B.R. Hook, a media development and consulting firm, was founded by Brian R. Hook at the start of this century.
Brian then launched BizBlip.com, which tracked business news in St. Louis until 2004. BizBlip.com, along with GovBlip.com, are among numerous news websites under development.
BRHook.com, which provides news and commentary about the media industry, is the flagship website for the business. In addition to providing resources for those within the industry, the site will also be a place to experiment with various revenue models, bolstering the consulting-end of the business.
MO: Where does your passion for entrepreneurism come from?
Brian: I have always had an interest in the business behind journalism. For many years and for many different mediums, I worked for others. Yet, I have always longed to start my own media business. Therefore, I finally took the plunge, again, in the fall last year. While I previously worked as a freelance journalist for more than 10 years, working for various publications, it was still not for my own business. Therefore, I am combining the skills I learned working for myself and for others and putting them into practice. If B.R. Hook and Missouir Journal work, I hope to replicate the models into covering other industries and other states.
MO: What inspired you to launch the Missouri Journal? Do you feel that being based out of Missouri allows you a difference of perspective or any advantages to someone based out of let’s say, Washington DC?
Brian: Washington D.C. has plenty of reporters. It is important to have boots on the ground to cover the state. In addition to me in St. Louis, the goal is to have a reporter in Kansas City, Springfield and Jefferson City. Whatever is driving the economy, where ever it is being driven, is where I would like to have coverage. It is a bit difficult at the moment to cover everything from St. Louis. But hopefully with expansion that will change in the future. Also with expansion, I would like another reporter in St. Louis, to free me up to work on expanding the business. Much of this is way in the future, however.
MO: What are some trends with in the media industry that you’re especially excited by?
Brian: It is easier and cheaper to start a media company than in years past. It no longer takes millions of dollars to buy a printing press or broadcast transmission equipment. In fact, to relaunch the company, it took less than $1,000. It is also getting easier to deliver the content with all of the social media outlets. When I was operating BizBlip.com, the only thing available was email and search engine optimization.
MO: What’s the most challenging aspect of your job? On the flip side, what’s the most enjoyable?
Brian: The most challenging aspect of my job is trying to juggle both the business end and the journalism end. While I enjoy both parts, eventually the job between publisher and editor should be split, leaving me to run the business end. On the flip side, these exact same elements are the most enjoyable. I enjoy the challenge and I love getting involved in every aspect of the business.
MO: How has the pervasiveness of social media changed the nature of political campaigning?
Brian: Social media, along with websites, allows politicians to skip the media and interact directly with voters. Just like some businesses, some politicians are more adapt at this than others. While some still think in terms of traditional marketing or campaigning, others are catching on quite fast and voters and consumers notice.
MO: Who or what inspires you?
Brian: I find inspiration daily in different places, from reading other’s reporting to talking with the people I interview for stories. Each day is a new day, and along with challenges, each day brings inspiration.