Exploring Ypsilanti and Creating Data Visualizations

I continue to be pleased with the response we’re getting in the Community Media Lab and I am confident we will continue to grow and attract more people who want to learn new digital tools to share their voice in the community.

Friday is my day in the lab and I had three visitors yesterday. My first visitor was Ed Veilmetti, the former lead blogger for AnnArbor.com and editor at ArborWiki. We chatted about journalism and the industry, and then he got me out of the lab and into the streets of Ypsilanti, which wasn’t something I had done yet during my time in the lab. As we made our way to Beezy’s for lunch, we stopped in the Downtown Development Authority office at 32 N. Washington St., Suite 14, where we met Tim Colbeck, executive director of the DDA. Tim was nice and welcoming as we talked about the Community Media Lab and its goal to serve and teach the community. I invited him to our launch party May 3 and he said he would help spread the word about our free services. After a brief conversation, as Tim was having lunch and we didn’t want it to get cold or interrupt for very long, we headed to Beezy’s for a wonderful lunch in a friendly eatery that’s making a name for itself in downtown Ypsilanti. I had a tuna salad sandwich and a bowl of homemade Mediterra-

Bob Cummings, a blogger that Heritage Media-West links to on its website, visited the Community Media Lab Friday.

nean vegetable soup. Both were fresh and delicious.

Ed and I returned to the Community Media Lab, and he hopped on our Netbook to catch up on some reading on the web using his favorite browser, Google Chrome, and I continued with my editing until my next visitor arrived.

Bob Cummings, who writes a blog linked on our website at Heritage.com called “A look at spirituality and health,” stopped in. He has been very supportive of our Community Media Lab and is excited about some of our upcoming workshops, which will teach writing and editing skills.

Bob came in to learn new digital tools. Since he has some statistics he wants to share in his next blog post, I directed him to ManyEyes, a website that will, at no cost, allow you to create data visualization elements, such as graphics, maps and word clouds. Click here to see what Bob created. He plans to experiment more with the program before writing his post and embedding a graphic that best fits his needs.

During Bob’s visit, a student at Eastern Michigan University came in to check out the lab and talk to me about a possible job opening on our staff at Heritage Media-West. What I liked about him was that on his resume he describes himself as a “digital journalist.” I appreciate his mindset. It will take him far in this new digital age and evolving field of journalism. His experience includes an internship and part-time, temporary stint at AnnArbor.com, and experience in producing video, audio and photography, as well as blogging.

My time in the Community Media Lab went by fast, but I got a lot of work done, posting four stories to our homepage and editing about a dozen pieces, in addition to experimenting with Bob and exploring Ypsilanti with Ed.

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