Mea culpa: I can’t be an off-duty journalist

Is a journalist ever off-duty? I tend to think not — and yesterday I feel like I neglected my duty. It’s bugging me.

It was Memorial Day, I decided to go for a long bike ride to see the beach at Alameda. I needed the exercise, and the weather was perfect. I was enjoying myself greatly — but as I was biking back along Crown Beach in Alameda, I saw police, firefighters, and onlookers gathered. I asked what was happening, and they told me that a man was stranded offshore. A firefighter pointed out into the water, and I could see a head bobbing above the waves, about 150 feet out.

“It’s shallow out there, he’s standing,” said the firefighter. And indeed, the man didn’t seem to be struggling. But he wasn’t waving or shouting for help, either.

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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…

Covering police accountability at Oakland Local

Over at Oakland Local (a community news and views site I cofounded), I’m working with reporter Eric K. Arnold to cover police accountability — an important and touch topic in this town.

We’re approaching this from the perspective of empowering Oaklanders to be able to wield influence on how police operate in their neighborhoods. There’s been a lot of friction and violence, and community members have often felt powerless on this front.

So here’s what I’ve written so far on this topic:

Also, today Eric Arnold published an excellent overview of what Oakland’s Citizens Police Review Board is and how it works:

Much more to come on this front. Stay tuned!

Who is Amy Gahran?

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.

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