Monthly Archives: February 2012

The New Way To Manage Your Online Portfolio

By Danielle Neveles, BA in Journalism ’11 Indiana University Indianapolis School of Journalism, freelance journalist, blogger and editor

Still carrying around all your clips in a folder or portfolio? Well those days are long over. Technology has changed everything about our industry including how we market ourselves and advertise our work samples. With the growth of multimedia and web based careers, employers are looking to see just how web savvy you are. And what better way to present your multimedia clips than on-line.

Nowadays, employers look for links where they can view your work rather than old fashioned print copies of samples or tapes of video. Now don’t get me wrong, some employers still want the traditional samples. But more and more employers look to the web to learn about what you can do. And why not? We use profiles like Facebook and LinkedIn to showcase ourselves professionally and personally. Well now there is a way to market our work this way too.

About.me and Cuttings.me are two sites, which enable journalist to create an online presence dedicated to their work and accomplishments. Sort of a one-stop shop for employers.

Tony Conrad, Ryan Freitas and Tim Young co-founded about.me and were looking to build a single on-line identity. That is exactly what about.me allows you to do.

About.me allows you to create a personal splash page. You can give a brief biography of your experience and background and provide links to all your online sites in one place. This way anyone wanting to learn about you can visit your splash page, learn about what you do and connect with you instantly via your email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or LinkedIn.

It also enables you to quickly give prospective employers a brief overview of your experience and then direct them to your samples. Jummy Olabanji, a broadcast journalist in the Washington, D.C., area, recently made an about.me profile and linked it to her domain name. She said it wasn’t hard at all to create the splash page.

Cuttings.me is slightly different, but accomplishes the same goal. With cuttings.me you can provide a brief biography of yourself, add links to your Twitter, LinkedIn or Youtube and preview all your writing samples. On the cuttings.me profile employers can quickly scroll through your recent articles or videos and view your work. If they choose, they can be taken directly to the source site of your work.

Both sites are guaranteed to make creating your on-line presence much simpler. Whether you are looking to give employers a splash of your exceptional experience or amaze them with samples of your videos and articles, it will definitely make it easier than carrying around the large book of your print clips. These sites make it easier to prove to employers that you really are a multimedia and web savvy journalist. Don’t just tell them, show them.

Calendar of Multimedia Training and Events

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF chair & freelance aviation journalist/blogger

Webbmedia Group has a great mega calendar of events that catches things not covered below.  If you want to subscribe to the calendar, click hereYou can also subscribe to this calendar so the information appears on your personal Google Calendar. Just go to the Webbmedia Google calendar, click the “+Google Calendar” icon at the bottom right, and then click “Yes, add this calendar” in the dialog box).  The Donald J. Reynolds Journalism Institute has its training calendar posted for courses through June.

MARCH

  • Webbmedia Group is partnering with the National Press Club for a workshop, “How to Create a Social Media Workflow,” on March 1 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM in Washington, D.C.  In this session, you will learn how to create an effective social media strategy, a practical workflow, how to design individual campaigns, how to plan a social editorial calendar, how to create meaningful social content, how to create meaningful blog content, how to measure your ROI and how to set appropriate benchmarks.
  • Polish your skills in computer-assisted reporting (CAR) and learn how to hold local businesses accountable with this free, daylong workshop co-presented by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism and Investigative Reporters and Editors, March 15.  This free workshop precedes the Society of American Business Editors and Writers Conference March 15-17, for which there is an additional fee.  Click here to register for the free workshop.
  • Webbmedia Group is partnering with the National Press Club for a workshop, “Headline Writing,” March 15, 2012 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM in Washington, D.C.  Which headlines and ledes work (and which ones don’t)? Why is concise writing for the web is important? How do you integrate the best keywords into ancillary items such as subheds, breakout boxes and photo cutlines? After a 45-minute intro session, we will conduct small group sessions to practice writing and rewriting headlines, ledes and other items for the web.
  • The Knight Digital Media Center at UC Berkeley has opened applications for its 2011 Multimedia Training May 15-20. The workshop offers intensive training that covers all aspects of multimedia news production; from basic storyboarding to hands-on instruction with hardware and software for production of multimedia stories. Participants will be organized into teams to report on a pre-arranged story in the Bay Area, and then construct a multimedia presentation based on that coverage.  Applications are due by March 18 for the May training.
  • The McCormick Specialized Reporting Institute (SRI) is offering “Covering Globalization at the Local Level: Beyond the G8/NATO Summits in Chicago,” March 19-21 to help reporters better understand and report on world affairs. The seminar goal is to help better understand the impact of globalization on the Midwest and the U.S. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, DePaul University and The Poynter Institute will partner to address this gap for reporters. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, Feb. 29.

