Social Media for News Sites: J-Lab learning module, live chat

Recently I helped co-author a new learning module from the Knight Citizen News Network: Likes & Tweets: Leveraging Social Media for News Sites. It’s a pretty detailed resource, intended primarily for online local news startups — but the lessons there could be applied by local news orgs in legacy media, as well as anyone trying to connect with a community online.

I only played a small role in this project — the vast majority of the work was done by Susan Mernit and Kwan Booth – my Oakland Local cofounders and partners in the House of Local media consulting group.

Yesterday, Susan, Kwan & I participated in a one-hour live chat hosted by J-Lab about this learning module. You can replay the complete transcript. We got really great interaction on this. J-Lab told us that this live chat attracted far more readers and participants than its other live chats. It was fun, and I’m glad it was a success!

Free Kindles, local mobile news, and pissed off fanboys: My recent CNN.com Tech mobile stories

It’s been a very busy month and a half for me. I spent a week in Los Angeles as a featured presenter for the Mobile News Week at the journalism school there, and now I’m finishing preparations to travel to two other journalism schools next week for the Knight Digital Media Center’s Mobile Symposium. So I haven’t been letting Contentious.com readers know what I’ve been writing elsewhere.

But I’ve been logging a lot of cool mobile stuff for CNN.com Tech. So here’s a quick list of what I’ve been covering there…

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Local, mobile, paywalls, Google, more: My latest KDMC news for digital journalists posts

Over the last month I’ve fallen behind on noting here what I’ve been writing at the News for Digital Journalists blog on the web site of the Knight Digital Media Center. Here’s a quick roundup of what I’ve covered there since late February…

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The business side of my new neighborhood

A few months ago I moved into the edge of Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood, near the Piemont and Pill Hill districts. It’s a really interesting part of town — but I’ve been puzzled why the nearby stretch of 40th St. has seemed kinda semi-vacant and lackluster.

Over on OaklandLocal, I just published a story where I interviewed the entrepreneurial co-owners of a new restaurant opening just around the corner from me.

See: Homeroom opens next week: Could mac & cheese revitalize 40th St.?

That interview shed some interesting light on the local situation for small businesses, and which opportunities might lie almost literally in my backyard. I’ll have to watch this more closely.

And in the meantime, mac & cheese… nomnomnom…

Great Oakland hangout: CommonWealth Cafe

Shepherd's pie with lamb and arugula, Strongbow cider, and HP sauce. All on offer at a great pub near my place. Nomnomnom!

One thing I really love about Oakland, CA is that there are so many good places to hang out here. One of my favorites is CommonWealth Cafe, at 2882 Telegraph. I just wrote up a review of this pub/eatery on Oakland Local:

CommonWealth Cafe and Pub: Chill out, UK-style

The main reasons why I like CommonWealth:

  • They serve Strongbow Cider (my favorite!) on tap
  • Simple, hearty, inexpensive food
  • Dependable, free wifi and enough outlets for digital nomads
  • Friendly staff and clientele
  • Conversation-friendly noise level
  • Ample bike parking
  • It’s a short bike ride from my home.

Regional news startup MinnPost turns first-ever profit

Over at the Knight Digital Media Center at USC site today, I wrote about how MinnPost reports first surplus, diverse revenue sources are key.

I thought it was especially interesting to read into their annual report. It’s a good example of how news startups, especially those with a geographic focus, need to explore several possible revenue streams. The good thing about the nonprofit model is, I think, it gives you more options to take in revenue.

Good job, MinnPost!

One streaker gets plea bargain. Boulder cops defend their bullying

After I attended the Dec. 17 arraignment hearing for the 12 streakers cited by Boulder cops during the 10th annual Naked Pumpkin Run, I had a pretty busy week and didn’t have time to follow up further. Fortunately, The Colorado Daily did follow up on this case, reporting that one of the runners did accept the plea bargain offered by the Boulder District Attorney.

According to the Colorado Daily:

“[The runner] agreed Thursday to plead guilty to disorderly conduct, a petty offense. She agreed to undergo six months of unsupervised probation, eight hours of community service and pay $27 in court fees. She will not be required to register as a sex offender, and her record will be cleared if she doesn’t commit any crimes for at least six months.”

Also, Colorado Daily reported that according to prosecutor David Chavel:

“The agreement with [this defendant] would likely represent the same offer extended to all of the accused Halloween streakers. However, he said it would be ‘up to each individual’ to accept such an offer.”

“All of the cases are being handled separately, Chavel said, because some of the runners have attorneys and others do not. He said the remaining cases involving the naked runners are in negotiations with the Boulder District Attorney’s Office.”

What got me, though, was this statement from the Boulder Police Department quoted at the end of the Colorado Daily story. (Note: This statement does not appear to be on the Boulder Police Dept. web site, I’ll request a copy.)

“The decision was made by the District Attorney’s Office, which consulted with the department. Chief Mark Beckner believes this is an appropriate disposition. As for future violations, Boulder officers will continue to issue citations or make arrests based on the law as it is written. It is — and will remain — the province of the District Attorney’s Office to determine whether other charges are possible.”

…Correct me if I’m wrong, but this statement appears to mean that the Boulder cops intend to continue issuing indecent exposure citations to streakers — despite the fact that the DA’s office does not appear to consider that charge appropriate. Which means the cops can (and probably will) continue to bully and intimidate citizens through inappropriate charges — and leave it up to the DA and the courts to spend our resources to bring those charges back to reality.

There’s a much deeper issue at stake here beyond these cases, and it’s why I keep revisiting this story: Is this the kind of law enforcement we want to allow in Boulder?

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