Over the last two weeks, I’ve helped two people launch their blogs on two different blogging platforms. Beckie Crispino started a blog for her business, Cashbackclics, an affiliate of Shop.com, on Blogger and Amy Alandt has started a blog on divorce and the next chapter in her life on WordPress.
I first met Beckie when she came to the media lab through Meetup.com for a workshop on blogging. She learned a lot from Heritage Media Managing Editor Rick Kessler’s two-part series, and wanted to put into action much of what she had learned. We took Rick’s recommendation for a blogging platform and set her up on Blogger. We also set up a Twitter account
Just started our Internet Mall with free price comparison search at online stores and thousands of products!!! http://t.co/NmlAGqOKPm
— Beckie Crispino (@BeckieCrispino) November 6, 2013
and Facebook page associated with the blog, and I am pretty sure she has either set up a Tout account, as well, or plans to soon.
Beckie’s blog has not been launched yet. First she wants to have a logo made and get all of her ducks in a row. In the meantime, she has been adapting to Twitter very well, tweeting and retweeting multiple times a day since we first set up the account Nov. 6.
Amy’s blog was freshly pressed today on WordPress. She also found the media lab through Meetup.com an had attended Rick’s blogging workshop, and my presentation on RebelMouse and NewHive. She works in sales and marketing, and wanted to become more familiar with the WordPress platform since the company she works for uses it and she’s now an administrator of the blog.
To gain practice before actually using her new-found knowledge on her employer’s blog, she set up a personal blog, called “Amy’s Next Chapter.” Today we set up her “about.me” and she wrote her first post, “Welcome to my blog about divorce.” Initially, her first post was titled “Welcome!” but we changed it after I explained about search engine optimization and writing headlines for the web.
Amy is also interested in Tout and during our time together we created a Tout, so I could show her how easy it is to do. The short video was shared on my Twitter and Facebook accounts.
— Michelle Rogers (@ideaLabHeritage) November 18, 2013
Amy doesn’t have a Twitter account yet and she prefers to share links to her blog posts on Facebook, rather than link the two. She is considering starting a Twitter account and Facebook page just for her blog.
I applaud both women for taking the steps to realize their dreams, and I look forward to working with both more in the future.
If you are a blogger or thinking about starting a blog, 21st Century Media‘s Michigan Group is recruiting blogging partners. Reach out to me by commenting on this blog and I can send you information.
For the first time, in my role as director of the Southeast Michigan Media Lab and as director of community engagement and editorial training for 21st Century Media’s Michigan Group, I’ll be recruiting interns from Central Michigan University. I initiated contact with CMU after seeing a post on Facebook that MLive would be there recruiting interns, and thought 21st Century Media should be doing the same.
What I hope will make the experience different for students with our media group is that I will ask candidates to demonstrate their digital storytelling skills. I will still ask them the standard questions about their backgrounds, passion for journalism and career goals, but I’ll also ask them to produce content about Digital First Media, its CEO, media labs or other related news using digital storytelling tools. What I am interested in seeing is their choice of tools, whether they choose to write a blog post; use Storify or RebelMouse; create a video, audiocast or photo slideshow; or maybe make a timeline or NewHive expression.
I created a NewHive expression to share the challenge with the students. I also will come armed with copies of Digital First Media’s recruitment brochure, list of editor contacts at our publications across Michigan, and internship opportunities at Digital First Media’s Thunderdome office in New York City’s Financial District.Thunderdome is a nationally focused digital newsroom that works with more than 100 local newspapers, including The Denver Post, San Jose Mercury News, El Paso Times, New Haven Register and The Oakland Press.
I’ll be meeting Jim Wojcik, the internship coordinator at CMU’s Department of Journalism. He has lined up a few students interested in interviewing with 21st Century Media. They’ve been asked to send a link to their resume and clips using Pressfolios. I’ll give the students a short deadline for turning around their digital-first assignment, and then make recommendations to our editors based on the candidates’ skills and location preferences, and editors’ needs.
As director of the Southeast Michigan Media Lab, I’ve had the pleasure of consulting with Maryanne MacLeod, director of the new Macomb Regional Community Media Lab at The Macomb Daily, Daily Tribune and Advisor & Source building in Macomb County, Mich. And, out of that relationship, we’ve had fun presenting free workshops to the public and brainstorming ideas of how to partner with community groups to build on our mission of bringing the audience inside the newsroom as news-sharing partners.
On Oct. 4, we both had the pleasure of hosting a meeting that included 14 Career Technology & Education directors from the Macomb Intermediate School District. In addition to their regular meeting, they came to learn about the Macomb media lab and what we can offer their students.