 

APRIL

  • The International Reporting Project is accepting applications for its spring and fall 2011 fellowships. The fellowships allow U.S. journalists to do original, in-depth reporting projects overseas covering neglected, “under-reported” stories of global importance.  The deadline for the fall application is April 1.
  • The Knight Digital Media Center at UC Berkeley has opened applications for its Web 2.0 workshop June 13-17.  This training takes participants through the progression of reporting news for multiple digital platforms, starting with quick text posts and moving through photos and video and finally ending with a full multimedia presentation. The workshop provides hands-on training using Twitter and Facebook for reporting and driving web traffic, creating data-driven map mashups, dynamically updating a blog for breaking news, publishing photo galleries and audio slideshows, producing videos and editing videos using Final Cut Pro.  The deadline to apply is April 15 for the June training.
  • The National Conference for Media Reform will hold its annual conference in Boston April 8-11, 2011.  The conference brings together thousands of activists, media makers, educators, journalists, scholars, policymakers and engaged citizens to meet, tell their stories, share tactics, listen to great speakers and build the movement for better media in America.
  • The Sunlight Foundation is holding a two-day training session for journalists April 21-22 in Washington D.C., on “Learn How to Investigate Super PACs and Other Campaign Money.” he training will focus on four key areas: Tracking the activities of political players and groups, including super PACs; Identifying key personnel and their connections to other political groups; Determining which organizations disclose donors and learn how to identify those donors and their interests/connections; and Learning tools and techniques for following how these groups can influence policy beyond the election. Only 30 seats are available, and scholarships are an option. The deadline to apply is Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 11:59pm ET.

MAY

  • The Donald J. Reynolds Journalism Institute is offering a free webinar, “Unlocking Financial Statements,” May 14-18.  The free, week-long seminar covers income statements, balance sheets, cash flows and writing about numbers.  This seminar will be led by James Gentry, a professor and former dean at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas. He has presented workshops on understanding the numbers of business to thousands of journalists and corporate communicators.

JUNE

  • The National Association of Black Journalists is holding its annual Convention and Career Fair in New Orleans, La., June 20-24.  Pre-registration lasts through May 15.
  • The Donald J. Reynolds Journalism Institute is offering a free webinar, “Economics 101,” June 26-28. Marilyn Geewax, senior business editor for NPR’s National Desk, will demystify economics for business journalists.

JULY

  • The Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism is providing grants of up to $10,000 for reporting on critical health issues facing underserved communities. Applications for the 2012 grants must be filed through our online application link by April 16, 2012. Incomplete applications will not be considered.  Grantees are expected to attend all sessions of the all-expenses-paid National Health Journalism Fellowships, which will be held in Los Angeles July 22-26, 2012.
  • The National Health Journalism Fellowships program is offering journalists an opportunity to explore the intersection between community health, health policy, and the nation’s growing diversity. Reporting projects are supported with a $2,000 grant to each Fellowship recipient. The program pays all travel and hotel costs for the program on July 22. The deadline to apply is April 15.

AUGUST

  • Unity Journalist of Color, Inc. will hold its 2012 convention in Las Vegas Aug. 1-4.  Unity will have a career fair, as well as, provide career coaching, education sessions and student projects.

If you have any items that I’ve missed, please drop me an email via the DJTF Yahoo! Listserv or at benet AT aviationqueen DOT com.  Thanks!

Carnival Of Journalism: What Emerging Technology Or Digital Trend Will Upend Journalism Next?

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF chair & freelance aviation journalist/blogger

Photo by Cecilia Teodomira Márquez, via Flickr

It’s been awhile since I’ve had time to post on the Carnival of Journalism, and I’ve missed it. For the uninitiated, once a month a group of us journalism geek types get together and write about the same topic, directed by a different host each time.

