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Meet Cyna Alderman of the New York Daily News Innovation Lab

Cyna Alderman is the Managing Director of the Daily News Innovation Lab and Senior Vice President, General Counsel of the New York Daily News. The Innovation lab fosters early-stage news and media start-ups directly in the newsroom, both helping the start-ups understand their product-market fit, and letting the NY Daily News innovate and experiment with new technologies.

Cyna_AldermanOn June 30, Alderman will moderate a panel discussion hosted by Parse.ly. Along with panelists from Fortune Magazine, the Washington Post and Comcast Ventures, Alderman will dive into a pressing topic for anyone in the media business: what does investment in the media sector mean for the industry? How will it change way we work, the jobs we have, and the people we write for? Join us to be part of the conversation by registering here.

Before the panel, we asked Alderman a few questions that highlight why she’s the perfect moderator for any panel on innovation and investment in media. Read on for her responses.

1. Can you provide some background about the Daily News Innovation Lab? Why did you decide to start this venture?

We launched the Daily News Innovation Lab in 2013 with a mission to transform media together. Initially, our focus was on finding ways to collaborate with startups to assist as they developed and iterated on their products, provide teams with real-time feedback from a potential customer, and help them grow their businesses. In 2014, we kicked-off our events series “Conversations”, and also began one-on-one meetings with startups through our office hours program.

We started the Daily News Innovation Lab as a way to connect with the startup community, to participate in the changes facing our industry, and to learn and grow as an organization.

2. What lessons have you learned from spurring innovation within a traditional media company?

If you provide your team members with opportunities, they will surprise and impress you. Empowering experimentation can produce benefits beyond your expectations. Participating in conversations with other organizations facing the same challenges you are is key.

3. The intersection of tech and media is getting a lot of attention, and many companies that are a hybrid of the two have raised significant capital. Is this a bubble? Or is this where the future of journalism lies?

I believe we’ll see some consolidation in the industry, but I don’t think the future of journalism has fully revealed itself. The future of journalism depends on finding a sustainable business model. It seems like there is a massive focus now on growing audience and engagement. Things will really get interesting when investors start expecting returns and revenue.

4. Any new media startups that you’re particularly impressed with?

We have seen many great startups come through our Innovation Lab office hours, including:

  •  Fresco News, a tool for newsrooms to access and license breaking news photos from contributors worldwide (its Founder, John Meyer, was recently announced as a Thiel Fellow)
  • Sense360, a product that activates all of the sensors available on smartphones in order to build apps that are personalized and situationally aware
  • Dextro, a product that analyzes the contents of video datasets and livestreams.

I’m also continually impressed with the startups graduating from Matter. In the most recent cohort, I thought Hearken and News Deeply were stand-outs.

See Alderman speak about Investments in Media, including the Innovation Lab’s work, on June 30, 2015 at WNYC’s The Greene Space. Reserve your spot by registering here.

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