Entries from April 2011 ↓

#RoyalWeddingGirl

I love Storify. I’ve used it for lectures, capturing class discussions and collecting news. I thought I’d have fun with it as the Royal Wedding Girl meme spread after the big wedding in London. A little flower girl did not like the crowd noise… and her picture is just wonderful. Many fun people played with the picture. I’ve had a number of people ask me to write up a tutorial about Storify – I will work on that soon!

A proud day

I work on a lot of projects. And I never give myself enough time to tell people about it. I realize I should pay better attention to my friend Jeremy Littau. He’s SO DARN GOOD at making sure we see his hard, smart work. Dang it. He’s good. I’m constantly impressed.

So yesterday was a great day for me professionally. I won a regional Murrow award from the Radio Television Digital News Association for a website I built. It was part of a project one of my student, Alex Rozier, did with YouTube and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. Alex teamed up with KOMU’s Sarah Hill and our photographer Scott Schaefer to tell the story of the PET Project. The organization distributes body-powered mobile devices to help people who are immobile in third world countries. Alex, Sarah and Scott traveled to Guatemala to witness the challenge of immobility first hand. They met people who struggle every day and the people who are part of the solution. It was beautiful. The stories they told are heartbreaking.

As Alex and Sarah worked on their storytelling, I jumped in to help build a website for all of the stories under the name The Culture that Crawls. The idea was to post additional stories of the struggle and solution while posting the on air stories. I put together the structure and basically fulfilled the vision of Alex and Sarah. I used WordPress and the Thesis template. Scott had taken some really nice still images and I was able to mix those up with the YouTube videos. I’m super proud of their hard work.

I helped in a smaller way in the production of The Culture that Crawls documentary that aired on KOMU 8. Sarah and I worked together to find a way to gather live interaction with our audience members and share what they had to say. It was a really neat addition to a touching collection of stories in Guatemala. Congrats to my co-workers and to other friends who won awards yesterday. All of the regional awards move into the national level. I think it’s especially fascinating to have won in the website category since my site is not your standard news site – it documents a news topic and it beat out a region of traditional news sites. It will be interesting to hear what the judges on the national level have to say about our project!

Following my passion

I recently attended the BlogHer bet conference in Silicon Valley, California. The reasoning for me was to get a better base knowledge of entrepreneurialism while I try to see if there additional ways to use my skills and knowledge in this world. I do a lot at the Missouri School of Journalism and KOMU 8, and it was really cool to have a chance to talk about my passion.

Passion is such an overused word. But it was said everywhere I went during my time attending the conference. When I checked into the hotel, the woman who was getting me the room key asked me what I blogged about. I gave her the list of different blogs I run when she interrupted me:
“What’s your passion.”

I was quick to answer. It’s my website, Born Just Right, where I focus on advocating for my daughter and other children born with special needs. My daughter was born with a left arm that stopped right before the elbow. I’ve written about that experience from the very beginning. It’s an experience that’s helped me grow into an advocate for families of children born with limb differences and other conditions. I don’t know it all but I think I’m lucky to be able to find great stories, get to know wonderful people and I’ve learned that connecting with a community of families who understand is an incredible experience.

I’ve started writing a book about what I’ve learned for the last five years as Jordan’s mom, I created an LLC for my site Born Just Right and I’m working with a few people to come up with a logo. I’m passionate and I’m going to see what it takes to make it move forward.

It’s taken a crowd of friends encouraging me for the last year, but my time at SXSW and the BlogHer event has convinced me this is something I want to follow. I created an LLC, I’m working on a business plan and I’m encouraging my readers to contribute content to the site to help extend the stories and perspective. My mission: To help families understand everyone is born just right. In the end, it would be wonderful to help lead a campaign to change the public’s view of what is considered normal.

It’s exciting since this is something I’m working on outside of my regular day-to-day jobs at the Missouri School of Journalism and KOMU.com. But I think it’s worth it.

Since I’m following my passion, I started looking at other sites that are trying to do good. I am fascinated by LoveDrop. It’s a for-profit site that drops money and assistance to a person, family or organization each month. I’m a member and give $5 a month towards good causes. I’ve been impressed with the positive flow of assistance that’s come out of the site.

I also discovered Start Some Good. It’s a site where you can pitch your visions to do good in the world and possibly find community funders who support your cause. I’m certainly planning to put Born Just Right into the site and see what the community thinks.

I’d love your thoughts and ideas on initiatives that are doing good – be it in the world of journalism or any other genre. I’m certain that helping spread positive in the world is a wonderful goal. I feel very lucky to have the energy and opportunity to give this a try!