Entries Tagged 'Ideas' ↓

The kitchen table talk

Have you had “the talk” with your family?

No, not that one.

I’m talking about the talk about how you handle the social web with your family. Have you ever taken time to talk about what is appropriate sharing and posting as a family? I consider this the new important family talk. To me, I envision it happening around the kitchen table.

February 11, 2014 was Safer Internet Day and I truly believe the core of safety online starts with your family. An open discussion about what is shared across the generations will help prevent anger, disappointment and confusion. It can also help set up expectations about how each person hands activity only.

If you have a chance, I’d recommend these topics:

• Sharing, tagging and mentioning family members online: One person’s comfort zone of sharing may be totally different from another person’s comfort zone. You should bring the teenagers, parents and grandparents into the same room and talk about what is right for everyone.

• If you think someone you know is sharing inappropriate links by email or on social media, that person’s accounts may be hacked. Let your friend or family member know your concerns. If that person takes the time to change his or her password, that might be just enough to keep that infected link from going to another person.

• Take the time to search yourself and your kids on search engines and social media. It’s good to see what information comes up about you and your loved ones.

• The best and most important tip of all is to always remember the way you conduct yourself online should be exactly how you would conduct yourself in public. Make sure you share that belief with the rest of your family and make sure you can be an example for others. We are all able to help teach friends and family better ways to use the social Internet.

During Safer Internet Day, I joined in on a pretty fast-paced Twitter chat about the state of Internet safety. I created a Twitter list full of resources and people who really care about Internet safety. Check out some of the pretty helpful information from the chat and a good number of excellent resources on Internet safety.

The chat included many other people who are trying to bring more digital literacy in to the social web. I’m excited to continue working hard and training so many people to communicate with customers better.


A huge change

My career has been an amazing experience… Having the ability to start out as a newscast producer and evolve into a social media expert is one of a kind. The transition from traditional to non-traditional was huge.

Well, it’s time to announce another huge change.

In two weeks, I’m stepping down as KOMU’s interactive director and will become AARP’s manager of social communications and strategy. It’s a chance to train social media skills on the national and regional level and remain in Columbia, MO. I’ll have a chance to build curriculum online through documentation, webinars and who knows what I’ll be able to come up with!

My nine and a half years at Mizzou and KOMU was amazing. It feels strange to step away. But this new opportunity is so exciting. I can’t wait to see the potential.

To my students, you still have me as an ear and eye. I will never break my promise to be there for you. Please know I did not take this job because I don’t like teaching you. I LOVE teaching you. Helping you grow as journalists has been an incredible gift. I took this job because my family deserves and needed me in a job that helped push me even further and help fund our needs. You have me forever even if I’m working at the AARP.

Thank you the many people who have supported me as I’ve grown in my career. It’s been a remarkable ride an I can’t wait to see what’s next.

A shift in broadcast news delivery

With Google+ celebrating its public launch a year ago and KOMU 8 celebrating a year of experimenting in the social network, I thought it would be worthwhile to share some of the ways I see a tremendous shift in the way broadcast news is headed in the near future. G+ Hangouts changed the way our newscasts can interact and share but once Google opened up the tool for anyone to broadcast live on YouTube, it allowed anyone to become his or her own broadcaster. Since more and more people have high speed internet at home, more and more of those users are dumping cable and using streaming tools. My kids now use a Roku more than our DirecTV DVR. Netflix is now considered “the biggest cable network.”

So what is regional news doing with this information?

Not a lot.

That’s why I feel so lucky to work with Sarah Hill. She held a “G10 Summit” on Hangout broadcasting today. You can watch it on her YouTube channel. Broadcasting live from a hangout can be as easy as validating your Google Plus profile. Once you have a G+ Hangout Live account, you can start recording conversations, shows… Anything you can think of and include others from other webcams. This isn’t just something a professional can run. Anyone can do it. One of our mid-Missouri news viewers, Chad LaFarge, started a channel and holds hangouts called “Fix My Electronics.” Sarah recently wrote her top ten ways reporters can use hangouts for news coverage.

As Huffington Post moves into a streaming network, YouTube adds more original content channels and tools like Roku make it easier to take streaming networks directly to a television… Regional newsrooms need to experiment. National newsrooms need to experiment. (And some are joining streaming networks.) News content is not just the written word. Video content for the web can’t just be carbon copy from television. Somehow we need to find ways to reach out to the on-demand customer in a timely manner… Something sites like news video site, Newsy struggles with from time to time.

