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Introducing entrepreneurship


This lesson will provide students with an introduction to the concept of entrepreneurship and how it applies to journalism. Students will become familiar with seven types of entrepreneurial activities, how they differ from production activities, and how they might be used in a high school setting.


  • Students will be able to give examples of the seven entrepreneurship activities and how they are used in professional contexts.
  • Students will be able to explain how entrepreneurship and reporting activities are similar and different.
  • Students will be able to generate suggestions for how to encourage entrepreneurial activities in high school journalism programs.
  • Students will be able to discuss entrepreneurial examples in a small group and whole-class setting, offering their own insights and ideas about them and presenting original ideas.
  • Students will be able to evaluate the merits of entrepreneurial activities in a high school setting to determine which activities are more likely to succeed in engaging and inviting an audience to participate in a journalistic experience.
  • Students will be able to analyze documents, graphics, and statistics and be able to draw conclusions about entrepreneurship during class discussion.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2a Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1c Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1d Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1b Use various types of phrases (noun, verb, adjectival, adverbial, participial, prepositional, absolute) and clauses (independent, dependent; noun, relative, adverbial) to convey specific meanings and add variety and interest to writing or presentations.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.6 Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.


6 Weeks: 120-140 minutes (two 60-70 minute classes)

4 Weeks and 2 Weeks: 60-70 minutes (one class); eliminate day 2


Worksheet: Notes: Tools for Entrepreneurship

Worksheet: What about us? Reflection

Worksheet: What is Entrepreneurship? Notes

Slideshow: What is Entrepreneurship Slideshow

Data set: Data Set 1: Social Media

Data set: Data Set 2: In-House Marketing

Data set: Data Set 3: Funding

Data set: Data Set 4: Branding

Document camera, computer, iPad, other tablet or whiteboard


Case Study Rubric

Lesson step-by-step

Day 1

1. Introduction — 10 minutes

Lead a discussion about the following question: What kinds of challenges do journalism leaders face in the 21st Century? Sample answers might include declining readership, new technologies, greater access to information for readers, 24/7 news cycle, decrease in revenue, ability of advertisers to reach audience without news organizations, driving traffic to news websites, using social media effectively, engaging an audience, etc.

2. Brainstorming — 5 minutes

Write responses on the board, then remind students that high school journalists face these same challenges in their programs and ask: What more specific challenges do high school journalists face that relate to these challenges? Sample answers might include making enough money to sustain the program, selling yearbooks, reaching an audience primarily driven by their phones and other electronic devices, driving traffic to a student news website, convincing administrators that student journalists will act professionally and responsibly when using social media for school purposes, branding the staff as an online entity, etc.

3. Slideshow — 15-20 minutes

Show the slideshow introduction to the concept of entrepreneurship as well as its critical attributes, including definitions for each of the seven types and professional examples for each, asking questions to facilitate discussion and lead to students’ recognition of the difference between production and entrepreneurial activities.

4. Explanation — 10 minutes

Explain that key differences between these activities lie in the critical attributes – while production activities DO result in something new and often require initiative and risk, they are not generally for the purpose of generating revenue and audience participation in order to market or sell a product and foster a readership community. Students should be able to differentiate between activities related to newsgathering, reporting and producing news, and activities related to creating and sustaining a news business. Consider having students offer insights as to why both of these types of activities are necessary.

5. Note-taking — 15 minutes

Distribute a note-taking guide to give students more complete information about each of the seven types of entrepreneurial activities and careers/specific jobs related to them in a journalistic context. Continue to cycle back to the question about why this type of activity is important for a news business.

6. Homework explanation — 5 minutes

Explain the homework writing assignment, that students must write a paragraph comparing and contrasting entrepreneurial and production activities, and offering insights into why both are important for a news business. Encourage students to also generate a list of ideas for how the seven types of entrepreneurship might be implemented in a high school setting.

Day 2

1. Brainstorm list — 5 minutes

Generate a list of student suggestions for incorporating entrepreneurial activities in a high school setting. Given time, this could be done by soliciting responses from the homework assignment or having students work in small groups to suggest ideas and then share them with the class.

2. Partner work — 5 minutes

Ask students to review the class-compiled list with a partner and determine the three ideas they believe have the best chance of engaging and inviting an audience to participate in a journalistic experience in a high school setting, or to suggest new ideas that may be more effective.

3. Large group debriefing from pair work — 5-10 minutes

Solicit responses from each partner pair and record students’ initial insights into which activities they believe are most likely to succeed. This record will create a set of class hypotheses before continuing on to the data sets. The teacher should return to this list of hypotheses throughout the class period to ask students to reconsider and revise their thoughts.

4. Guided discussion — 10 minutes

Guide students through analysis of the data sets, either via slideshow, a document camera, or on paper, depending on your situation. Students should be asked to consider each set on their own and then to talk to their partner about it. A set of questions will accompany the data set on the slide or piece of paper to give students an idea of what to look for and consider as they analyze the data. Consider using the Case Study Rubric to grade this work.

5. Large class discussion on data — 10-15 minutes

Conduct a full-class discussion on each data set before moving on to the next one to analyze the set in light of what is known about entrepreneurial activities and to consider how it informs their own perspectives about how they should be conducted in a high school setting. Give students an opportunity to revise their hypotheses several times during the data set analysis.

6. Creating sample definitions — 5 minutes

At the end, ask students to reconsider their list of hypotheses and offer thoughts on which are more important, based on the data sets. Students may also be asked to provide outside knowledge that the class may not have considered with the data sets.

7. Student evaluation of entrepreneurship — 5-10 minutes

Conclude the inquiry by asking students to consider and evaluate their current reality in terms of entrepreneurship in their school-based news business. Some questions to consider: What is going well? What is not? Which types of entrepreneurial activities are being addressed and which are left out? What is the audience responding to the most? What are their dreams for their program? Distribute the “What about us? Reflection” assignment to aid with this discussion.

8. Poster creation — 10 minutes

If time, create a vision poster for the journalism program, detailing the current reality and describing improvements that should be made. Remind students that this is one of the first steps of being an entrepreneur – having an idea and developing it, taking initiative and risk in the hopes of creating something new and refining what already exists.