This month’s question is one I’m asked regularly — what is the next big thing that will upend journalism?

And I’m going to tell the truth — I haven’t the foggiest idea.  My collision with emerging technology and digital trends began in March 2006, when my then-employer told us we were embracing a digital future. I jumped in feet first, trying out new things like my daughter changes her shoes.

So that gave me an idea on how to tackle this topic.  I decided to jump back to 2006 — the beginning of my transformation from an old-school print journalist (I began my career using a typewriter) to a multimedia amazon — to see what tools and technologies were being touted to journalists.

  • Flock, touted as the “ultimate blogging tool for journalists” – this was a web browser that was touted as being designed specifically for social media and Web 2.0 applications.
  • Writely, a web-based word processor that eventually morphed into Google Docs.
  • PodZinger, which used speech recognition technology that could turn podcast audio into searchable text, according to TechCrunch.
  • Co.mments, an online tool designed to allow users to track online comments.
  • Furl, a free service that allowed users to store copies of web pages then search them and share results later.

I could go on, but you get my point.  How many of you actually used some of these tools? How many of you even remember these tools?  Most of them are either gone or have morphed into other tools or merged with other companies. Which brings me back to my original point — I have no idea what the next technology or trend is around the corner for journalists, but I can’t wait to see what it is!

How Improving Your Math Improves Your Journalism

By Malik Singleton, Contributing Editor at City Limits

Want to write better stories? Do the math.  It’s a great post on the Online News Association’s site about reasons math skills are more essential in reporting than ever before, especially since readers have ever-increasing access to information and they’ll fact check your credibility to pieces (just recall Dan Rather’s Bush 43 fiasco).

Seems obvious after the fact, since reporting is supposed to stress getting news right over getting it first (just recall the media’s recent premature Joe Paterno death embarrassment, as covered in the New York Times).

So numbers should be every journalist’s trusted weapon, especially we investigative journalists. In his post, Lucas Timmons says:
“Don’t be scared of math. It’s a strong storytelling tool that journalists need to embrace and use to do their jobs better… The lack of basic math literacy can lead to shoddy journalism.”

Timmons points to this 2011 post by Libby Copeland on Slate about misreading and misreporting numbers,  “Church Makes You Fat and News Stories Make You Stupid.”

I’m pointing out these perspectives as I prepare to attend Investigative Reporters and Editors & NICAR’s  conference dedicated to computer-assisted reporting, happening the last week of February in St. Louis.  Yes the name of this concentration is totally outdated and antiquated because it was coined in the forgotten era when reporters used noisy, clunky typewriters — what are those?

Meanwhile we all use computers now, so who are these hermits at this conference who haven’t noticed that we’re all assisted by computers now? Well, they’re still running circles around computer users who mostly copy/paste from Word into a CMS.

Most panels and workshops at these events delve deep into ways to improve your reporting by mastering data and statistics analysis. The topics can get very technical and start to seem geared toward software programmers more than to people who we think of as news reporters, but programming skills, math skills, and data-driven journalism skills are being demanded increasingly by news organizations large and small so it pays to pay attention.

If you’re interested — if not for this year then hopefully for next year — believe me, the CAR conferences definitely have plenty of sessions geared toward total newbies; ripe green novices who feel they have no natural ability whatsoever. That’s how most folks start out and then surprise themselves so don’t dismiss this area too early because, hey, there will be opportunities to do the work that others freak out about or give up on doing.

It’s one thing to master multimedia and social media skills and consider yourself tech savvy, but you will step it up tenfold if you master math and data and news app programming skills. I really hope to start seeing more NABJ and NAHJ folks up in NICAR’s conferences.

UC Berkeley Students Get Hyperlocal

By Brandon Pope, President- Ball State Chapter of National Association Of Black Journalists & Multimedia Reporter- Ballpoints.com

It can’t be stressed enough; experience is crucial for aspiring journalists looking for a career in media. Students at the UC Berkeley School Of Journalism have received a tremendous opportunity to polish their craft.

With the help of the Ford Foundation, students have created three hyperlocal news sites for the Bay-Area. These hyperlocal sites are staffed by J-School students and have become vital sources of information for under served communities in the region.

