Writing Workshop Notes: BlogHer 2008

Me, missing the morning sessions of BlogHer because I was posting all this stuff…

I’m at the BlogHer 2008 conference in San Francisco, where later today I’ll be giving a writing workshop. I’m a last-minute replacement for BlogHer cofounder Lisa Stone — talk about someone who’s tough to replace! But I’ll do my best.

Feel free to contact me with followup questions or discussion:

Here is my “online handout” for this workshop, with links to several resources I might mention. After the session I’ll update it with additional resources to cover whatever comes up. I also created a writing exercises wiki for this workshop.

So here’s the plan…

Continue reading

10 Ideas: What To Post to a Conference Blog

Check it out: The SEJ2007 unofficial conference blog.

I’ve been working hard lately to get the unofficial conference blog up and running for the 2007 conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists. This blog will be authored by a team of volunteer bloggers — SEJ members and others attending the conference.

Whenever I do one of these conference blogs, the volunteers always want guidance on what they should write about. In this case, I expect most of our contributing bloggers will come from print media. They know how to write, but they’ve probably never blogged before — and most of them also have little or no experience in creating any content specifically for online media.

Consequently, they aren’t familiar with conference blogs. That’s fine — many people aren’t, although that’s starting to change. I’ve worked on some conference blogging efforts, so I’ve pulled together a list of 10 kinds of posts that work well on conference blogs.

As with any conversational media effort, it helps to know your audience, as well as your community of contributors (both bloggers and commenters). What skills and expertise do they bring to the table? What do they want? Ultimately, that should be your guide.

Here’s my list…
Continue reading

Teaching Online Skills: Journalism Prof Wants Ideas

MSU prof Dave Poulson wants to lead his students into the murky waters of online media.

(NOTE: I’m cross-posting this from Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits, since I thought Contentious readers might find it interesting as well.)

Today I received an intriguing query from my colleague Dave Poulson, associate director of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University. With his permission, I’m excerpting and answering it here.

Poulson wrote: “…I’m going to take your concept of coming up with a toolkit of basic online stuff a reporter should know and turn it into some class assignments. I’ll have them pick a beat and set up Google Reader to [subscribe to] relevant feeds. I’m not sure how I’ll evaluate the result.”

That’s a great idea, Dave! Make sure they practice subscribing to search feeds (about topics), as well as feeds from specific sources (like blogs). And here’s a short video tutorial on Google Reader I made for one of my clients. The first half of it is the bare basics, most applicable to what your students would be doing.

To evaluate this assignment, you could have student export their feed list as an OPML file and send it to you. In Google Reader, that’s under “manage subscriptions,” then “import/export” (choose the “export” option there.) You can then import that OPML file into your Google Reader (or many other feed readers) to see what they’ve subscribed to.

Poulson continues…

Continue reading

Culture break: Why I adore Vladimir Nabokov

Author Vladimir Nabokov

From “A Guide to Berlin,” part 5, “The Pub.” I just read it last night in The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov:

“There, under the mirror, the child still sits alone. But he is now looking our way. From there he can see the inside of the tavern — the green island of the billiard table, the ivory ball he is forbidden to touch, the metallic gloss of the bar, a pair of fat truckers at one table and the two of us at another. He has long since grown used to this scene and is not dismayed by its proximity. Yet there is one thing I know. Whatever happens to him in life, he will always remember the picture he saw every day of his childhood from the little room where he was fed his soup. He will remember the billiard table and the coatless evening visitor who used to draw back his sharp white elbow and hit the ball with his cue, and the blue-gray cigar smoke, and the din of voices, and my empty right sleeve and scarred face, and his father behind the bar, filling a mug for me from the tap.

“‘I can’t understand what you see down there,'” says my friend, turning back toward me.

“What indeed! How can I demonstrate to him that I have glimpsed somebody’s future recollection?”