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Internship Tales: My Summer as a New Media Intern at the Community Media Workshop

Guest post by Community Media Workshop new media intern Lucia Anaya

When I began working at Community Media Workshop this summer as a new media intern I was looking to improve my web and social media skills. I had prior experience posting to content management systems (CMS), as well as posting on several types of social media platforms; however, I was unfamiliar with the strategizing and planning it took to successfully engage our followers and measure that engagement; something I hoped to learn through my time at the Workshop.

Lucia Anaya, new arts journalism graduate student at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, earned course credit as an intern at the Workshop through her school’s internship program.

Throughout the summer, I worked alongside New Media Manager Adriana Diaz and fellow new media intern Jennifer Wolan to not only increase followers and likes to the Workshop’s multiple social media platforms, but also engage and keep those new followers interested. We wrote original blog posts, asked readers questions and shared content pertaining to the subjects of that social media platform (i.e. individuals standing up to the violence in their community for the We Are Not Alone Facebook page and city news for the Newstips Twitter). We planned these posts ahead of time, and tracked our progress using social media management software like Sprout Social.

While my title indicated I was an intern, I certainly never felt like one—there were no coffee errands to run, no busy work. I was given the opportunity to not only sit-in but participate in staff meetings, and given responsibilities that were geared to develop my web and social media skills. And though my initial goal was to familiarize myself with strategizing and planning, I came away with much more insight than I ever expected.

It’s been a great three months and while I’m sad my time is over at the Workshop, I’m confident that I’m walking away with essential skills and insight that will help place me in the career I want in the future. The guidance that I received from Adriana, and other Workshop staff members have helped me tremendously and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to work alongside them.

Interested in an internship at the Workshop? Check out opportunities here.

Lucia is a journalist and graduate student at the School for the Art Institute of Chicago. Follow her on Twitter @luciaanaya_ 

Why You Can’t Google or Bing Your Media List

Guest post by DeAnndra R. Bunch.

I know that many of us take to Google, Bing, and YouTube to gather information or to find out how to do something whether it is for personal or professional necessity. These online search platforms are great tools for learning something new quickly, easily, and, dare I say it, for free.

I cannot tell you how many times a day I search Google for news, research, how to do something tech-related (Excel still puzzles me sometimes), and general information (read: how many stars does this restaurant have on Yelp).

I agree that you can probably “bing” or “google” almost anything these days and receive accurate related search results. Of course there are exceptions, one of which is media listings.

Last week a colleague at The Workshop posed a question to me via Twitter:

My responding tweets:

 

 

 

Believe it or not, we get this question all the time. So much so that about 2 years ago we made a video to answer this FAQ, which I posted for you below.

Media Guide FAQ #2 – Why do I need the media guide? from Community Media Workshop on Vimeo.

Our media guide Getting On Air, Online & Into Print is a comprehensive guide to Chicagoland media. With the exception of the Chicago Tribune (and only within the last year) the majority of media listed in our media guide do not update their staff contact information thoroughly and regularly on their website. So, even relying on an outlet’s website can be ineffective. Our research process is extensive. It takes us an entire summer every year to produce a new media guide, which still requires continual updating all year long. We have already done the research for you to save you time, trust us.

And, being a media guide subscriber automatically increases your professional network. You can call me or any one of our talented staff  members for media relations, social media, and communications advice anytime. That alone is worth a subscription to the guide.

NEW NEWS 2012: Tribune, Catalyst, Uptown Update ranked as Chicago’s top online news sites

The Chicago Tribune, Catalyst Chicago, Uptown Update, Time Out Chicago and Chicagoist landed the coveted #1 spots as Chicago’s best online news sites in their respective categories, according to The NEW News 2012 report released by the Community Media Workshop last week. The report ranked 51 online news sites in five categories: Citywide News (#1-Chicago Tribune); Specialty News (Catalyst); Neighborhood News (Uptown Update); Arts, Culture and Entertainment (TimeOut); and Aggregators (Chicagoist).

Key findings among the top-ranked sites include:

  • The greatest diversity in news sites, business models and news presentation is occurring within hyper-local neighborhood news.
  • The increase of online news sites does not mean an increase in the diversity of citywide news coverage. Daily newspapers are still leading for depth of news coverage.
  • Even though social media is used by all top-ranking sites, audience engagement with online news sites is “infrequent, and where it exists, it is not of high quality.”

With the decline of traditional daily newspapers and the emergence of more online news sites and blogs, The NEW News 2012 finds that Chicago’s online news ecosystem continues to grow and change since the release of the first NEW News report in 2009. Since then, at least three prominent Chicago-only news sites have come and gone, but more neighborhood news sites have emerged rapidly attracting audiences.

View the complete list of ranked sites online at chicagonewnews.org. The online report also includes “What I Read” profiles and videos of some Chicago’s leading journalists and communications professionals, an article on the state of suburban news, and a sidebar on ethnic media in the city. Wondering how the top sites received their winning scores? You’ll also find the report’s methodology online.

If you’d like to find contact information for all of these online news sites and more, check out our Chicago media guide. The 2013 version, available in print or online, will be out soon!

