An interview with Josh Rubin, founder of Media ATX

Media ATX is a group devoted to stewardship of the Austin media scene. Their mission is to get different creative communities and media industry sectors working together for the purpose of spurring economic development.

Recently, we had an opportunity to interview Joshua Rubin, founder of the organization, and asked him a couple short questions about entrepreneurship, creativity, his initiative, and its innovative founder:

What is Media ATX? What are its goals? What does it have planned for the future?

Media ATX is a group devoted to stewardship of the Austin media scene. Our mission is to break down silos between the different creative communities and media industry sectors to get them working together for the purpose of spurring economic development.

We’re doing this by creating community infrastructure to help bind the scene together. (Join Facebook group here)

1) A weekly newsletter covering media news and events in Austin and the state at large (SIGN UP HERE)

2) Weekly happy hours every Monday, and larger monthly events designed to foster community conversation and cross-pollination. (RSVP HERE)

3) A public database of all the media businesses, groups, and events in Austin. (Add to Media Census here)

4) Smaller dinner gatherings bringing together founders, executives, leaders, and stewards of Austin’s media market to share issues and surface opportunities.

What led you to Media ATX? What’s your background?

I was born in Austin but didn’t grow up here. I’ve spent 20 years in national media, working for companies like Discovery Channel, HGTV, Apple, and National Geographic. I spent more than a decade at CNN as a field producer covering presidential campaigns, natural disasters, the economy, tech, and breaking news.

I moved back to Austin in 2010 while still with CNN. Since my job was on the road, I was able to pick my home base. However, when I got back to Austin in 2010 I felt like the only member of the national media for several hundred miles in any given direction. I knew that if I ever wanted to leave CNN,but stay in this area, I needed to know who else was here. About 90% of media organizations are located in NYC, DC, LA, and San Francisco, which meant that if I wanted a life in Austin with a career in media I had to help develop the scene. That lead me to the creation of my first media map, which was a simple google map of every media company I could uncover in town.

For a few years Capital Factory was the unofficial CNN bureau for Austin. I was impressed by the startup scene’s infrastructure around events and engagement, so I decided to copy their community building strategy for creation of Media ATX.

What is your role at Media ATX?

I founded Media ATX around three years ago, and currently run it with journalist Tom Cheredar.

What is your favorite part about Media ATX?

Uncovering new media companies and connecting people together. Rarely a week goes by that we don’t learn something new that either just arrived in Austin or had been here for years.

What would you offer as advice to prospective students interested in the industries Media ATX showcases and supports?

Try many different things and talk to people outside of your area of interest. Just because you start in journalism, doesn’t mean you should ignore opportunities in marketing, design, and the like.

What do you believe is the future of innovation and creativity?

The media is in the midst of massive disruption. The most important thing creatives should be innovating around are the business models that underwrite their creativity. Collectively, we tell great stories — now we need to learn how to balance a checkbook.

Erin Reilly is a consultant helping others to understand and strategize about storytelling, engagement, play and learning through emergent technology.

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