The Paley Center for Media, the premier nonprofit forum for the media industry, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which advances journalism excellence in the digital age, will launch “The Next Big Thing in Digital News Innovation,” a national series of event forums to spotlight innovative ideas and business models for producing, distributing, and funding journalism. Produced by the Paley Center, with a grant from Knight Foundation, the series will enable news and information entrepreneurs to showcase and pitch their startup enterprises to an audience of senior media executives and investors. The premiere event takes place March 22 at the Paley Center in New York, with participation from executives and investors at NBC News, The New York Times, New York Angels, and Lerer Ventures. Subsequent events are planned for Chicago, in May, and Los Angeles, in September.

The event will be live-streamed via at . Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #PaleyNext.

Inspired by the Paley Center’s “Next Big Thing” series, which invites emerging media entrepreneurs to present before an exclusive audience of industry leaders, “The Next Big Thing in Digital News Innovation” aims to connect journalism innovators with decision makers at news organizations, venture capitalists, and faculty and students from area journalism programs. Prior to the premiere event, presenters will hone their five-minute pitches and product demos through one-on-one sessions with select executives and investors, including Vivian Schiller, Chief Digital Officer, NBC News; Eric Hippeau, Partner, Lerer Ventures; David S. Rose, Chairman, New York Angels; Kay Koplovitz, CEO, Koplovitz & Co., LLC; Dave Morgan, CEO, Simulmedia; Sean Branagan, Director, Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship (Syracuse University); Joshua Kushner, Managing Partner, Thrive Capital; Aron Pilhofer, Editor of Interactive News, The New York Times; Jeremy Caplan, Director of Education, Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism (CUNY); and Elizabeth Spiers, Editor-in-Chief, New York Observer, among others. The presenters will then deliver their pitches on March 22 in the Paley Center’s Kissinger Global Conference Room, where they will receive instant feedback in a conversation moderated by Andrew Heyward, Managing Partner of MarketspaceNext and former president of CBS News.

The following companies will present at the March 22 event:

BiblioCrunch — a next-generation e-publishing platform and professional marketplace.

Contently — a professional network and publishing platform to empower and connect quality writers and brands.

Engagio — a Gmail-like productivity tool to manage your conversations in social networks and commenting systems.

metaLayer — a fast, intuitive way to discover and share insights from data.

NewsiT — a mobile social network for creating and sharing news.

Zeega — an open-source HTML5 platform for creating interactive documentaries and inventing new forms of storytelling.

The event begins at 10:00 AM, with coffee and refreshments. Presentations begin at 10:30, followed by a luncheon at 12:00 PM. Admission is free for members of the Paley Center’s Media Council and Generator communities, as well as invited guests.

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