Top 5 summer iPhone apps for the nonprofit communicator

 

I know… some of you might be saying… “iPhone apps? What about Android and Blackbery?” Well, here at the Workshop a majority of us are iPhone users. But, we would love to hear what apps you are using on other platforms. Add your comments below!

Here’s what we love using lately… Read the rest of this entry »

Coming soon: NEW News 2012

Here at the Workshop we’re anticipating a busy but incredibly educational summer: we are starting work on NEW News 2012, thanks to the funding of The Chicago Community Trust. As you may recall, we published rankings of online news sites in 2009 and then a list of online news outlets in 2010. We intend to return to rankings in 2012, learning from our original criteria, the changes in the field, and from an advisory board we are assembling to help guide us as we think through our work.

Over the next few days, we will be sharing with you some of the key issues we’re wrestling with as we start this project. We will likely return with a follow-up blog post or two in June or July. Our hope is that you, our readers, will share any concerns or questions you have, and suggestions for how we might do this better.

Some key changes we’re already envisioning for 2012’s NEW News:

  • We’ll rank entire publications or news organizations, not breaking out the individual reporters or bloggers that are part of those organizations separately. In prior years, we’d list or rank several bloggers from a single organization (think Lynn Sweet or Roger Ebert of the Sun-Times). This year, we are switching our focus to organizations. We anticipate this may raise some additional challenges. If you are a small news startup or solo news blogger, this shouldn’t affect you too much.
  • We will not use self-reported data to measure site traffic. Truth is, getting accurate traffic numbers from external sources is challenging, but relying upon data we didn’t collect is even more problematic. In a future post, we’ll talk about our alternatives and get your input on how we measure traffic and how much importance we should place on it.
  • We will not rank sites or publishers whose audiences are primarily based outside of the City of Chicago. This reflects a time and resource issue on our part. While the Internet may be worldwide, most readers’ news interests are very local. The reduction of beat reporters and newspaper coverage of local issues was a primary motivation for The NEW News research. Seismic shifts are going on in online news in Chicago’s suburbs, and we hope to touch on those shifts in a sidebar to the main report.
  • Along with rating the quantity and quality of a site’s news production, we will assess the ways in which the site creates community that advances a better-informed and more engaged citizenry. Look for our ideas—and our eagerness to hear your thoughts on this front—in a blog post later this summer.

We anticipate releasing our research at the Block by Block Conference, taking place in September at Loyola University.

What are your thoughts and suggestions as we begin this project? Please comment below.

Know a site we should consider? Comment here.

Have thoughts about how we’ll measure online reach? Comment here.

 

Workshop helps employment center step up work with local media

A 2011 story by Barrington Patch about CareerPlace

At a time of record unemployment in Illinois and the country, organizations that can help people find employment and build their skills are more important then ever. Yet, CareerPlace, located in Barrington, found that more than 40% of people in their area didn’t know about their services and classes for unemployed individuals.

“We struggled with finding the time to reach out to the local media,” said Monica Keane, executive director of CareerPlace. “I thought Professional Media Relations would be a good way to learn how to get information to the public.”

After attending the Community Media Workshop’s Professional Media Relations course in early 2011, Keane said she realized that when working with the media, everything is about a story.

“I learned to stop telling the business of the agency and to tell the story of the people who are touched by what we do,” said Keane.

Since the Workshop course, CareerPlace has received more media coverage in community press (check out the Patch story here) and started developing relationships with local reporters. Keane says she can now pick up the phone and call certain reporters with possible story ideas. She’s also used the Workshop’s online press release generator and Chicago area media guide to aid in her media outreach work.

“I’m just really impressed with the Workshop,” said Keane. “The willingness of staff to roll up their sleeves and get involved with the nonprofits they serve is so important.”

Keane enjoyed her time at the Workshop so much that she decided to hire Workshop staff for a custom consulting project—development of a train-the-trainer curriculum “Using Social Media to Search, Network and Find Your Next Job” to give CareerPlace trainers tools to help job seekers use social media in their employment searches. The project was supported with a grant from the Barrington Area Community Foundation.

The Workshop team continues to work with CareerPlace to ensure successful social media trainings for its participants in the coming year.

The Workshop’s 2012 Professional Media Relations course starts Jan. 20. There are still spots available. Register today and start making your own local media connections!

 

 

The top 11 Workshop blog posts of 2011

At the end of the year, it’s fun and informative to see what drew you to our website. The Community Media Workshop produces three blogs–Newstips, NP Communicator and Chicago is the World–and in 2011, these were the top 11 most viewed blog posts on our site. Did you have a favorite Workshop blog post this year? Let us know if it made the top 11 or not. We want to continue providing content that’s helpful to you and your organization.

The Top 11

1. NP Communicator: Be a nonprofit blogger! By far, our most popular blog post this year. It’s a helpful post, and it just goes to show, you never know what may go viral.

2. Newstips: Library cuts and TIF surplusesNewstips posts that related to TIFs were very popular this year. It’s an issue to continue watching in Chicago.

