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.
“Q: How do JOURNALISTS know the stories they report are stories their COMMUNITY finds relevant?
A: They ask them. And they use HEARKEN to manage engagement”
Listening Post and Curious City.What do you wonder about Chicago, the region and its people? Pose your question to Curious City and we’ll track down answers together, with stories online, in a weekly podcast, and on WBEZ 91.5 FM. Follow what we do — and learn how you can help investigate — on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter and Tumblr.
What does it mean to be a member of a public radio station in the United States? What could it mean? How could expanding the definition of membership instill a sense of ownership and identity among listeners, allowing them to feel more connected and invested in public media’s content, work and mission? Follow Melody Kramer on GitHub.
Framed by WDET An audio-visual experience that integratesPHOTOGRAPHYandAUDIO STORYTELLING to tell the story of ETHNIC AND CULTURAL COMMUNITIES throughout metro Detroit.
ChiHackNight Chicago’s weekly event to build, share & learn about civic tech. “Open data without journalism is public relations.”— Barb Iverson
Blendl With Blendle, you read all articles from your favorite newspapers and magazines. Without subscribing. Coming soon to a locality near you.
New developments Here in Chicago, City Bureau, SmartChicago and Invisible Institute have developed the Task Force Tracker.
Using an excel sheet and Genius, a team of City Bureau Community Documenters an annotated, updated and independent hub for public use that will measure the ~200 individual recommendations against existing contracts, policies, potential conflicts and public discourse; such as the Fraternal Order of Police contract, local legislation and media reports.
The journalism maker is devoted primarily to original news although the outlet may provide commentary on content from other outlets. In addition, we are interested in Chicago focused-journalism reporting on a beat, a neighborhood or serving an audience in a media desert.
The content demonstrates a desire and an effort to practice accuracy, transparency and fair play.
The site demonstrates a desire and an effort to promote civic engagement or an ethic of participation.
The news is updated weekly – preferably three times per week – unless it is investigative, broadcast or beat. Investigative, broadcast and beat reporters and sites often distribute news and information less frequently, and through commercial partners.
Independent media who are non-commercial as well as commercial are developing a variety of revenue streams as they seek sustainability, including advertising, foundation funding, memberships, crowdfunding and events.
Are you an independent media outlet / journalism maker who reports on Chicago issues? If so, this message is for you.
The Chicago Community Trust is using its May 10 On the Table 2016 event to better get to know Chicago’s independent media outlets and start-ups. The intelligence gained from your OTT discussions will be a critical asset in June, when the Trust is planning a collaborative ecosystem design session for Chicago’s independent media.
Why? A new crop of media activists are stepping up. Acts of journalism are proliferating. Fresh approaches to journalism are taking hold. The goal is to reach as many independent media voices as possible on May 10 and collect some information through a special survey that will inform a special strategic session in June.
What happens on May 10? You invite some media friends to a meal, drinks or coffee to talk about what’s important to you. You and your guests — publishers, information gatherers, media friends and community members — are united in caring about the issues, policy, and action that activate Chicagoans, our neighborhoods and our leaders to make Chicago a better place.
The Trust will foot the bill with a $100 gift card (Supplies are limited to those who need it.) We’re looking for independent media outlets whose focus is civic, government and community life. Here’s our beginning criteria.
On May 11 …. You’ll be emailed a survey to share what you discussed and that will include several questions tailored to independent media. The Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement (IPCE) at University of Illinois is helping us develop the survey.
When you record your conversation and take the survey, you’ll share how you work with your audience and colleagues as well as which services you’d find most valuable and least valuable for your operations and sustainability. In addition, the Chicago Community Trust wants to hear your ideas for sustaining independent media.
The outcome The intelligence gained from your OTT discussions will be a critical asset in June, when the Trust is planning a collaborative ecosystem design session for Chicago’s independent media. Take good notes and share them in the survey!
How does it work? — Go to On The Table and sign up to host.
— Fill out the simple online form.
— Choose “Independent Media” as your partner organization.
— You’ve joined the custom network for Independent Media OTT 2016!
— Complete registration by inviting your guests via the email interface.
NOTE: If you are hosting a conversation about your outlet, you can still choose “Independent Media” as your partner.
Millions of voices spotlight the problems facing our world while collegial visionaries join forces to create systemic solutions to these problems. Our intention is that the Chicago Chamber of Commons will honor and support these stewards doing this essential work in our home town.
A group of us who met recently to discuss the idea of the proposed Chamber have agreed that it would be helpful to bring people together to understand exactly what the Commons Transition is, how that dynamic is underway here in Chicago and where a proposed Chamber of Commons might fit within that dynamic.
A report from our October 10, 2015 gathering at the Institute for Cultural Affairs shows a draft timeline of steps toward formation of a Chamber. Among the initial and ongoing steps is a map of the many Chicago organizations who are doing important and essential work around the Commons. The Chamber of Commons asks the question — What do these stewards need so their work can continue unabated and uninterrupted? The follow-up question is — How can a proposed Chamber of Commons help to meet those needs?
We anticipate that reading and discussing the Commons Transition Plan will help us understand the strategic need for a Chicago Chamber of Commons within the landscape of Chicago’s stewards’ needs.
It’s a time of year when we know that everybody is busy with their own family, work and play so we’d be honored if you’d join us. Once again, here’s the link to the free e-book for your reading convenience.
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 SDuros.com 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 in my WordPress site. I learned fairly quickly that I am not a Web designer and WP, SquareSpace and others take care of that shortage of talent.
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.info.
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 WordPress.org, 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 WebHostranking.com (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 gmail.com and we’ll see what we can do for you.