News roundups: own your niche, learn and link when starting any content creation

It's a roundup: Cowboys and pickup trucks push the herd of buffalo across Lame Johnny Road during Monday morning's Buffalo Roundup at Custer State Park on Monday. (Kristina Barker/Journal staff)

This fall, I started doing something on the Back on My Feet blog that should probably be the first step of every community news site ever: a weekly aggregated roundup of existing news on homelessness.

It’s something I advocate to any content creator in which I am involved.

A primary rule of anyone with mission today is to share content related to that mission, as you probably can pretty easily beat bigger media on issues relevant to your work.

But the specific virtue of a simple roundup can be profound. It follows any number of rules of the web today.

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Number of Views:3036

Someone else is doing a better job of tracking community news sites

About a year ago, I hadn’t come across a good list of someone trying to track all of the community news sites worth covering. So I did so myself.

I only recently come across someone doing a much better job of it, so I’ll leave it to her.

For the Reynolds Journalism Institute, Michele McLellan has dug in and created four main and seven overall categories for the always growing list of community sites.

It’s interesting to watch these numbers swell. Below, check out her categories and follow links to her lists.

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Number of Views:5249

Newsworks: WHYY online news brand launching means a lot to these legacies

A lot of legacies over at WHYY are going to be forged with whatever comes out of Newsworks, the online news re-branding and redevelopment initiative from Philadelphia’s NPR affiliate that I first wrote about back in April.

In short, NewsWorks, which had its official launch last Monday, Nov. 15, is WHYY’s new online news brand, serving as home to its existing journalism, in addition to (A) new columns, (B) calls for community contributions and (C) a trial hyperlocal push in northwest Philadelphia.

It’s a big bold swing and at least four years in the making.

Indeed, where Newsworks is a year or two from now will mean a great deal to the entire news ecosystem of Philadelphia, at least. Some of those people who come to mind:

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Number of Views:14388

What the Knight News Challenge could learn from ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’

The Knight News Challenge is once again alive.

The deadline for applications in the fifth annual media innovation pitch series from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is, as deadlines tend to do, rapidly approaching: Dec. 1.

It was only back in June that the recipients of the 2010 Knight News Challenge grants were announced, for which you can see commentary from the Nieman Journalism Lab here.

In other news, ABC this fall announced that outspoken billionaire and Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban and comedian Jeff Foxworthy would be joining a handful of venture capitalists on the second season of made-for-TV, speed investment pitch reality show “Shark Tank.”

Despite being influenced by a popular Japanese program format and easily being among the most interesting reality TV shows I’ve ever seen, “Shark Tank” wasn’t the ratings success ABC may have wanted.

Popular or not, from when the show first debuted and even more so this year, I think there is plenty the Knight News Challenge should take from “Shark Tank.”

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Number of Views:5734

Leaving Back on My Feet as Media Director: what I’ve done in a year

An emblematic photo of a portion of my work with Back on My Feet, as taken early in the morning of the second day of the third annual Stroehmann Back on My Feet 20in24 race event, having coordinated an intervivew of Philadelphia chapter Executive Director Sera Snyder and Fox 29. For the 20in24, every major outlet in the region covered the event.

I am leaving my role as Media Director for Back on My Feet, the running-based program to combat homelessness.

I tendered my resignation last Thursday, Nov. 11 and our staff was alerted Monday. My last day will be Friday, Dec. 3, so I’ve offered a full three weeks to help the transition process at an organization with a mission that has come to mean a great deal to me since joining in January.

I’ll be sharing in greater detail here what exactly I will be doing, but, in short, I am taking a full-time opportunity with the media company I helped launch by way of starting in February 2009 technology news site Technically Philly.

Yes, things have been going well there since.

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Number of Views:9936

‘Net neutrality’ future is about authority: Speaking at Philly NetSquared

Politics of the Social Web Philadelphia NetSquared panel on Wed. Nov. 10, 2010, including, from left: Rachel Colyer, Organizing and Communications Manager of the Media and Democracy Coalition; Bryan Mercer of the Media Mobilizing Project; Susan Gasson, Associate Professor of the iSchool at Drexel, and myself, representing Technically Philly. The event was live streamed, from which this screen shot was taken. About 20 people were in attendance at the American Friends Service Center.

Understanding the difference between the theoretical concept’s debate and the more practical policy conversation over authority is key to furthering the conversation on so-called ‘net neutrality.’

That was the central-most, on-going theme of my remarks on a panel that focused on the growing conversation about requiring, among other things, internet service providers to maintain equal access and speed to all portions of the internet.

My remarks came as one-fourth of a panel titled “Political Issues of the Social Web: Nurturing or strangling social web opportunities” and hosted byPhiladelphia NetSquared, a group that, as it describes itself, “gathers together nonprofits and activists, tech leaders and funders, and everyone who’s interested in using technology for social change.” Because its members include many nonprofit leaders, my role with Back on My Feet was noted, but my perspective was much more influenced by my Comcast coverage for Technically Philly.

The panel discussion, held last Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010 at the American Friends Service Center at 15th and Cherry streets in Center City Philadelphia, was part of Net Tuesdays, a free monthly event series from Philly NetSquared.

Though a discussion on the ‘Political Issues of the Social Web’ could have any number of directions — including, but certainly not limited to, the federal broadband stimulus initiatives and universal access broadband policy and a very powerful conversation about the meaning the social web has to democracy and revolution — our conversation, with some variation, focused more tightly on the very timely conversation on net neutrality.

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Number of Views:7913

Digital camera: choosing a multimedia device for a nonprofit content creator

After my first asset analysis joining Back on My Feet in January, it was beyond the pale of question that we needed a camera that could get our organization content — photos and video — up and moving quickly.

I was looking for a camera that was the following:

  • More durable than the personal camera I had, enjoyed but kept having it fail on me
  • Better lens for clearer video zoom and photo quality
  • No more than $500 and preferably nearer to $200

Upon some research and inquiries, I recommended we spend more than $300 on the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H20. Complimentary CNet review here.

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Number of Views:7650

How to draft a media kit: lessons from Technically Philly

Almost two years ago, we at Technically Philly first launched our media kit.

We followed it up with advertising packages, which I think are more important once your product is a recognized brand in a community, but a media kit is important still.

After fielding a few questions of late from those interested in what is necessary to get started, I thought I’d answer here.

First, don’t forget: a media kit is meant to quickly, effectively inform and attract interested buyers into a media property, particularly one they may not know well.

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Number of Views:4096

Patch is about as evil as Starbucks (and that’s less than you might want to believe)

Is Patch evil?

That was the wildly well-remembered question asked by Robert Hernandez at a lunch keynote panel during the Online News Association conference, which I was able to attend. Hernandez was asking Aol CEO Tim Armstrong, whose company owns hyperlocal news and information platform Patch and who was on stage with NPR President Vivian Schiller.

I’d say the answer is simple: it’s not.

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Number of Views:7378

Rally for Sanity from Jon Stewart was long in ideas but maybe short in practice

Credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

I was in Washington D.C. on Saturday when the Rally for Sanity, put on by the crew at the satirical Daily Show, which is already been billed as the Woodstock for my generation.

I didn’t really see or hear much,  as there were some big audio problems and, well, maybe as many as 215,000 people were there. But I suppose that won’t much matter.

I was there, or near there, specifically, and, of course, there in the broader sense of being 24 at a time when people my age were trying to do something.

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Number of Views:4914