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bad-news 
 
Ordinarily it takes an act of God to make me spill a drop of my morning coffee, but reading the news this morning nearly caused a grand-mal seizure:

“Jilted Kickstarter Backer Neil Singh Is Now An Assistant Attorney General Of Arizona”

 
My first, second and third reaction was “This is really bad news for Arizona Entrepreneurs.”   
 
Arizona:  The state celebrated recently for being #1 in the US for entrepreneurial growth, has just turned towards a cliff.  Maybe I am being shrill, but read on:

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Arizona No. 1 for startups, Kauffman study finds

Arizona had the highest entrepreneurial activity rate of any state last year, according to new research from the Kauffman Foundation.

– Phoenix Business Journal

Definitely worth of a major shout-out

When I arrived in Arizona 4 years ago to help them build their entrepreneurship program, I had already spent over 15 years in Silicon Valley – the mecca for entrepreneurship (and venture capital). Needless to say I was cynical and underwhelmed by the scope and quality of the entrepreneurial community, but I wasn’t surprised or disappointed. Most areas outside of the “big 3” (Silicon Valley, NY, Boston) or the up-and-coming-3 (Denver, Austin, LA) lack the culture, critical mass or role models to sustain a vibrant entrepreneurial community. Phoenix was no different, and it wasn’t the fault of the entrepreneurs or other talented would-be entrepreneurs. Again, without a critical mass of role models (successful entrepreneurs), supporting companies, capital and a culture of risk and innovation – it just doesn’t happen. But it did happen in Arizona- particularly in the Phoenix metro area. After 4 years, we hit the top spot in the country for entrepreneurial activity. It wasn’t due to any one silver bullet. It was a combination of simultaneous and independent efforts by many individuals and institutions, all committed to stimulating entrepreneurship in the region. Some of the efforts were predictable – other regions have used similar techniques and failed. If these efforts weren’t buoyed by other activities and other individuals, they might have fizzled in Arizona too. But the synergy worked, and continues to work – primarily due to these influences:

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The other day I was asked to write an article for PBS’s Journalism and Innovation site (PBS – Mediashift) – on the subject of “Who is a Journalist?” spurred on by the recent and reoccurring debate on ‘what is journalism’, in the digital age:

MediaShift Idea Lab . After Crystal Cox Verdict, It’s Time to Define Who Is a Journalist | PBS

Last month, the Crystal Cox verdict re-energized a debate among journalism’s most passionate and articulate thought leaders and professionals by begging the question: Who is a journalist? Just about anyone with a laptop or cell phone can use free technology to create quality media and reach audiences larger than any newspaper or television network. Indeed, we are all publishers now. But are we all journalists now, too?

The article explored some of the issues surrounding the legal definition of “journalist”, as opposed to any more casual definitions floating around. Apparently some took issue with my assertion that there needs to me a specific definition of “journalist.” The interesting part is that the feedback came mostly from those who would describe themselves as journalists. Their contention was, citing The First Amendment’s free speech and free press protections, that anyone can be called a journalist. Apparently any definition limiting who is recognized a journalist – particularly in the eyes of the law – was an affront to The First Amendment, apple pie and the American way.

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