Branding on the Web 101 for Working Journalists

savingsChicago journalists, join me for a conversation about practical ways to move your journalism career online by building a personal brand and using the social Web. Continue reading

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The future of news is a rainbow

Here’s a link to a WTTW clip from March 2009. Yeah – it’s almost five years old. In it, I, Owen Youngman, the Knight chair at Medill, and Geoff Dougherty, then the founder of Chi-Town Daily News, discuss the future of news. Owen is still teaching at Medill and is busy doing what tenured professors do – teaching, researching and advancing knowledge in his area of expertise. It looks like Geoff is successfully pivoting  into the world of science. His linked in says, “I’m a social epidemiologist and PhD student in epidemiology at Johns Hopkins, with research interests in neighborhood-level determinants of cardiovascular disease, systems- and agent-based modeling and application of GIS to public health questions.”

I have continued to advance the cause of good journalism in all my work behind the scenes and upfront. I currently write for the Knight Digital Media Center. Much of my reporting on the Open Government movement is sharpened  by my direct experience in government. All of my reporting is deeply informed by my eclectic career as a journalist, entrepreneur, fundraiser and government activist – you can read my articles at  KDMC, the BlockbyBlock Community News Network and 435Digital.  Although I am specifically discussing the L3C Newsroom in this clip, I think its important to note that the basic principle behind the L3C was crowdfunding by a community that cares. We are considerably closer to that today — check out the Beacon platform I wrote about a few weeks ago. I am looking for my next pivot but in the meantime I might check out this session at the Newberry Library tomorrow.

Prof. Youngman and Pulitzer Prize winner Jack Fuller will present their view of the future of news. It is sure to be interesting and informative.

Please know, though, that these two will not be representative of the explosion in media that is happening. That is because today — WE— each of us has all the tools we need to create  The Media We Want.  We have an emerging diversity of news rooms taking shape. To learn more about that follow I and my colleagues on Twitter.


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Shop Local Chicago 2014

IMG_2815Shop Local Chicago is gaining steam so I am reposting special events here with an active link for Unwrap Chicago this holiday season in support. Here’s a post I wrote in 2011 about the Buy Local movement and not much has changed except we need our local businesses more than ever and I share local information every day through my @ChiNeighbors Twitter feed and Chicago Community Showcase Facebook page.  This holiday season if you’ll be shopping, make it local!

…and there’s lots going on around town to encourage everyone to shop small, shop local, shop where it matters!

The Southeast Chicago Commission is offering free South Side Shop Local coupon books to all who attend one of their kick off events on Small Business Saturday. These include: Daley’s Restaurant (809 E. 63rd St.) 8-9am; Harper Theater (5238 S. Harper Ave.) 10-11am; Red Apple Grocery Store (317 E. 51st St.) 11:30am-12:30pm; Faie Afrikan Art (1005 E. 43rdSt.) 1-2pm; Fort Smith (1007 E. 43rd St.) 1-2pm.  Details here

ShopSmall Bridgeport features a number of local businesses with specials, a photobooth, and more from 9 am – 7 pm; start your visit at Hardscrabble, 3333 S. Halsted.  Details here

The Wishcraft Workshop hosts a Makers Market featuring a number of local artists from 10 am – 4 pm for Small Business Saturday, at 3907 N. Damen. Details: here

The Chicago Urban League’s second annual Sip n’ Shop will host local retailers from the African American community on Small BusinessSaturday. The event is from 10am-6pm at 4510 S. Michigan Ave. For more information contact Gerardo Rodriguez at 773-624-8826.  Details here

Bronzeville and Hyde Park are featuring businesses on 43rd Street from11am-6pm on Nov. 29 starting at Fort Smith (1007 E. 43rd St.). For more information on which businesses are being featured, visit

Here’s what I reported on Shop Local in 2011. These shops are still open except for the House of Fine Chocolates. Let us know which businesses have replaced it.

The La Grange Business Association is rewarding shoppers with the chance to win local gift cards as part of the Unwrap La Grange campaign!  Find out more at

The Northalsted Business Alliance announces that the new NorthalstedGift Card goes on sale today. Join them from 11am – 2pm at Hydrate, 3458 N. Halsted, and earn a 20% BONUS! The Northalsted Gift Card is welcome at over 40 local businesses and growing!