3. Newstips: On TIF reform, Bronzeville has ideas

4. Newstips: Fact check: Emanuel, Brizard, Pritzker

5. Newstips: On Whittier, the Tribune is duped

6. Chicago is the World: We Are Not Alone Led by Steve Franklin at the Workshop, this campaign to bridge divides and fight violence in Chicago’s Latino and African-American communities has gained steam in 2011. Check out related stories and posts at Chicago is the World.

7. Newstips: A curious case: Avondale and Logandale

8. NP Communicator: Seven tips to pitch your story by phone

9. NP Communicator: An essential resource for every Chicago nonprofit and grassroots group…download it hereIf you haven’t downloaded our 2012 Media Event Quick Contact sheet yet, you should do it now! It includes contact information for all of the major news outlets in Chicago, and it’s free.

10. Chicago is the World: Adventures in Multicultural Living: Bollywood flash mob dance performance surprises Ann Arbor Summer Festival

11. NP Communicator: Seven tips to building and maintaining your media list

We hope you had a great 2011 and enjoy an even better 2012. Happy holidays everyone!

 

All the media tools you need to tell your story – for free!

In addition to communications trainings and one-on-one consulting, the Community Media Workshop also provides a wide range of free resources to help you get your organization’s story to the right reporter. Here are just a few of the many media outreach tools and tips you can find on our website.

Press release generator. Interested in creating a press release about your issue or campaign? Check out our press release generator to help you get started.

Media Event Quick Contact List. Looking for the most up-to-date quick contact list of assignment desks and editors at Chicago’s major media outlets? Download the 2012 Media Event Quick Contact List.

Community Calendars. If you have an event coming up that you want listed in Chicago media calendars, check out this resource to see a comprehensive list of calendars and links where you can submit your information.

Submit to Newstips. Newstips is the Workshop’s blog that distributes news tip information, submitted by hundreds of nonprofits across Chicago, to more than 500 journalists. Email Newstips Editor Curtis Black at curtis@newstips.org with your story ideas.

Tip sheets, worksheets and up-to-date information about the shifting media landscape. We’re constantly publishing new tips and tools for nonprofit communicators such as how to set up your organization’s Google+ page or tips for building and maintaining your media list. Subscribe to our bi-weekly electronic newsletter or visit the NP Communicator blog weekly to see what’s new.

And don’t forget about Chicago’s most comprehensive media guide, Getting On Air, Online & Into Print. If you want contact information for thousands of Chicago-area and Midwest media outlets and reporters, subscribe to our 2012 media guide. Now in print and online.

If you’re interested in registering for scheduled trainings, visit our training page to check out what’s coming up. At the beginning of 2012 we’ll be offering Professional Media Relations, a five-part course that culminates with nonprofits pitching their stories to reporters face-to-face. For the first time ever, we’re also offering an intensive Social Media Bootcamp where attendees will walk away with an online communications strategy and social media policy for their organizations.

If you prefer a custom training for your organization or one-on-one consulting, contact me at nora@newstips.org or 773/510-4819. You can read more about two of the organizations we’ve recently provided one-one-one communications assistance to–Investing In Communities and LISC’s Smart Communities Program–at the NP Communicator blog.

Let us know if there are other resources you’d like to see on our website or training topics you hope we cover in the future. We want to hear from you!

 

An essential resource for every Chicago nonprofit and grassroots group… download it here

When I was a communications staff for a regional nonprofit organization here in Chicago over 10 years ago, I spent plenty of time calling and faxing city news desks and assignment desks very early in the day of an event or press conference to ensure that we were included in their agenda. Through this on-going communication and development of relationships with assignment desk editors I found out what times they were meeting, what information they needed and exactly who would be possibly covering our story or event. This practice got us coverage, helped expand our relationships with the media and pushed our mission forward to the public. Read the rest of this entry »

Five steps to understanding Twitter and six tips for social media work

A screen shot of part of the Workshop's Hootsuite dashboard. Hootsuite is a great tool to use to manage social media in your office.

After conducting some communications trainings in Minnesota and Indiana for LISC’s Institute for Comprehensive Community Development, I was interviewed by one of their writers about social media. One article addresses a question I hear all the time from people we work with, “Why Tweet?” I offer my thoughts on why it’s useful and how to get started.

The second article is six basic tips for using social media in your work. There’s also a list of useful social media resources at the bottom that you may want to check out.

If you’re still looking for more advice on getting started or improving your social media strategy, attend one of our upcoming trainings. I’ll be leading a Social Media Basics webinar on Nov. 1, and the Workshop is offering an intermediate social media training on Nov. 10 with popular trainer Adam Thurman of Mission Paradox.

If you’d like a custom social media training for your organization, just email me at nora@newstips.org

Happy tweeting!

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  • Telling people’s stories, an ethnic media success September 2, 2015
        By Stephen Franklin Community Media Workshop   A 3-year-old child died on a plane from Chicago to Poland. This, Magdalena Pantelis instantly knew, was a story her readers would care about. But she needed more detail to write about it for the Polish Daily News, the nation’s oldest daily newspaper in Polish, founded Jan. […]