Too often journalism schools are islands within the larger university communities. At the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication here at Arizona State University, we wanted to not only build an incubator for great new digital media ideas, but to create an environment where student journalists could work side-by-side with computer engineers, business majors, designers and students from other disciplines across campus.

We also felt that J-schools traditionally have spent little or no time fostering an entrepreneurial spirit in our students. And we believe that spirit is vital in the creation of viable new media products that are rooted in the core values of journalism.

Out of those ideas was born the concept for the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship. The Knight Center at ASU will take a highly multi-disciplinary approach to foster an environment of innovation of digital media products as well as creating business models to launch these new ideas. We are offering a new course starting in January that will become a staple of our online journalism curriculum – “Digital Media Entrepreneurship.” And we are wrapping up a national search for the Knight Center’s founding director.

Funding for our new center comes in equal parts from the Knight News Challenge – with the Knight Foundation’s great passion for digital media innovation – and the Kauffman Foundation, which focuses on promoting entrepreneurship on campuses nationwide.

We look forward to sharing our students’ collaborative efforts with you through this blog, and hope if you are in the Phoenix area you will come by, see our center in action and share your ideas.