The Mount Greenwood Community and Business Association is passing out free shop local bags to the first 75 shoppers they see in Mt. Greenwood! The bags are full of goodies from the local businesses.

The Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce is having a Small BusinessSaturday photo contest!  They challenge you to post your Small BusinessSaturday photos on their Facebook page. Be creative and if they like yours the best – they will send you a prize!

In Wicker Park, Free Range Office hosts a pop-up shop and business networking from 3-6 pm at 2141 W. North Ave. on the 2nd floor. Detailshere

Lincoln Square is celebrating Small Business Saturday with a makeover by interior designer Adam Zollinger, along Lincoln Avenue from Leland to Lawrence.  The tree lighting will take place at 5 pm in Giddings Plaza.

Downtown Evanston hosts its tree lighting in Fountain Square at 5:30 pm, with entertainment, dining, and shopping specials happening all day long. Details: here


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Your network is your life — Part 1

The way we appear to the world is an expression of our identity that some call our “personal brand.” Our brand is how the world experiences us. IMG_3136When we show up for a job interview it’s important that we present ourselves in a professional, appropriate manner. The same is true of our online identity. If we don’t show people who we are by what we say and do, they’ll make up a story about who we seem to be – that story could be way off from who you are.

The story of you

Both online and in real life, its important to express positive universal values while telling the true story of who you are. This is especially true online because your online presence will create a global  impression that can last for a very long time.

In my first session talking with soon-to-be  health care grads of Rush University here in Chicago, I discussed the concept of personal branding. A simple approach to this is to choose one word that expresses a trait that tells the world something important and positive about you. Because graduates in  health care  have very specific knowledge and use particular technologies, keywords in a resume or LinkedIn profile tend to be identifiable and universal. Although you want to make sure that you capture the correct keywords, an added way to stand out is to deeply understand your values and  choose a word that embodies what you admire and aspire to professionally.

This will take some reflection and self exploration. In your professional life, remember your word, whatever it is, be it “compassionate,” “efficient,” “friendly” or all three and adhere to its standards as best you can as you go through your every day life.

Our brand is how the world experiences us.

Just as Starbucks IS good coffee. You ARE what you ARE to people.  This has everything to do with the impression you leave people with. It is deeper than image. It emerges from your core. To understand the story of you, explore these “W’s.”

Who are you as you know you?  What happened to bring you to this work — it can involve professional and personal inspiration. Where are you from and how did that affect your choices? What do you most look forward to experiencing in your new work?

The answers you come up with are unique to you. Understanding that story  has nothing to do with being phony or deceitful and everything to do with knowing your strengths and working to them.

In recently considering my personal branding word, I asked a friend. She said “I see you as an Illuminator.” I liked that. So here’s my draft story of Sally as the Illuminator.

“I’m an illuminator. All of my life, my curiosity has taken me behind the scenes to learn and more deeply understand how things work. I am also drawn to understand solutions so that I can be part of making the world a better place. My findings often feel golden to me, so I am greatly motivated to share my happy discoveries with the world. I share through writings, photographs and multimedia. As important, I learn and share perspectives and insights through personal meetings.”

Once you’ve found your word or words, it’s time to combine that with your resume and create a  branded profile online and use it for building your career. The first step is to understand and build your network. For this, I favor LinkedIn. As your network of professionals, it is the hub in a wheel of your career search. In my next post, I’ll explore how to use Linked In.

Useful Links about online privacy
An article from Wired about LinkedIn’s recruiter program
How online social behavior can work against your career
Links from the Wall Street Journal on online privacy.
Nothing is private online, especially messaging apps.

Learn more about personal branding
Google “personal branding”
The brand called you by Tom Peters
Career Distinction
Build your own life brand by Stedman Graham
Promote Yourself by Dan Shawbel

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Social network privacy is selling point for NextDoor

NextDoor is the new kid on the social network block and I’m betting that they’ve intensely studied existing social networks to pick up what works and throw out what doesn’t so they can hit critical mass quickly and gather up the laggards who have been holding back from getting social on the Internet.

NextDoor hopes to do this by tapping into the power of “the neighborhood.”

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