J-Lab: aiding new media start-ups through training, consultancy and research

With over 10 years of experience, J-Lab is one of the oldest digital media innovation institutions. It offers media organisations training and support to develop new ways of reporting and engaging with their audiences.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | August 17, 2017

Over the years, the lab has tailored its work targets and approaches to the transformations in the media environment, staying up-to-date and providing useful information to media organisations to help them adjust to these changes. Located in Washington DC, the lab acts as a national media incubator for media start-ups and traditional news organisations to incorporate digital technologies in today’s media.

The lab was started in 2002 by Jan Schaffer, executive director and founder of J-Lab, as a spin-off from the Pew Centre for Civic Journalism. Its goal was to promote the use of digital technologies within the media industry:

“At that time I made a decision that I wanted to move towards innovations in the digital media realm,” Schaffer explains. “By 2002, websites were there, but they were created so you could just slap the whole newspaper online after you published it. It was very different from what we have now.”


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This is one of the cases collected as part of the ongoing Media Innovation Mapping project, a collaboration between WAN-IFRA’s Global Alliance for Media Innovation and the Media Innovation Studio at UCLan. Read about the 30+ Media Labs we talked to so far or contact us to share your story.

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