I hope we’ll continue to use the KOMU newsroom as a space to try new while keeping up with the traditional demands of broadcast. (And that’s an exhausting process at times!) A growing number of larger markets are trying new attempts at using Hangouts. But there’s more to be done in the on-demand stream. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep track of the new ideas and put more into action in my newsroom.

Now that you’re using Instagram

The combination of new Android users and Instagram’s $1 billion purchase by Facebook means swarms of people are signing up for the community. I figured I would share some of my tips since I have really enjoyed the community there. First, I HIGHLY recommend reading Anthony Quintano’s tips on succeeding inside Instagram. It’s a fabulous list of tips. Also, Poynter posted a good list of examples of how journalists are using Instagram (which include’s Anthony’s work). I also like how Brian Stelter explained his use of Instagram after the tornado in Joplin last year.

One of my favorite elements of Instagram is community. I’ve followed many people I know through Twitter and Facebook. But I’ve also found people just based on looking at who is liking my friends’ posts and different hashtags based on topics and regions. I’ve tried to create an Instagram community hashtag in my area (Often termed “igers.”)… but nothing has caught on just yet. My favorite igers are in Chicago. Check them out with the hashtag #igerschicago on Instagram or @igerschicago on Twitter or Tumblr or Facebook. It’s a community that started as a hashtag on Instagram and has grown beyond the app. It’s pretty cool. (And the photos are awesome.)

Give it a try! You never know what kind of community you may discover or create!

Broadcaster versus Engager

A friend of mine in the social journalism world mentioned in a blog post how he isn’t an engager… because it isn’t possible. He’s a broadcaster inside social media. And that made me think. Social media has grown because it’s all about sharing and talking and learning. Why can’t media brands be a part of that and not just broadcast information? It’s a challenge I’ve focused on for years in my career as a journalist and teacher. That dual job gives me so many different perspectives. When I think about what I want to teach and what I want to accomplish in the newsroom, most of the time my goals match. I want to use my work in the newsroom as an example to my students. That motivation leads me to spend a lot of time thinking about what is the right balance between being a broadcaster and an engager.

Here’s what I am seeing: Broadcast journalism-focused students really understand how to broadcast content across multimedia platforms. But I think we need to teach the concept of engagement and listening earlier in the journalism school experience. I have a lot to do to try and encourage, teach and execute a comfortable engagement process for my young journalists to reach our news consumers. To me, engagement is why I got into this journalism business. The idea of connecting to the consumer and helping them better understand where they live and the decisions they make in life is thrilling. Technology makes that goal SO much more real than when I dreamed of it in the early 90’s. Broadcasting content inside social media is just the beginning. There are so many more ways to listen and learn after a newsroom shares information. One of my favorite ways to listen on social sites these days is a site called Kurrently. I stumbled onto a few additional facts beyond a new item our newsroom covered this past week.

In the KOMU 8 newsroom, we had a really difficult coverage of a three year old who died allegedly at the hands of his mom’s boyfriend. According to investigators, initially the boyfriend and mom staged a hit and run accident to try and hide the abuse. The details from the boy’s death was released and it’s all really heartbreaking. The small town where the boy lived had a small candlelight ceremony with a low turnout a day after his death. Comments on the KOMU.com site had a couple of people mention how they did not know about the vigil but they plan to attend an event next week. I hadn’t heard about the vigil until I read through the comments. That tipped me off to do some more searching. I used Kurrently and searched using the boy’s name. Almost immediately, I discovered a photography studio that has been taking yearly pictures of the little boy since he was a baby. The studio put out an album of photos in his honor on Facebook. More heartbreak. An hour or two later, mentions of the vigil started appearing in public Facebook posts. One person posted details, names of organizers and a phone number to one of the organizers. Our newsroom did a story on the event it over the weekend and we’ll be at the vigil later this week.

Instead of considering the job done after our newsroom broadcasted the details, I listened. I searched. I know our market wants to continue to learn more about this situation. According to our chartbeat statistics, it remains a top search item on our site. Simple mentions can go a long way by searching, listening and using tools that help.

