussion and networking.


Registration costs $129 for participants and $79 for students — be sure to register soon to save your spot. We expect to have a great group of people in the media and tech scenes both in Chicago and around the country.

Please go to this Eventbrite page to register!

Collab Space Atlanta

Collab/Space Atlanta


You’ll get to hear from media innovators, and work with them on teams, too!  Also, we expect key people to attend from local media organizations, journalism and communication schools, investment firms and other people active in the entrepreneurial and media scenes.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014
9 am to 5 pm for the workshop
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm for the mixer

technexus logo grab


Location: TechNexus, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 1200  |  Chicago, IL 60606
Google Map for the location

TechNexus co-founds disruptive technology ventures on the frontiers of innovation by aligning corporations with entrepreneurs, assembling the right combination of staff, engineers and resources, and then guiding those businesses to customers and markets. Its resources include a national open network for innovation, a content publishing platform, industry-leading research and a 50,000-square-foot incubator at its headquarters in Chicago’s Civic Opera Building.


> Targeted talks on collaboration and media innovation.

> Selected media startups present their work and list their challenges.

> Networking lunch

> Break out into teams for improv exercise

> Work collaboratively to help solve challenges for the startups, and present that to the group.

And a Mixer Too?

After the workshop we’ll invite the public to join us for a MediaShift Mixer with drinks and snacks at Rittergut Wine Bar (10 South Wacker Drive, Downtown Chicago, IL 60606) from 5:30 pm to 8 pm. It will be a chance to share with we’ve learned with friends and colleagues.

Note: Collab/Space Chicago is not affiliated with ONA14.

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