Your digital brand 101 — identity as journalist

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you’re doing it.

acts of journalism
When your brand and your purpose are aligned, you have passion working to your advantage, pulling you forward and drawing others to you.

Getting started on your brand
If you haven’t  established a strong Web presence yet, it’s a great time to get started.  So many tools are available now to make it easy to establish your digital brand and identity as journalist.  In addition, there’s a community of  helpful people on the Web to assist. The biggest challenges these days for building your digital brand and identity as a journalist is doing the work upfront to identify your brand attributes — the kind of journalism you want to be known for, your beat and niche as well as the audience for your niche.

Your brand is about what the audience thinks. Writes Nick Bilton in his book, “I live in the future & here’s how it works”

“It’s an editors job to reduce what a readers brain has to wrestle with.”

That’s the work of your brand. It’s a short cut to the identity that you are co-creating with your audience.

A cautionary tale
Andrew Sullivan is an early blogger, a former New Republic editor – who started his blog, the Dish in 2000. Because his brand as a political commentator had earned him a following at an existing platform, The New Republic, Sullivan’s persona was solidly established when the Dish was hosted by TIME, The Atlantic and finally, The Daily Beast. Continue reading Your digital brand 101 — identity as journalist

DIY websites for journalists

About_Sally_Duros 000
Here’s what looked like in 2000. Pretty, Eh?

Luckily, setting up a website has gotten a lot easier than when I set up my first website. Back in 1997, I had to print a form downloaded from the Web, fill it out and mail it in with a check to retain my domain name. That domain name purchase was made from the agency that became Web giant Network Solutions, which today manages  more than 7 million domain names.

After purchasing my domain name, I then had to find a company that could “host” my domain on the Web- basically make it “live” on the Web. For a Web host, I selected  a company called Pair Networks, which ultimately became too expensive for me. The  first recorded image of in the Internet Archive was in August of the year 2000. By then I had learned rudimentary HTML, was a member of the International Webmaster’s Association and was reporting on venture capital and technology.  I had ambitions to set up my own domain registrar for NPOs. Didn’t succeed or I’d be a millionaire now.

Now that I’ve told you all that, forget it.

DIY for journalists
Setting up a site so you can retain an archive of your articles is 1000% simpler today. Although there are many ways to set up a portfolio online with live links, I believe the best approach for a  journalist is to set up an archive just like I have here. (excuse my construction dust— I just moved over to the template recently and there’s always a need for  tidying.)

Here’s what you need to know. Buy your domain name from a registrar.  Also know that you are not actually “buying” your domain name. You are “renting” it for a period of time. Mosts registrars give you a discount when you rent for a number of years so that is what I’d recommend if you can afford it. Here’s the list of the largest domain name registrars from WebHosting.infoLargest_ICANN_Registrars

The largest on this list are GoDaddy, Enom, Network Solutions, Tucows and Schlund+Partner. This list says nothing about price or reliability. I have had personal experience with GoDaddy, Network Solutions and Tucows.

These days, the larger domain registrars are also hosts. And many of them offer an easy user interface with WordPress, which is basically what your “design” on the Web will look like – no hand woven bad html design for lucky you! You can have an interface that looks like this site you’re reading on, which I’ve set up on, the commercial imprint of Word Press. Here’s a sampling of what the bare bones designs look like.



The basic designs are free but many folks choose to jazz them up by hiring a great designer to assist. My feeling is that site design for us sole proprietor/journalists is less important because the quality of information is what is important. And with the way  information is read and distributed on the Web, I think less and less about my site as a destination. In fact, many journalists are experimenting with site-less news models these days.

One-stop shops aplenty
It’s easy to find a one-stop shop that provides domain registration, Web Hosting and WordPress interface. But buyer beware. A company like GoDaddy seemingly makes it simple to buy your domain name and put it on the Web. But I ask at what cost. Me, I dislike GoDaddy.  Their early marketing was offensive (it was like Hooters) and they nickel and dime you for every little service you need. As your use and sophistication grows you might find yourself disgusted pretty quickly .

A couple of years ago I moved to MediaTemple. The $250 per year fee plus the cost of my domain name rental seemed like a good deal for me since I “play” on the Web a lot with various domain names and often establish and run sites and social media for clients. I’ve been pretty happy with them and their services. But now that Media Temple has been purchased by GoDaddy, I am preparing to flee if the extra fees get onerous. One option I have been considering is Bluehost, which is often played off against GoDaddy in articles like this from a site called (which by the way offers lots of useful info for those of you getting started.)