The next step is taking the knowledge gained from social media and improve our engagement with our news market. There are ways to do that, no matter what size newsroom you’re juggling. We all are able to broadcast across more platforms and listen in new ways… What about using those skills to follow through with the true purpose of social media and engage? KOMU 8’s U_News show is one way we’re trying to merge traditional broadcasting with engagement. Our audience has a chance to jump into a web cam chat during our 30 minute newscast. We try to use our traditional broadcasting skills to offer our news market the chance to engage with other viewers or to let the truth come out on important issues. We can’t just broadcast our requests for engagement. We have to do the follow through. (By the way, one of my favorite people who talks about engagement is Joy Mayer. I highly recommend reading her insights!)


Coming back

The last six months have been pretty crazy. Our newsroom launched a social media-based newscast and it was met with a lot of interest from around the world. It’s called U_News with Sarah Hill. The experience has been pretty remarkable… especially with Sarah’s deep jump into the social media world. Her ability to interact and make rich contacts through these spaces have been impressive. The biggest challenge for us is continuing to grow and encourage our market to participate.

U_News is proof that taking the web to broadcast is challenging when you are still following the traditional sales model of a newscast. I’m hoping the show will live on long enough for us to experiment not only with different ways to deliver news but to find different ways to help traditional broadcasters take the power of social and remain profitable.

For now, the show is a 30 minute program at 11am. We’re adding “passwords” during the show to encourage viewers to drop the word on an assigned type of social media to win tickets or something cool. People sit in a Google+ hangout to discuss topics that matter to the local market and sometimes important topics from around the world. The show includes viral video, fun photos and serious news from the day. Hopefully we’ll also continue to grow and change just like a social program can… organically.

I’m headed into a new semester with new students and new ideas. It will be interesting to see what kind of ideas they find for the show and for the industry.

In the last six months, I’ve had a chance to speak at a number of really fascinating events, speak personally with incredibly smart people and participated in communities and experiences that are mind blowing. I will do the best I can to try to document these experiences more on this site. I’m also blogging at Born Just Right, my #jenclass blog (along with its new #jenclass tumblr), weekly at Support for Special Needs.

5 Reasons Why Journalists Should Play with Google+

I truly believe journalists need to be open to new opportunity to connect with communities and learn how to share. Any time a legitimate organization launches a new way to communicate, I’m going to jump. I’m curious. I’m hungry to connect. I want to learn its potential.

That’s what I’ve done inside Google+. It is a fresh start and I think Google has taken the lessons learned from communities built in Twitter and Facebook. Facebook offers privacy while Twitter allows openness. Both established social networks created ways to build lists and groups to help organize your contacts after the social networks were built. Google+ allows you to establish circles from the start. I have built a personal profile and a non-official professional profile for KOMU8. Inside each space I’ve learned what may work for journalists inside this new and evolving space. I have 5 reasons why you should give it a try.

1. Get in on a social media space from the beginning.
Very few newsrooms quickly jumped into Twitter or Facebook. Many are playing catch up. This is an opportunity for journalists to be there at the beginning. I created a KOMU News account inside Google+ because newsrooms are good at sharing. We vet information, we share and people trust us. Why not become a leader inside a new space?

2. Reach out and find your audience.
The Google+ search is improving by the day. As a person, I’ve created circles of professionals and friends who I want to follow. For the newsroom profile, I’ve created regional profiles where I have circled people who live in different towns, counties and work in different organizations. I’m still trying to see what works best, but when someone comments on a newsroom post, I almost immediately know where that person is from because I can hover my arrow over their name and see what circle they’re in. Take the time to search for major businesses, topics and locations that may show additional people from your area who could be added into a circle. As additional people follow the KOMU8 brand, I look at their profiles and add them into regional circles. If a circle for their area doesn’t exist, I create one. I haven’t decided if regional or employment (or both) circles work best, but it’s worth creating regional Google+ scanners and see if it works when there are more people inside this space!

3. Play with hangouts.
We’ve gone live in two broadcasts (and another in less than an hour) so far with a Google Hangout discussion. It’s simple to find people we trust to attend these hangouts and it’s so cool to have found the technical ability to not only feed our computer into our broadcast control room, but also because you can hear it. We haven’t figured that technical challenge out before. I love how new technology pushes us to try new things. Our broadcast hangouts created quite a buzz. So much, I ended up on a local talk radio show talking about the uses of Google+. We’re having fun and expanding the conversation way beyond this new social network. You can read about our Hangouts here and I wrote an earlier post about it here.

