Dec. 3 : What is this Commons Transition anyway?

Are you a Steward of the Chicago Commons? Are you uncertain what that means? Do  you want to  learn more so you know whether you are?

Join us for a discussion of a Chicago Chamber of Commons and understand more about the Commons transition at Sulzer Library Dec. 3, 2015. We’ll be reading and discussing the Commons Transition: Policy Proposals for an Open Knowledge Societya free downloadable e-book, featuring  three newly updated Commons Transition plans by Michel Bauwens, John Restakis and George Dafermos. For a short introduction read notes from Bauwens talk at Cooperation 2015,   my blog post on the Chicago Community Trust On the Table event and notes from the Oct. 10 event.

Dec. 3, 2015
7:00pm  to 8:30pm
Sulzer regional Library

4455 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago IL 60625
(312) 744-7616

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.

Please register here so that we know who’s coming.

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.


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 Commons.

The Chicago Chamber of 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.

Continue reading Chicago Chamber of Commons

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