Posted in Awards, Entrepreneur, Innovation, journalism, News

Unity 2011 Video Pitches

By Jamerika Haynes, Multimedia Journalist, follow me on Twitter @JamerikaHaynes

The Unity Journalists of Color are giving media entrepreneurs the chance to win big. The group is hosting the ‘New U’ News Entrepreneurs Working Through Unity Program. Fourteen selected fellows created video pitches for a chance to win one of three $10,000 Ford Foundation sponsored seed grants. Co-Project Director, Doug Mitchell says the contest gives entrepreneurs of color the opportunity to be discovered.

“We feel like people of color are being left out of start-up of media companies,” Mitchell said.  “This project is meant to give these fellows a community of support.”

This is the second year for the contest. Voting will remain open until January 3, 2012. Winners will be in announced February 2012.

NABJ members who are up for consideration are:

  • An educator, writer, and self-proclaimed “internationalista,” Roxanne L. Scott has lived in the U.S., Latin America, and Asia. She currently lives in Beijing, China and will take her first trip to Africa in January 2012.
  • Jason Frazer is currently a TV Reporter for the CBS affiliate in Columbus. Prior to TV, Jason was a banking manager for four years.
  • Kathryn Buford is a journalist and PhD student in sociology whose research focuses on social entrepreneurship, art and the women and history of the African Diaspora. She is co-founder of Live Unchained ( which, she is developing with a team of women artists, entrepreneurs and tech experts from around the world.
  • Sherbeam Wright is a blogger and communications, brand and social media consultant. She has extensive experience working with journalists, authors and writers in using social media, PR and online marketing to develop and grow their brands. Sherbeam has a history of developing and driving strategic initiatives supporting the sales efforts of public enterprises and private tech organizations.
  • Kelly Virella is a web technologist, an experienced, award winning journalist and entrepreneur with a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a master’s from the University of California at Berkeley. In July, she founded and began working full time-time on Dominion of New York, the online magazine for black people who love interesting ideas.

Vote for NABJ members here.

Posted in Entrepreneur, Innovation, journalism

Finding Your Entrepreneurial Inspiration

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

I am a journalist who has never been interested in following the entrepreneur path.  I just don’t have the desire or the mindset to do it.  But I know plenty of journalists who are thinking of or actually following their entrepreneurial dreams as a way to stay in the game as newsrooms continue with job cuts.  And I feel the Digital Journalism Task Force has a responsibility to help those follow those dreams.

Last week’s layoffs by Gannett and Media General brought up the entrepreneurial discussion once again.  My good friend — and partner in crime — Doug Mitchell is about to start year two of the New U: News Entrepreneurs Working Through UNITY competitive program.  Thanks to a grant from the Ford Foundation, New U helps journalists of color who want to become entrepreneurs by having them    participate in a national “boot camp”.  It offers training and one-on-one mentoring and a competition for start-up funding to assist news entrepreneurs in realizing their ideas.

This year’s National Association of Black Journalists’ annual convention and career fair includes four workshops — including year two of Sheila Brooks’ day long “Creating Wealth in an Innovation Economy” session — on entrepreneurship at this year’s convention.  And NABJ has the first Ray Taliaferro NABJ Entrepreneurial Spirit Award winner.

But beyond the convention, what is our organization’s commitment to helping members fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams?  I’m inspired by the efforts of members including NABJ Secretary Roland Martin, Mike Green, co-founder of the Black Innovation and Competitiveness Initiative, Meta Mereday, Editor in Chief of Savoy Magazine, Retha Hill, Executive Director of the Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab at Arizona State University, Dr. Sybril Bennett, Associate Professor of the New Century Journalism Program at Belmont University, and Doug Mitchell, co-chair of NABJ’s Media Institute, co-director of the New U program and an adjunct professor instructor at the City College of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism. among others.

I thank Dr. Syb for sending me a great example of bible scripture Isaiah 11:6: The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.

NABJ historian Wayne Sutton writes at Black Web 2.0 about the entrepreneurial dreams of two 11-year-olds — Marci Lawson and Ben Brown — who pitched their ideas at the recent Triangle Startup Weekend in Durham, N.C.  Clips of their presentations are below.  They can be an inspiration to us all!