The trend of hyperlocal sites has spiked in the past few years. Traditional media like newspapers, television, and radio used to build audiences by bundling together sports, weather, lifestyle and entertainment news into one product. The internet boom dismantled those bundles, creating opportunities for niche products. Hyperlocal sites deliver more extensive, in-depth coverage for local areas.

UC Berkeley launched their hyperlocal journalism program in 2008. You can check out the promotional video they did for their Digital Media Initiative here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwAxw_CBHes&feature=player_embedded).

Since then, the sites have continued to evolve. Missionlocal.org, RichmondConfidential.com, and OaklandNorth.net produce content year round.

Mission Local covers San Francisco’s Mission district. It provides news in both English and Spanish to better service the diverse community they report on. Mission Local was honored at the 13th annual Webby Awards, winning a Webby for “Best Student Site”.

Oakland North reports on the Temescal, Rockridge, and Golden Gate communities. Students put their multimedia skills to work to report on local issues in these diverse California communities.

Richmond Confidential reports exclusively on the city of Richmond, California. Student reporters gain experience covering a waterfront city with rich history, but an uncertain future.

You can find a feed for all the sites at localreport.org

Sources: ( http://journalism.berkeley.edu/ ) ( http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2011/09/hyper-local-heaven-at-uc-berkeleys-journalism-school271.html )  (http://multimedia.journalism.berkeley.edu/tutorials/digital-transform/hyperlocal/ ) ( http://localreport.org/ )

Calendar of Multimedia Training and Events

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF chair & freelance aviation journalist/blogger

Webbmedia Group has a great mega calendar of events that catches things not covered below.  If you want to subscribe to the calendar, click hereYou can also subscribe to this calendar so the information appears on your personal Google Calendar. Just go to the Webbmedia Google calendar, click the “+Google Calendar” icon at the bottom right, and then click “Yes, add this calendar” in the dialog box).  The Donald J. Reynolds Journalism Institute has its training calendar posted for courses through June.

FEBRUARY

  • Webbmedia Group is partnering with the National Press Club for a workshop, “Hey Blogger, It’s Me,” Feb. 13 from 1-4:00 p.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.  The session will explain how to harness blogs, how to read and participate with them effectively, how to build digital relationships with bloggers, how to craft messages/ press releases that will resonate with bloggers and how to keep the conversation about your content going.
  • An initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Media Learning Seminar combines the best of journalism and technology. It will be held Feb. 20-21 in Miami. The seminar will discuss the movement and progression of technology and the ever-changing industry of media.
  • Webbmedia Group is partnering with the National Press Club for a workshop, “Digging Deep: How to Mine For Critical Digital Information,” Feb. 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.  In this digging deep bootcamp, you’ll learn all of the essential tools necessary for finding important information about people, businesses and organizations.

MARCH

  • Webbmedia Group is partnering with the National Press Club for a workshop, “How to Create a Social Media Workflow,” on March 1 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM in Washington, D.C.  In this session, you will learn how to create an effective social media strategy, a practical workflow, how to design individual campaigns, how to plan a social editorial calendar, how to create meaningful social content, how to create meaningful blog content, how to measure your ROI and how to set appropriate benchmarks.
  • Polish your skills in computer-assisted reporting (CAR) and learn how to hold local businesses accountable with this free, daylong workshop co-presented by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism and Investigative Reporters and Editors, March 15.  This free workshop precedes the Society of American Business Editors and Writers Conference March 15-17, for which there is an additional fee.  Click here to register for the free workshop.
  • Webbmedia Group is partnering with the National Press Club for a workshop, “Headline Writing,” March 15, 2012 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM in Washington, D.C.  Which headlines and ledes work (and which ones don’t)? Why is concise writing for the web is important? How do you integrate the best keywords into ancillary items such as subheds, breakout boxes and photo cutlines? After a 45-minute intro session, we will conduct small group sessions to practice writing and rewriting headlines, ledes and other items for the web.
  • The Knight Digital Media Center at UC Berkeley has opened applications for its 2011 Multimedia Training May 15-20. The workshop offers intensive training that covers all aspects of multimedia news production; from basic storyboarding to hands-on instruction with hardware and software for production of multimedia stories. Participants will be organized into teams to report on a pre-arranged story in the Bay Area, and then construct a multimedia presentation based on that coverage.  Applications are due by March 18 for the May training.

