|Self portrait, atop Bear Peak, Boulder, CO, 2006|
Some of you may be wondering who’s behind this weblog. It’s me, Amy Gahran. Here’s a little bit about me.
I’m an info-provocateur and media consultant based in Oakland, California. (I just moved there in 2009 after spending 14 years in Boulder, Colorado.)
Yes, that title is deliberately vague because I do a whole lot of things. I’m a journalist, catalyst, editor, mentor, trainer, speaker, project manager, community manager, coach, and semi-geek. (I don’t code, but I can assemble and work with tech teams, and help evaluate technologies for digital media projects.)
Most of my work involves helping people (including journalists) and organizations (including news and publishing organizations) wrap their brains around digital media, which includes web, mobile, e-mail, and social media. I also do a lot of work involving community media (like OaklandLocal.com), citizen journalism, and the evolution of media and journalism.
Recent projects and clients:
- OaklandLocal.com: I’m a founding editor and regular contributor to this unique community news and information site for California’s East Bay Area.
- Knight Digital Media Center, USC: I’ve presented at several workshops for newsroom leaders, mentored KDMC fellows, written research reports, blogged,Â implemented social media solutions, and managed newsletters for this Knight Foundation-funded center to help journalists succeed in the rapidly changing media landscape of the 21st Century.
- The Poynter Institute: For several years I edited the group weblog E-Media Tidbits, to which I still contribute. I’ve also created e-learning modules for Poynter’s News University.
- Public Media Collaborative: I’m one of the key organizers and trainers for this all-volunteer “tiger team” that provides low-cost, hands on digital media training in the Bay Area for organizations and communities that often lack resources.
- Society of Environmental Journalists: I write regularly for the SEJ Tipsheet, manage some events at SEJ’s annual conference, and advise SEJ on technology and online media issues.
- Serena Software: I’ve written many kinds of articles and materials for this provider of cloud computing business process tools.
- Boulder Carbon Tax Tracker: A community journalism project funded by a Knight News Challenge grant. (An I, Reporter project)
- J-Lab: I helped create the database of citizen media sites on the Knight Citizen News Network. (An I, Reporter project)
- Contentious.com: I started this blog in 1998 (yeah, I had to hand-code it then) and have been covering digital-age media ever since.
Past employment and clients have included:
- E Source, managing editor, 1995-97. Several freelance editorial projects since then.
- Energy User News, managing editor
- Eastman Kodak: Launched and produced e-mail newsletter InFocus, three years
- Nortel Networks: Developed in-house web style guide
- Room 214: Video tutorials (screencasts) about online media tools and strategies
- National Governors Association: Several training workshops and one-on-one writing coaching
- Hudson Independent: Helped launch the online presence for a new community newspaper in Tarrytown, NY
- Online Guru: Strategic content consulting
- EEI Communications: Contributed chapter to the updated edition of E-What.
- Zondervan publishing: Created online style guide
- Blog and conversational media coaching, numerous clients.
Miscellaneous tidbits about Amy:
- Origins: Born and raised in southern NJ (Haddon Heights), outside of Philadelphia.
- Education: Attended Temple University. (BA, journalism, 1990).
- Journalism: Covered energy and environmental issues since 1991, mostly for business and niche media.
- Online: Got online in 1991 and haven’t stopped since.
- Relocation: Fled the east coast screaming in 1995 — couldn’t stand the humidity. Have lived in Boulder ever since.
- Semi-geek: I don’t code (beyond basic HTML), but I can quickly grasp the implications of new tools and the connections they can enable. I speak geek reasonably well, and often serve as a geek-layperson translator.
- Strengths: I’m a classic “connector,” in the Malcolm Gladwell sense. I’m also insatiably curious and very persistent.
- Avocations: Conversation, learning, amusement, adapatation.
- Current fascinations: Crappy cell phones as media tools, social media, finding a way to get rid of e-mail overload, cognitive science, brain research, community dynamics, linguistics, Vladimir Nabokov, how emotions affect communication and action, energy efficiency, confusing my cats.
- Transportation: Currently car-free by choice.
- Misc: I’m a Mac person. And a cat person. I find those two characteristics tend to go together suspiciously often.
- Favorite musicians: Michael Hedges, Spearhead, Ani DiFranco, Frank Zappa, Joni Mitchell, Bela Fleck, Kaki King, Jimi Hendrix, King Crimson, Matt Flinner, Jonathan Coulton, Peter Gabriel
- Favorite forms of exercise: Kickboxing, biking, hiking, weight lifting, yoga, balance exercises, mental calisthenics
- Not-so-guilty pleasures: Science fiction, malbec and tepranillo wines, highly caffeinated tea, running away to my cabin on the Continental Divide, Netflix, Cold War Russian black humor, playing with new online toys.
- Books: Yes, always. I’m a voracious reader. Especially on my Kindle. (I’ve grown to loathe paper)
- Currently working on: Acceptance, compassion, reducing daily stress.
- Backup career plan: Reclusive llama herder in South America (armed).