4. Encourage followers to circle others from your organization.
Since we are all in this social media world together, once you have additional folks contributing content into Google+, make sure your followers know about it. I’m regularly updating a list of KOMU8 News folks and making sure each person’s profile is links for easy circling. What’s really great is I can just edit the original post and add the latest names. Then I reshare the post to let our followers know I updated it. I don’t have to recreate this post multiple times. (Think of all of those topics you’ve tried to promote again and again on Facebook. You wouldn’t have to rewrite and rewrite, you can just share and share and share.)

In an ideal Google+ world, I would ask our followers to tell us what circles they’d like to be in. I’d love to offer our audience the chance to get extra information if they really like weather or sports or specific news topics like courts, development or politics. These opt-in circles could get live blogs and extra video and images that the average news consumer may not want but our newsroom could deliver it on demand to the appropriate circles. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say we’re tweeting too much information about a specific topic or someone on our Facebook wall says they have heard enough. We could tone down those complaints and actually play more content to those who want it.

5. Experiment and ask people what they’d like to do with Google+.
We’re all in this together. Be open and share what you’re learning and ask what others are learning. Share your ideas and include your audience in the learning. My profile is very open and explains what I do at KOMU8 and the Missouri School of Journalism. I also made sure the KOMU8 profile mentioned I’m the wizard behind the smoke and mirrors. The most interesting input I’ve had so far are from people in my market AND others who are just really interested in what KOMU8 is doing online. I’m getting great input and ideas from far and wide.

I don’t own an Android, but I’ve been told Huddles could have great implications as well for journalists. Maybe an Android journalist could let me know what he or she thinks.

If this is the first post you’ve read from me, feel free to check out my first impression post about G+ and you might be interested in this Google Doc where Google fans put together a guidebook with more than a hundred people adding content to it. I think that’s pretty cool.

Gaga over Google+

I’m hooked. I realize I’m a social networking addict (as someone mentioned to me earlier today) but I’m really enjoying my experience on the new Google Plus.

My invite came through less than 24 hours after the network’s release and I immediately jumped in to share invites with others and figure the space out. The first thing you’ll see when you sign up is the profile in Google+ is the same profile that exists with Google Profiles. I thought that was pretty handy since I had already built mine up a while ago. I was also able to add a link of photos that are my “scrapbook” to personalize things up a bit more.

If you don’t have a Google+ account, you can get ready by adding information to your Google Profiles page (which is available for anyone with a Google account). I’ve found most people who have created a Google Profile are able to easily get into Google+ when a user shares anything to their gmail address. The trick is having that Google Profile ahead of time.

When you arrive inside this new network, I recommend creating circles. This is different from the Facebook lists for a number of reasons. First, when you publish, you pick who listens. Facebook allows you to block certain lists from seeing a post, but you have to pick people individually by name if you want to post something specific. (It’s a four step process.) Second, you can think about Google+ like Twitter. People choose to read your posts and you can choose to add them back into your circles or not. If people don’t like what you post, they can stop following you in a circle. If you don’t like them following you, make sure you only post items specifically to your personal circles and not to the public. I currently have 23. Here’s a look at my growing Google circle (which looks pretty when you roll your mouse over it because it shows the images of the people inside):

Along with Circles, another great G+ (that’s the short, lazy way to say Google+) feature is Google Hangouts. When a person you are following in a circle launches a hangout, you see a notice of it on your stream. If you have a webcam and a microphone, you can jump in. As many as 9 people can be in the hangout at the same time. My first hangout was with Google’s Chief Architect of Social Yonatan Zunger. I had noticed him posting really interesting tips early into the release of G+ and I liked reading his updates. I started a Google circle thanks to him. Many Google employees are openly sharing the developments of the social network and I’m fascinated by the openness of the launch. (Which is COMPLETELY opposite with how Facebook rolls out changes.) I jumped into a public Hangout he had launched and heard many Google fans ask questions and talk about what’s ahead for the project. After that, I launched a few public hangouts. It’s fun when people can get their webcams to work. If you’ve never experienced a Cisco Telepresence Center, a Hangout is a poor man’s version of it. When someone in the Hangout speaks, the video window switches to him or her. It continues to do that until you click on an individual person’s image.