APRIL

  • The International Reporting Project is accepting applications for its spring and fall 2011 fellowships. The fellowships allow U.S. journalists to do original, in-depth reporting projects overseas covering neglected, “under-reported” stories of global importance.  The deadline for the fall application is April 1.
  • The Knight Digital Media Center at UC Berkeley has opened applications for its Web 2.0 workshop Feb. 14-18 and June 13-17.  This training takes participants through the progression of reporting news for multiple digital platforms, starting with quick text posts and moving through photos and video and finally ending with a full multimedia presentation. The workshop provides hands-on training using Twitter and Facebook for reporting and driving web traffic, creating data-driven map mashups, dynamically updating a blog for breaking news, publishing photo galleries and audio slideshows, producing videos and editing videos using Final Cut Pro.  The deadline to apply is April 15 for the June training.
  • The National Conference for Media Reform will hold its annual conference in Boston April 8-11, 2011.  The conference brings together thousands of activists, media makers, educators, journalists, scholars, policymakers and engaged citizens to meet, tell their stories, share tactics, listen to great speakers and build the movement for better media in America.

MAY

  • The Donald J. Reynolds Journalism Institute is offering a free webinar, “Unlocking Financial Statements,” May 14-18.  The free, week-long seminar covers income statements, balance sheets, cash flows and writing about numbers.  This seminar will be led by James Gentry, a professor and former dean at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas. He has presented workshops on understanding the numbers of business to thousands of journalists and corporate communicators.

JUNE

  • The National Association of Black Journalists is holding its annual Convention and Career Fair in New Orleans, La., June 20-24.  Pre-registration lasts through May 15.
  • The Donald J. Reynolds Journalism Institute is offering a free webinar, “Economics 101,” June 26-28. Marilyn Geewax, senior business editor for NPR’s National Desk, will demystify economics for business journalists.

AUGUST

  • Unity Journalist of Color, Inc. will hold its 2012 convention in Las Vegas Aug. 1-4.  Unity will have a career fair, as well as, provide career coaching, education sessions and student projects.

If you have any items that I’ve missed, please drop me an email via the DJTF Yahoo! Listserv or at benet AT aviationqueen DOT com.  Thanks!

When Social Media Bites Back

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF chair & freelance aviation journalist/blogger

Yesterday I got a call from a friend who is a reporter at a major metro newspaper.  He was calling to get my thoughts on the controversy over NABJ member and CNN commentator Roland Martin’s tweets on Super Bowl Sunday, which some found to be homophobic. You can read about the situation in Richard Prince’s Journal-isms.

My friend is a great reporter and I’ve been trying to get him more active in social media to enhance his journalistic efforts.  I’m a big fan of social media, especially Facebook and Twitter.  I feel that both of them have helped me write better stories, interact with my readers and put a human face behind the reporter.   I wanted my friend to also reap the benefits of social media, but he has always been wary.

I told him that I understood his concerns, especially because since our conversation, Martin has been suspended over his remark.  But if done following some simple guidelines, social media can help you — not hurt you.

My biggest piece of advice is never write/tweet/post anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother or an employer to read — or have printed on the front page of the New York Times, which covered the Martin story.

I like the fact that social media gives people a sense of my personality and allows me to be part of a community. I feel that Martin’s 92,000 followers feel the same about his tweets.  But you need to come up with your own social media posting guidelines. I avoid politics, religion, sexual orientation and my family life.

On my aviation and journalism accounts, I stick to those topics. But I’ll also do an occasional aside, like a song on my iPod (“Unchained Melody,” the Righteous Brothers), a book (Shanghai Girls, by Lisa See) or article I’m reading (“Technique: Wind Warrior,AOPA Pilot magazine) or the random post on the number of days until Christmas (319) or this year’s NABJ Convention (132). If you have to ask if you should post it, then don’t.

I feel that Twitter has been a big factor in the establishment of my brands in aviation, where I’m @AvQueenBenet and in journalism, where I created and oversee the @NABJDigital account.  In the end, it’s pretty simple — if you have to ask if you should post something, then don’t.  So I ask you — what are some of your tips for keeping your social media accounts under control?

Check out some of our past social media blog posts, below.