Posted in Education, journalism, multimedia journalist, Social Media, Webinar

Who Are Your Digital Gurus?

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

On Jan. 26, the Digital Journalism Task Force held a joint webinar with Knowledgewebb entitled 10 Steps to a Tech-Savvy You.” Owner Amy Webb went through 10 terrific steps that anyone could take right now to enhance their work.  The notes to that session are here, and you can also take a look at the Twitter chat here.

Step #8 is Find Your Digital Guru, and this one really struck me.  I thought about how much I’ve developed as a digital journalist, and how much further I need to go to continuously improve my craft.  And I think about all the gurus in my life who have gotten me to this point.  I started my digital journey at NABJ’s 2006 convention (my first one) in Indianapolis.  That’s where I sat in on sessions with the Washington Post’s Mark Luckie (former owner of the 10000 Words blog) and Arizona State University’s Retha Hill.  It was the wisdom they imparted there that got me on the road to blogging.

But I didn’t really get into the whole package until almost a year later, in June 2007.  I was covering an airport marketing/communications conference at a beautiful resort in Tucson, Ariz.  It was the last session of the conference’s second day.  Most people had left for happy hour, pool time or a visit to the spa.  But those of us who stayed and listened to Josh Hallett of the Hyku blog and Voce Communications were given a real treat.  Hallett spent his time showing the possibilities of social media in our work and the tools available to help.  I was transformed.

And it also helped that Hallett is an aviation geek (check out his aviation-related photos at his Flickr account) like me.  We spoke the whole time after the conference.  A month later, we met up at the BlogPhiladephia conference, where he introduced me to many social media/new media folks.  After that, I spoke at his BlogOrlando conference for the next two years on how journalists could use social media for their work.  Thanks to Hallett, I was linked into a community of really cool people doing cutting edge stuff that has greatly helped me in my career.

But there are some great gurus within NABJ that are always willing to help fellow members.  You can check out some of them and other journalists of color doing cool things in the multimedia play pen here.  But some of my current NABJ gurus include:

  • Dr. Sybril Bennett, Associate Professor of the New Century Journalism Program at Belmont University and chair, NABJ convention Programming Chair
  • Doug Mitchell, NABJ Media Institute co-chair; Entrepreneurship/Career Coaching/Project Management/Media Consulting/Classroom Teaching
  • Gina Gayle, photojournalist and professor of practice, Univ of Southern Mississippi
  • Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Associate Professor at Elon University and founder,
  • Mario Armstrong, Tech show Host, Commentator, Digital Lifestyle Expert, Small Biz Tech Advocate
  • Natalie McNeal, Southeastern Regional Editor AOL City’s Best; owner, Frugalista website

I have even more outside of NABJ, including Amy Webb.  But by following and befriending gurus, you only improve your own work.  And here’s a gentle reminder: you have until Wednesday to take 30% off the normal $129 year-long subscription to Amy’s Knowledgewebb site.  Use the code NABJDIGI. You won’t be sorry!!

Posted in journalism, multimedia journalist, Social Media

New Media/Socia Media/Multimedia: Where Is The Diversity?

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

I was scrolling through my Google Reader earlier this month when I read this Dec. 8 post on Steve Buttry’s informative blog on multimedia.  He was writing about News Foo, an invitation-only event that was (as Steve wrote) a “stimulating and thoughtful interaction with creative and innovative journalists, entrepreneurs, digital thinkers and technology pioneers.”  The event was held at the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.  When I read Buttry’s post, my first question was “I wonder how many journalists of color were in attendance?”  You can see the list of attendees here.

I sent out some Tweets to people I would guess should have been invited.  A handful were, but chose not to attend for whatever reason.  But then this post from Retha Hill, director of the new media innovation lab at ASU – who did attend News Foo – offered more information.  And Hill asked the bigger question – why are new media conferences lacking in minorities?  That, in turn, led to a spirited live Twitter chat yesterday hosted by PBS Media Shift, which featured Doug Mitchell, chairman of NABJ’s Media Institute, among other things.  You can follow the chat at the #mediadiversity hash tag.  My big takeaway was one side saying “we don’t know where you new media journalists of color are” on one side and “here we are, but you ignore us” on the other.