The important thing for a journalist to get from one of these services is 1-click set up for WordPress, which MediaTemple, BlueHost and GoDaddy all have.

Added kudos for Bluehost
When I asked  my friend, colleague and digital expert Courtney Hunt who she would recommend for Domain registration and hosting, she said she is leaning toward BlueHost.    “I typically recommend Bluehost (one of 3 recommended specifically by WordPress). I have clients who use GoDaddy (trying hard, but not the best option) and InMotion (seems to be good) as well,” she said.

I hope this is helpful. Courtney and I are discussing doing a joint session for journalists moving to the Web. Let me know what you’d like to learn about at SallyDuros AT and we’ll see what we can do for you.


A conversation — Chicago Chamber of Commons


Here’s an intriguing idea I’d like you to join me in exploring.

The idea is to create a Chicago Chamber of the Commons.

The Chicago Chamber of the Commons recognizes, supports and highlights the green shoots of Chicago’s budding Generative Economy.

We see signs of it everywhere but we’ve not been using a framework to understand what we are seeing so we can better support it.

In her book, “Owning our Future,” Marjorie Kelly discusses the Generative Economy.

“It’s a corner of the economy (hopefully some day much more) that’s not designed for the extraction of maximum financial wealth. Its purpose is to create the conditions for life. It does this through its normal functioning, because of the way it’s designed, the way it’s owned.”

For me, the Generative Economy is fueled by compassion, enables material and happiness conditions for living a good life and honors our interdependence with the global environment.  Think sustainable generative systems. The focus is on the triple bottom line — the accounting framework that favors three parts: social, environmental (or ecological) and financial, or what’s known as the three Ps: people, planet and profit.

In her book, Thrivability, friend and colleague Jean Russell points to hopeful  green shoots for a new economic way forward – these include solutions-based media, hybrid social purpose organizations, impact investing, maker spaces, slow food and slow money, socially responsible investing , the go-local movement and collaborative housing models.

The concept of the Chamber of Commons emerges from the work of Michel Bauwens and his p2p Foundation. I was introduced to Bauwens and several hopeful peer-to-peer organizations at Cooperation2015, a convening at the Institute of Cultural Affairs in February.  You can learn more about that day.  Bauwen’s work on peer-to-peer networking says new structures and philosophies in many areas of human interaction have been inspired by the peer-to-peer networking enabled by the Internet. Think of Napster as an originator. Enabled in this way, we are now transitioning to a Social Knowledge Economy. He lays out the framework here.

In a nutshell here’s what ‘s emerging.

“The old way is this. Here’s a problem. We need resources to solve that problem. We create a hierarchy to direct resources at the problem,” Bauwens says.

“Here’s another way.  There are enough people in the world with time, skills and energy who would be willing to work to solve that problem.  The new solution is to create a commons and a platform that allows people to self aggregate and collaborate to solve that problem. “

Forming around these Commons is an entire economy created by new types of businesses engaged in market activities, but in an ethical way. These include fair trade organizations, solidarity organizations, B corps and social entrepreneurs, Bauwens said.

We are seeing the Commons approach everywhere.  Enabled by the Web and technology it is tumbling deeply entrenched hierarchies in all sectors worldwide. The Chamber of Commons and ideas forming around the Generative Economy pinged with me in part because they feel connected to the ideas I have been floating since 2009 for a crowdfunded newsroom.

You might also want to check out the Capital Institute, which takes a similar holistic approach and has laid out a framework it calls the Regenerative Economy.

To get this conversation started, I and co-host Terry Edlin, founder of New Communities Vision, whose passion is housing alternatives, are inviting all interested parties to join us May 12 for a conversation about establishing a Chicago Chamber of Commons at the Red Lion Lincoln Square. We’re holding our conversation there because the owner is deeply committed to community and thriving local businesses are a big part of the equation.

It’s part of the Chicago Community Trust’s 100th Anniversary 0n the Table 2015 event. The time is ripe to have this important conversation and we hope you’ll join us.

Here’s my reading shelf of affinity titles for this event and onward. Read along with me, won’t you?  Let’s learn together what a Chicago Chamber of Commons might look like.

Deep Economy by Bill McKibben

Natural Capitalism by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins

Owning our Future by Marjorie Kelly

PtoP and Human Evolution by Michel Bauwens

Slow Money by Woody Tasch

Staying Alive by Vanadan Shiva

The Mission Driven Venture by Marc Lane

Thrivability by Jean Russell

and for fun, I’ll add some great teachings from a wonderful Tibetan Buddhist teacher Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, The Joy of Living.