Twitter Intrigue

Make Sure There’s No Shame In Your Social Media Game

Separate But Equal: Juggling the Personal and Professional with Social Media

The Thin Social Media Line

Friday Fast Five: The Social Media Edition

Five Media Conventions You Should Consider Attending In 2012

By Markeya Thomas, Student/Multimedia Journalist, Georgia State University

As the year begins, the conventions start rolling. Finding a convention that best suits your needs may be difficult, but you have it made. Here are my picks for journalism and media conventions to visit this year.

1.  Media Learning Seminar

  • Dates: February 20-21
  • Location: Miami, FL
  • An Initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation – Without technology, there would be no media. The Media Learning Seminar combines the best of journalism and technology. They will be discussing the movement and progression of technology and the ever-changing industry of media.  The intention of this convention is to enlighten professionals on the different methods that can be used to reach a broader audience.

2.  NABJ Convention and Career Fair

  • Dates: June 20-24
  • Location: New Orleans, LA
  • A must-attend for those who are strong advocates of diversity in the newsroom. The annual NABJ Convention and Career Fair attracts professional journalists, students and those affiliated with media. They provide many workshops to further develop skills in the areas of  journalism, screen writing, social networking, technology, book publishing and more. This convention also has an amazing career fair where many of the leading companies in media, business, technology, and entertainment are seeking to attract and hire those with a passion for media.

3. UNITY

  • Dates: August 1-4
  • Location: Las Vegas, NV
  • Journalist of Color, Inc. 2012 Convention – A great way to network with those who are advocates of diversity in the newsroom. A classic convention that only occurs every 4 years, its ability to continue to attract people makes it a classic in itself.  In a field that is dominated by the majority, Unity is a coalition of four minority/LGBT organizations fighting to bring diversity within newsrooms. Unity will have a career fair, as well as, provide career coaching, education sessions, student projects and plenty more.

4. BlogHer 

  • Dates: August 3-4
  • Location: New York, NY
  • As print newspapers and magazines continue to transition to have an extensive online content, online media is bigger than ever.  It is vital for journalist to be able to keep up with the trends in media, making BlogHer a must-attend convention. BlogHer brings bloggers who cover different aspects of media together to connect, learn, and inspire.

5. Excellence in Journalism

  • Dates: September 20-22
  • Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • This annual convention targets radio, television and digital news journalists. It offers workshops from developing one’s social media strategy to creating multiplatform stories. Although this convention is relatively short, an attendee would leave this convention feeling acknowledged and able to apply new knowledge and techniques to their respective jobs.

NABJDigital Profiles Kelly Virella of Dominion New York

By Talia Whyte, founder and principal of Global Wire Associates and freelance journalist

Kelly Virella

There is a growing number of journalists who are leaving traditional media outlets to create and run their own online news sites.  Kelly Virella is one of those enterprising journalists.  She left her job as the deputy editor of City Limits magazine and website last year to start the news organization, Dominion of New York.  I spoke to her recently about life as a journalist turned entrepreneur.

NABJ Digital: What is Dominion of New York and why did you start it up?

Kelly Virella: Dominion of New York is the online magazine of black intellectual swagger. We report about innovative thinkers, artists and leaders. We investigate complex issues and we blog about current events relevant to the global black diaspora from a progressive-to-radical political perspective. We take our name from the hip-hop refrain, “We run New York,” which symbolizes the aspirations of the hip-hop generation for freedom and power. I started DoNY because I knew a lot of people who wanted a black publication that was more cerebral and stimulated critical thinking. I aim to create one that is commercially viable by giving it beautiful and accessible graphics and editorial.

NABJ Digital: In addition to your contributors, how many people help you run it, or is it all you?

Virella: About 40 people have contributed to the site thus far and another 30 are working on projects in the pipeline. My business partner, veteran ad sales executive Darryl Dye, is our sales leader. My social media consultant is Demetria Irwin, the former managing editor of MadameNoire.com. Also helping me is my husband and co-investor Michael Starkey.

NABJ Digital: How does your website stand out from other sites geared towards African-Americans?

Virella: We’re nerdier. LOL! Our mission is to nourish the life of the mind of people who love black culture. So we’re more cerebral and bookish than your average, with a lot of posts devoted to books, ideas and thinkers.  We also publish a lot of long, thoughtful, literary pieces that other sites wouldn’t touch.