Here at NABJDigital, we have worked hard to spotlight and champion journalists of color who we think are doing some interesting things on the new/social/multimedia side of the business.  Below are the ones we’ve done since starting this blog in October 2009.  If you know of others, PLEASE – let us know.!

Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Education, multimedia journalist

Next DJTF Event: NABJ Members Review The 2010 Online News Association Conference

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

EDITOR’S NOTE: The NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force and the NABJ Media Institute recorded our Oct. 29 webinar  “Video Storytelling for Journalists.” You can listen here for free. You need to register to hear  the full webinar.

Right on the heels of our successful Video Storytelling webinar, the Digital Journalism Task Force and the NABJ Media Institute are moving ahead with another program.  The Online News Association held its annual conference here in Washington, D.C., Oct. 28-31.  Several NABJ members were there, so DJTF is doing a BlogTalkRadio show on the event Wednesday, Nov. 17 from 8-9 p.m. Eastern time.

Now in its 11th year, the ONA conference has become one of the must-attend shows on the journalism circuit because it brings together a virtual who’s who of digital/multimedia journalism.  There are also representatives from  community/content editorial, programming, design, education and traditional and new media outlets.  To quote the website:   “Also this year hundreds of participants converged from all around the world to meet and learn about the latest software and hardware tools for content management, search and distribution platforms, to discuss advancements and challenges in the industry and to network face-to-face in order to share best practices.”

Panelists for this show are:

  • Dr. Sybril Bennett, associate professor of journalism at Belmont University;
  • Sarah Glover, staff photographer at the Philadelphia Daily News and PABJ President; and
  • Doug Mitchell, chair of NABJ’s Media Institute, co-director of the Ford Foundation’s New U entrepreneurship
    program and an adjunct professor instructor at the City College of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism.

The panelists will discuss the workshops they attended at ONA, what they learned and how that knowledge needs to be used to help NABJ members stay relevant in the newsroom. We’ll definitely leave plenty of time for your questions.  I hope you can join us!!

Posted in Awards, Education, Entrepreneur, journalism

Update On New U Voting

By Doug Mitchell, Co-Project Director, “The New U: News Entrepreneurs Working Through UNITY.”

Voting for the UNITY/Ford Foundation entrepreneurship program for minority journalists has entered its second week.   Voting closes at midnight Sunday, Oct 17th.  There will be one winner per group and each winner will get a start-up grant of $5,000.  So here’s the tally as of Oct. 10:

Toan – 37.0 %
Anny – 33.0%
Mariel – 20.6%
Raghu – 8.8%

Ciara – 37.5%
Juontel – 24.2%
Yanick – 23.3%
Cassie – 15.0%

Rose – 51.5%
Priscilla – 19.9%
John – 16.4%
Debra – 12.2%

Raymond – 48.0%
Elizabeth – 32.2%
Claudia – 15.2%
Marimer – 4.5%

So far, nearly 2,500 people have cast votes.  And there’s a high number of people who are only voting for one group.  Still, vote totals per group are relatively close.  This is a wide open vote; you do NOT have to be a person of color or a member of one of the associations to vote.  So please help these people achieve their entrepreneurial dreams by clicking here to vote.
Thanks for your participation!
Posted in Conferences & Conventions

New U: News Entrepreneurs Working through UNITY

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

Have you wanted to take your entrepreneurial  journalism idea to the next level?  You now have the chance to get training from experts in the field at this year’s NABJ annual conference in San Diego, according to Doug Mitchell, head of the NABJ Media Institute and co-directors of The New U: News Entrepreneurs Working Through UNITY.

UNITY has received a $100,000 grant from The Ford Foundation to implement New U: News Entrepreneurs Working through UNITY (New U), and they want YOU to apply for this exciting new program. The New U project is intended to increase the number of innovative thinkers and product developers who are of color, providing them with a forum in which to develop and express innovative ideas.

NABJ is the second project in the series and will take place July 28 and 29 in San Diego. The four participants selected will have their travel and three nights’ accommodations covered by UNITY. Interested?  Click here to enroll.