You can choose to have a chat box open on the side (which was handy in the Hangout you can see above here because one person couldn’t get his webcam to work). You can also choose to look through and watch YouTube video with your Hangout. When you hop into YouTube mode, the other members have to choose to join in to watch. When you start playing the video, your audio is automatically muted. You have to press a button to talk over it. I love that! One other pro tip: You can use Google Translate to translate chat and live conversations during a Hangout.
My other tip: Encourage people in your Hangout to share their favorite YouTube video. (Mine is Thumbs up for Rock and Roll)

Not long after I dug into G+ , I started to look for ways this can be used in a news. I’ll write up another post about that soon. In the meantime, feel free to visit the page if you’re a G+ member: gplus.to/komunews

Some additional tips for Google+ users:
*If you’re following someone who posts a lot and there’s a lot of comments that keep pushing the item back to the top of the page, you can click on the little drop down menu (it’s a little triangle to the right of a post) and chose to mute it. You don’t have to remove that person from a circle, you can just quiet him (or her, even though I haven’t found a “loud” G+ female user).

*If you’ve ever enjoyed Twitter, Google+ is a similar experience. Think of this as a space where you can say more than 140 characters and interact with people you may have never considered interacting with before. (Back in the day, Twitter let me talk to amazing people because they weren’t getting bombarded like they do now that Twitter is so big.)

*The intro page when you first sign up on G+ is worth the read to see how to get things started. The first thing I did was create circles and that got my stream moving.

*I was so excited when I first jumped into G+, I didn’t consider the number of alerts I’d get in my Gmail. I think I had collected 100 before I noticed. Don’t do what I did. Change your settings early on: https://plus.google.com/settings/plus

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!

Checking in to locations… media… and ideas

Check in services first came to my attention when I attended the SXSW Interactive festival in 2009. Foursquare announced a cellphone-based tool that let you “check-in” to your location and let people know where you visited. The more you visited, the more credibility you would gain inside the game. If you check in enough to one spot, you become the Mayor. If you check in enough times based on Foursquare-prescribed settings, you earn “badges.” I have collected 44 so far since I first officially checked into Foursquare in October 2009. (I didn’t join during SXSW because it didn’t allow check ins in my town… In October of that year I started to pretend Chicago was Columbia because I just wanted to play with the technology. Foursquare opened up to all locations in January 2010.)

I like checking in. I love the badges. I love being a mayor. (I fluctuate mayorships between 23 and 26 locations.) I am really busy with work in my newsroom, campus and taking my kids all over the place for activities. I rack up the points, the badges and the mayorships. I love it. I also love the simplicity of sharing my location on Twitter or Facebook if I think there’s a reason behind it (to talk about a sale, concert, activity or something else my friends or followers would like). I’ve met people through Foursquare by checking in and finding other people at that location. I’ve met up with people I know by discovering they were in the same spot as I was just by checking in. It’s all a bit self-centered, but I enjoy the fun behind it. I’m obviously competitive and this is a simple competition to play throughout the day. During SXSW 2010, I discovered the joys of Gowalla and blogged my thoughts about it after the conference. I clearly love this stuff.

But I hit a snag last summer when I had knee surgery. I was stuck in a chair with ice on my leg. I couldn’t check in. But that’s when I discovered the point behind tools liks Miso and Get Glue. You have a chance to check into the media you consume (and with Get Glue, you can also check into the wine you drink) and earn badges. I’m a big Get Glue fan and I’ve earned many “stickers.” You can show them off on Twitter and Facebook just like the location-based tools, but Get Glue also encourages you to play with the site and you can earn real stickers. (Although I’ve requested my stickers a couple of times and they’ve never shown up at my house. I do know other Get Glue users who did get their stickers.) I loved the chance to continue with my checking in obsession but with different material. I instantly envisioned opportunities for broadcast news outlets to encourage people to watch the show live by offering stickers.

But rewind a few months earlier and the Huffington Post started offering badges of honor for people who interacted with the site at a certain level. The Type-A Parent site started doing the same thing recently where members can earn “achievements.”

I’m listing all of these earning opportunities because I think I might have an idea to help engage my local audience as we head into the 2012 presidential campaign season. I’ve written before about how I have learned from failure of my Smart Decision ’08 project where I combined newsrooms to deliver an incredibly deep amount of information leading up to the 2008 election. The biggest problem was I never found a way to engage with news consumer and I could not get people who were interested in educating themselves through out site to participate and share. But what if I worked with a community of engaged citizens and used their help to encourage other people in our market to join in with the help of social awards. These would be badges of honor that would prove a person is educating himself or herself leading up to the election. Those badges could be posted on Twitter, Facebook or even their personal websites. I think it could be a really fun way to share, collect and encourage news consumers to participate in an election project. I’m just throwing this idea out there… but I want to find someone who wants to play! This could grow into a really fun project.