NABJ Digital: Why do you think more black journalists should pursue entrepreneurial ventures?

Virella: I believe that every black family should aim to generate an entrepreneur because we need businesses to create jobs and economic growth that will help us assume leadership and control in our own environments. Journalists who do this can help elevate the global conversation about race and promote change.

NABJ Digital: Have you ever run a business of this nature before?  What skills are required to pursue such a venture?

Virella: Before starting DoNY I worked for almost 2 years as the number two editor for a small New York City magazine and website called City Limits. That helped me learn some of the ropes of editing and understand the business model of websites. But I’m definitely a first time business-owner and that’s an entirely different beast. You have to be patient, teachable, have foresight, vision and perseverance, and be able to use your power as CEO effectively. You also have to be willing to work at least 12 hours per day. It’s not rocket science. It just requires a lot of work.

NABJ Digital: What is the hardest part about running your website?

Virella: Finding experienced freelance contributors who know how to write good pitches is the hardest part.

NABJ Digital: What is your business model?

Virella: Our first revenue streams will be ad sales and event sponsorships.

NABJ Digital: How has the website been received by others so far?

Virella: Very well. Last month — our fifth month online — we had 55,000 unique visitors in 155 countries and territories.

NABJ Digital: What are the long term goals for Dominion of New York?

Virella: I want us to expand the brand into ancillary products like anthologies of our top articles. But more importantly, I’d like to see DoNY become a major voice in the black diaspora.

Communication: There Is An App For That…Or Is There?

By Meta J. Mereday, writer/editor and diversity, media and community development expert

Living in this high technology and increasing digitized existence makes me wonder a great deal about the future.  In a world that has become the “change your app to control your life” existence, I continue to ask myself are we really better off or not.
There are apps to give you directions, make dinner reservations, correct spelling errors and set up your wardrobe.  All we need now is the app to drive the car itself versus that persistent voice telling you how lost — and actually  how dependent – you are to technology versus instincts.
Some people are so attached to their phones and the multitude of applications, they can no longer write with a pen, count change in their heads or speak in full sentences — there are apps for all of that! Just the notion that the words in the English language, which is so many cases is abridged, altered and adulterated, just becomes further assaulted when you have highly educated human beings who now have to learn what letter combinations such BFF and IDK mean to communicate with the younger generation.
 By improving our way of life and accessibility to information, we have diminished our way of communicating with each other and utilizing the portions of the brain that were designed for creative process and human exchange. There are apps that pick art work, apps that design our homes, apps that explain apps.
Even the phrase “apps” is an abbreviation on the word “applications.”  A word that used to have other meanings, but has now become a part of the modern culture, short-cut mindset.
Unfortunately, there is no going back, but I am sure there is an “app” that will provide you with a time travel experience — or there will be.  It is bad enough that you can hardly get two words out of teenagers who will suffer from what I call  ATCNS – advanced texting crooked neck syndrome- before they reach 30 and will have major neck and back pains, if not a perpetual slump by 40 years old.
What are we really saying as we streamline the communication process and minimize the power of the written and spoken word?  In the media industry, many are bemoaning the fact that people are not reading, thus the demise of newspapers, magazines and the many jobs therein.
In the education field, the experts are embarrassed by the low reading and writing scores of our young people who represent the booming clientele for all things digital.  Reading the blurbs on the iPad or getting an abbreviated tweet has taken the place of knowledge based fact finding, reading comprehension and writing proficiency.
It is the modern day “cheat sheet” to awareness and understand. Do we not see the connection to the problem being the bridge to ignorance built by the digital era?  I am guessing that we do not see it because it takes too long to grasp the concept and we do not talk about these issues in depth anymore.
We have gotten away from the interpersonal exchange of information - for example, sitting at the knees or our elders. It is not just about lack of diversity and inclusion, which is still a problem, but the even bigger problem is our own digital diversion from social infrastructure and common bonds – conversation, communication and compassion. We don’t talk to each other, we don’t share our stories and we don’t involve ourselves in preserving our own history.
So, do we really think that next generation – “bought everything for to make them better because they got what you didn’t get group – is going to understand the underlying meaning of your actions without words?  Think again — but maybe there might be an app out there to help with that too.