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UPDATE: NEW DATE Nozzl Media demo at December’s social hour

11/24/2009

Due to some kind of historic athletic event happening in Oregon on Dec. 3, we’re moving the social hour to Dec. 10. If we held it on the 3rd, not only would some of our friends been forced to choose between their two great loves (football and journalism), the Rose and Thistle would be impossibly loud. So same place. Same time. But less football.  Go Du-eavers! See you on the 10th.


As the fallout from last weekend’s journalism conference continues, and as the supposed line between “old” and “new” journalists becomes more pronounced, it’s time for the next social hour — and a chance to highlight a company that defies that old-vs.-new dichotomy.

Nozzl Media is an 8-month-old, Portland-based startup that’s creating a platform for what it calls “real-time, local news streams.” To put it bluntly, it’s a reporter’s wet dream: Nozzl’s software robots scour public records and databases for information, and then deliver as much or as little as the end user wants. Hence the name: Nozzl. According to CEO Steve Woodward, the company’s “initial target market is newspapers that want mobile editions or web widgets with streaming real-time content, including advertising.” A beta launch is planned for January.

But lucky for us, we’re going to get a sneak preview on Dec. 3.

Woodward is a former Oregonian reporter with a long history as a journalist. I asked him a few questions via email about Nozzl, and about what it’s like to go from covering companies to being a company.

Did you have the idea for Nozzl before or after you left The O?

I left The O last November and formed Nozzl with Steve Suo, Brian Hendrickson and Greg Griffiths in March this year. Before Nozzl was formed, Steve Suo, another former Oregonian reporter, had the original idea for aggregating public records with a software robot. He had hired Brian, a former Oregonian programmer, to write the software. Brian had his own separate side project, an open-source microblog similar to Twitter. I persuaded them to put the two ideas together, so that we had a Twitter-like stream that could be filled with high-quality content such as public records.

I assume that when you first started, you thought about the project from a journalist’s point of view. How difficult was it for you to learn how to approach it from a developer, and then business-owner mindset?

Having been a business reporter and editor for a dozen years, I thought it would be relatively easy to run a company. But there’s a big difference between reporting on a multimillion-dollar corporation and running a small business. Running a small business is much harder. Thankfully, I was smart enough and humble enough to join the Portland Ten entrepreneurs bootcamp, which was the tough-love equivalent of getting an MBA in three months.

As for the development piece, that’s my biggest weakness. I don’t code, and I doubt that I ever will. I rely on Brian and Steve for that, and Greg has a background in software product marketing. But I still have to understand enough as a project manager to know whether we’re on track or not. So I often end my days with throbbing headaches.

Come join Digital Journalism Portland and the Society of Professional Journalists Oregon and SW Washington Chapter on Dec. 3 to see Nozzl in action.

Thursday, Dec. 3, 7 p.m.
Rose and Thistle Pub
2314 NE Broadway St
Portland, OR 97232-1611

Contact:
Abraham Hyatt, Digital Journalism Portland
Libby Tucker, Society of Professional Journalists, The Columbian

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2 Comments
  1. Suzi Steffen permalink
    12/01/2009 4:54 am

    Also? The Eugene Symphony concert on Thursday requires me to stay in town. So, thanks for moving it for that. <–insert Arts Journalist Smiley.

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