Maryanne shared information about the lab and its mission, in partnership with the Macomb Daily’s Kevin Martin, of working with CTE students. I presented on digital media and social media tools they could be using in partnership with us. Here’s a copy of my presentation, which is housed on my Scribd account.
— Michelle Rogers (@ideaLabHeritage) October 4, 2013
Karen Johnston, career education specialist at the Macomb ISD, helped organize the meeting. The Macomb Daily has had a relationship with CTE students for years through the Making Connections banner, as pointed out my Maryanne in her blog post.
“As part of this hands-on CTE training at The Macomb Daily, students and/or instructors come into our offices to build a page with content creator, Kevin Martin, the Macomb Daily’s CTE frontman,” she writes. “Conversation between Karen and Kevin, fueled in large part by the launch of the Macomb Regional Community Media Lab Aug. 13, uncovered a mutual desire to upgrade the student experience by taking advantage of social media and community contribution educational opportunities now available at the lab.”
In my presentation, I highlighted such tools as RebelMouse, NewHive, Pinterest, Dipity, Capzles, ipadio, Tout, Animoto and encouraged the teachers to have the students create a blog, similar to a school newspaper only online, that they contribute to, and that we could repurpose in print. This mutually beneficial relationship will enhance our community coverage, while helping to grow their audience and give them real-world experience as journalists. The teachers and principals seemed most excited about the potential of RebelMouse, NewHive and ipadio, based on their questions. They had some concerns about moderation, and I encouraged them to develop their own work flows so they could abide by district policies.
— Michelle Rogers (@ideaLabHeritage) October 7, 2013
I am excited about the potential of this partnership and I look forward to presenting in the future directly to the students. I’d also love to establish a similar relationship in Washtenaw, Wayne and Oakland counties with their ISDs or career consortium.
In the last three weeks at the Southeast Michigan Media Lab, we have hosted three workshops with various levels of participation from the public. Last night’s workshop, titled “Writing with Your Child,” was a little out of the ordinary from our usual offerings, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it despite not having children.
Gina Luttrell, an assistant professor of social media and public relations at Eastern Michigan University, was the first of our presenters, visiting the media lab for the first time July 25 after hearing about it from a colleague. We are so appreciative of her enthusiasm and warm embrace of our project in Ypsilanti, which provides free workshops and individual training to the public in digital media and social media. Gina graciously volunteered her time to teach “Using Social Media to Promote Your Business.” And in the spirit of social media, we conducted a live chat and fed Tweets, Instagram pics and Touts into the chat while also livestreaming video of it.
Stephen Frye, online editor at The Oakland Press, talked about search engine optimization to a small group the afternoon of July 29. He presented a PowerPoint assembled by Oakland Press Community Engagement Editor Monica Drake. Even though it was the second round for that presentation, I still learned something, and I always appreciate an opportunity to use Tout, Twitter, Instagram, uStream and ScribbleLive to capture these presentations and share them with our audience, either live or via our archives.
Like Gina, it was the first time Stephen had been to the media lab and he even tweeted afterward that he thought it was a great space for our community outreach program.
— Steve Frye (@stevefrye) July 30, 2013
While both Stephen and Gina’s topics aligned with what you can expect to find in terms of programming at the media lab, Brian Cox, editor of The Detroit Legal News, introduced something out of the box for me. I had never thought about offering a workshop on “Writing with Your Child,” but that’s precisely what he offered to present and I thought, “Why not?”
Brian’s workshop Aug. 8 attracted three parents and three youths. It was great to see the children at the lab interested in developing their writing skills. One 15-year-old girl had been writing fan fiction for years, and the other two, a brother and sister, were also passionate about writing. Brian gave parents some great tips
— Gina Luttrell (@GinaLuttrell) August 8, 2013
and then gave them a lesson to work on together. I shot several Touts, as well as a video that I plan to work on later this afternoon for our YouTube channel.
My takeaway from Brian’s workshop is that it’s best to go with the flow. If someone wants to do something outside of your regular routine or way of doing things, be open to it. I think everyone who attended his workshop was impressed and one of the children asked if he had any other learning opportunities scheduled — so he has developed a fan base. Now all I need to do is convince him to get on Twitter and WordPress, which, by the way, is in the works.
