Today is the most accessible moment in the history if mankind. We are new enough with tools that they are still used personally by many leaders but advanced enough that adoption is rampant.
Search engines are familiar territory, but I picked up a few lessons from the workshops that followed the panel I was on during the Google for Media event that preceded the Online News Association conference in Atlanta.
I’m sharing what I picked up here, as much for me as for you.
Define the mission underpinning the work of your news organization, and then allow yourself to experiment with new and potentially better ways of telling stories.
That’s my interest in finding new innovative storytelling methods, and so I was excited by the chance to share examples with nearly 100 reporters and educators who visited a session I cohosted during a national news innovation conference in Atlanta last week.
Know why you’re doing your coverage and find the method that best creates that outcome. While that may mean a beautiful, highly produced product like the Serengeti Lion web interactive from National Geographic, depicted above, my focus here is sharing low-cost or free ideas for inspiration.
Before the full Online News Association conference kicked off in Atlanta, I was on a panel discussion about lessons from local reporting online during an event Google held for members of the media.
I was joined by Joaquin Alvarado from the Center for Investigative Reporting, Thomas Wheatley from Atlanta’s Creative Loafing and Bryan Leavoy from WSB-TV and the moderator Daniel Sieberg from Google.
After four years with the same Technical.ly Philly WordPress theme and six months after our Baltimore launch, we united our brands with a complete redesign under Technical.ly in March.
The design was led by Tom Rose and we partnered on the WordPress development (WordPress multisite) with WebDev Studios. We’re still making our way through bugs and looking toward a second phase, but I’m proud enough of a few design elements that I want to share.
My colleague Brian Kirk and I put no less than a year of thought into the effort, so we offered considerable direction and then watched Tom and WebDev exceed in making those plans a reality. Read a more general assessment of the redesign on our company blog here, and find a recap of our old site here.
Below, find some small elements that I’m most proud of and think should inform your design work.
LEADERSHIP Philadelphia is a more than 50 year old civic society development nonprofit that has been the model for similar groups around the country. Among its programs, its furthest reaching is the annual Core Class, which selectively takes 110 mostly mid-career candidates from corporate, philanthropic, institutional and community groups and takes them through a 10-month program about Philadelphia, leadership and civil society.
Since 1993, Liz Dow, the well-connected, well-regarded, clear leader has been the nonprofit’s executive director, and I was blessed to come to know her in the past three years. It’s through that very meaningful relationship, with someone whom I have come to consider a confidant, that I was offered the chance to apply for and be accepted into the 2013 Core Class.
As the next class gets settled, I wanted to digest what I learned from the experience.
The largest event we helped organize during the second annual Baltimore Innovation Week was our opening party that drew 1,000 people to Penn Station Plaza in partnership with the Gathering food trucks and Station North Arts and Entertainment Inc.
The party activated a public space, as seen in the above photo from the event’s beginning, widened the reach of a narrow technology community and brought about other partnerships. It was fun and exciting and big.
But likely the event with bigger direct impact was the small Baltimore City Council hearing we helped launch with District 7 Councilman Nick Mosby, the first ever city council hearing dedicated to the innovation economy in Baltimore.
“I’m used to photographing what is illusive, things that are hidden. In Kensington, there were women on every corner making eyes at me, a single man in a sedan driving the avenue.”