I and Terry Edlin are co-hosting an On the Table discussion inspired by Michel Bauwens’ Cooperation 2015 workshop on the peer2peer economy.  Our #OnTheTable Discussion topic is the Chamber of  Commons

At this conversation, we’re holding space to explore the creation of a Chicago Chamber of Commons and other ways to amplify the work of those in the peer2peer economy here in Chicago. We hope that you will join us. Using the #OntheTable2015 as a platform to discuss the Chamber of Commons melds the  ideas that community discussions spawn energy and interesting ideas.

We will submit notes of our discussion to the Chicago Community Trust for input into their programming for the year, the Chicago Community Trust’s 100th anniversary! Last year, some hosts were invited to speak at Chicago Ideas Week. Our goal in making this event part of On the Table is to heighten visibility AND to put the idea on the table with a general influential public. Who knows what could happen?

We are sending this invitation separately from CCT’s online interface and hope that signing up isn’t too complicated. If it seems so, please direct questions to either Sally ( or Terry (

An easy way to sign up, click as instructed: “We hope you will join us. Please click here to learn more about our event and please RSVP at your earliest convenience.”


Head on over to Meet Sally Duros  Sign Up from the drop down at the top. It will ask for your name and email address. Look for the event at the Red Lion Lincoln Square and mark that you will be attending.

CCT’s boilerplate is: That day and evening, thousands of Chicago-area residents – from Alsip to Zion – will pull up a chair at gatherings like ours to discuss the future of our communities while sharing a meal together. We will be one of thousands of locations across the Chicago region hosting similar events where community residents from all ages and backgrounds will come together to put real issues and solutions “on the table” and share their commitments to helping shape our collective future.

Date:                                     Tuesday, May 12

Time:                                     6 p.m.

Location:                              Red Lion Lincoln Square, 4749 N Rockwell, street parking

Location Details:               Free. Food is available for purchase but it is not required. Please don’t bring in food from the outside however.

Host email: or


We hope you will join us. Please click here to learn more about our event and please RSVP at your earliest convenience.

If you are unable to attend but want to be on the list of people to follow up with, please click here.


Sally Duros, Independent Journalist  | Terry Edlin, Healing the world, one household at a time

Your last f***able day— time to wax your beard!

In this clip from Inside Amy Schumer, Schumer comes upon Tina Fey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Patricia Arquette celebrating Julia’s “Last f***able day.” It’s meant to skewer Hollywood but yeah, it’s a  a mirror of our culture at large. Since it’s about all of us let’s toast and chug  the melted ice cream, ladies!

LOVE this.

For those engaged in the conversation about social change through culture change or political change here’s your answer. Do you want to listen to a bunch of males mutter about what they will think about doing for you if you put them in office or do you want to watch this and share with your friends and heighten awareness of the unspoken belief systems that  keep women down.

Art is a way forward!

Yes, we need political change and let’s work for that but also as important, perhaps more important let’s prime the culture for change with smart commentary like this.

Your digital brand — journalism ethics

acts of journalism

Committing acts of journalism—  What’s that?

The Web and digital technology have made it possible for anyone to commit an act of journalism.

Today, more people than ever are participating in journalism. People are breaking news on Twitter, covering their communities on Facebook, livestreaming, distributing news via email and writing in-depth blogs on issues of civic and community significance. Some of these people are what we’d consider “traditional” journalists working on new platforms, but many are not. — Josh Stearns, when working at The Free Press. Read the Free Press Report on defining press freedom in the digital age.

That’s why as an independent journalist it’s important that you hard-wire certain attributes into your brand from the beginning.

Among others, these include:

These attributes will become increasingly important if news outlets evolve into a platform for our talent as some of us are predicting.

Continue reading Your digital brand — journalism ethics

Prezi – Your digital brand as a journalist 101

screen one

Here’s a link to the Prezi.

Here’s the transcript.
Your digital brand as a journalist: Showcase your strengths, find your niche to stand out online authentically

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

That is really what a brand is about – how you make people feel. In real life and online, your brand is how people feel about you.

Steve Jobs hated the word “branding” but his brand as a creative perfectionist was iconic . The brand he created, Apple, continues to reflect his core attributes – smart, creative, genius .

To get started
Develop  one word or a phrase —  enthusiastic, passionate, energetic, confident — to express the best of who you are. Express that in all you do and say online and Continue reading Prezi – Your digital brand as a journalist 101