If you are looking for an opportunity to grow as a journalist or writer, or further develop your social media or digital media skills, the Southeast Michigan Media Lab is a great resource. And it’s free! Come take advantage of our free workshops. Upcoming workshops include “Using Tout to create short-form video” 6 p.m. Aug. 21, “Adoobe InDesign, PhotoShop, Bridge and Illustrator Basics” 6 p.m. Sept. 5, “Understanding the Freedom of Information Act” 6 p.m. Sept. 10 and “Covering Michigan Politics” 1 p.m. Sept. 18. Sign up at Meetup.com.
The idea behind the event was to share information about how the writers could become blogging partners with 21st Century Media and its news affiliates across Michigan, including The News-Herald, covering Downriver, and Press & Guide.
Information also was shared about the Southeast Michigan Media Lab, a free resource offered by the company to help bloggers, community contributors, students, senior citizens and established journalists. As many readers know, the media lab offers free workshops on social media and new media tools, as well as one-on-one instruction, from setting up blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and YouTube channels to teaching people how to use Pinterest, LinkedIn, Dipity, Tout, SurveyMonkey, Storify, ipadio and other tools.
Media lab intern Elise Waller produced a video from the event and News-Herald Video Coordinator Dave Herndon shot photos. Media Lab Director Michelle Rogers (me) led the event with an introduction to the media lab and the short-form video tool Tout, and was followed by Heritage Media Online Editor Joe Gray, who presented basic blogging tips and information on social media, and Rick Kessler, who presented a session on understanding search engine optimization and how to monetize a blog. I followed with a more advanced session on adding visuals and interactive elements in a blog, recommending a variety of free tools.
Everyone who attended seemed very enthusiastic. I followed up with the participants the next day, providing links to the PowerPoints, our blogging partnership guidelines and encouraging them to stop by the lab to see me for help.
Our goal is to add 100 new blogging partners to our news sites by year’s end, and I am really hoping to get some great contributors from the Blogger Fair. I am very interested in working with Al Poe, who has been writing reviews of restaurants in the Downriver area for years and posting them on Yelp and Urban Spoon. And I’ve already added Gordon Thorsby, who writes about customer service and his experiences at various businesses across the state of Michigan.
If you were unable to attend our event, but interested in finding out more information on how to become a blogging partner, please reach out with a comment on this blog. Here is my PowerPoint with information about the lab and our blogging partnership guidelines, as well as a presentation on SEO.
My intern and I had the pleasure of helping Maryanne MacLeod, community engagement editor at The Macomb Daily; Jeff Payne, editor of Voice Newspapers; and Jody McVeigh, editor of Advisor & Source, in launching the new Macomb Regional Community Media Lab June 27 in Clinton Township.
While Maryanne has been working with bloggers and the community for sometime, the media lab space, which came to be when The Macomb Daily moved into its new digs on Hall Road earlier this year, will provide a place the community can call its own, and where community contributions to 21st Century Media publications will be encouraged.
Our help consisted of setting up a number of accounts that will serve to promote the media lab, communicate with the community and facilitate activities at the lab. For example, we set up a uStream channel so community workshops can be livestreamed, and Twitter and Facebook to communicate with our audience and publicize our work, while also making connections with the community. We also set up an Instagram account and YouTube channel to share photos and video from our work in the media lab. The Macomb media lab was added to our Meetup.com account for the Southeast Michigan Media Lab so we can promote workshops and other activities.
We still need to set up a Tout account to share short-form video, a blog to communicate our activities and work with the community, Scribd account to share PowerPoints from our workshop presenters, WeJoinIn to schedule workshop presenters, a RebelMouse page to curate all of our social media content, as well as RSS feeds from our publications serving Macomb County.
Equipment for the lab has been ordered. They will be getting a few laptop computers and an iPhone. These will be available for in-house use by anyone who comes in looking for help in writing a news release, creating a photo slideshow or video, editing audio, or posting to their blog, among other things.
The idea behind the media lab in Macomb County is similar to the one in Washtenaw County, as 21st Century Media wants to provide community outreach and encourage contributions to our publications. For instance, at the Southeast Michigan Media Lab we have helped senior citizens set up Facebook pages to connect with family and friends, local chambers of commerce and political organizations set up Twitter accounts to boost their presence on social media, and representatives from local nonprofits write news releases about their newsworthy activities. In addition, we have worked with individual writers and bloggers, helping them fine-tune their writing and add bells and whistles to their blogs to make their blogs more visually appealing. We link to many of these blogs from our website and, in exchange, their blogs feature our headline widget to help drive traffic back to our websites.
If you live in Macomb County, feel free to stop by the Macomb Regional Commmunity Media Lab or if you are in Wayne, Oakland or Washtenaw County, you’re welcome at our media lab in Ypsilanti at SPARK-East.