Posted in journalism, multimedia journalist, Social Media, Uncategorized

Best of DJTF Blog: Kiratiana’s Mini Kickstarter Guide

Editor’s note: We are taking this week off to enjoy the holidays with our families.  So this week, we’ll be re-running past posts.  Today’s post is from DJTF co-chair Kiratiana Freelon, who explains how kickstarter campaigns can bring one’s dream project into reality.  It originally ran on Nov. 15, 2012.  Also, join the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force for a virtual conference “New Year, New You,” on Saturday, Jan. 11 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. In four hour-long sessions, attendees will learn mobile journalism tips and tricks, how to create an online portfolio, steps needed to create your journalism brand and taking your resume to the next level.  You can take 1, 2, 3, or all 4 webinars, and they will be recorded in case you can’t make it. Click here for more information.


When it came time to publish my second travel guide, Kiratiana’s Travel Guide to Multicultural London, I didn’t have enough money to do the research, and pay an editor, designer and proofreader. So how was I going to fund this project? Thanks to new crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo a lack of money can never prevent a dream project from coming to fruition.

I decided to use Kickstarter to help me fund my dream of publishing a Multicultural London e-book.

Kickstarter or IndieGoGo?

Having funded more than 10 Kickstarter projects, I always knew that I wanted to use the Kickstarter platform. When I was researching other platforms around May of 2011, IndieGoGo appeared to be the lesser platform, the one that people used when they didn’t to get accepted to Kickstarter. It was for people who were too scared to do the ALL or NOTHING model. But I have come to respect IndieGoGo in recent months.

To use Kickstarter, you have to propose a PROJECT, which pretty much eliminates non-profits and trips. With Indiegogo, there is no specific type of campaign you must have to raise money. Anything goes. Indiegogo also allows you to raise funds and keep some of the funds if you do not reach your goal. Another plus for Indiegogo – it’s open to international people. As of now, Kickstarter is only open to the United Kingdom. Now I think the platforms are equal to each other and Indiegogo might have even passed Kickstarter as the most respected platform.

How Much?

Your decision on how much money to raise will be the most important decision of your campaign. Obviously, everything starts with the question of how much your project needs. But if your documentary or book needs $50,000 to complete, will you go for that?

Kickstarter says the average pledge is $70. That means for $50,000 you would need 714 pledges. A documentary that I’m working on, Fast Dreams needs this amount to be completed. Unfortunately the director, Harry Davis, is not a super networker (no Facebook or Twitter) and with me having tapped my own network for Kickstarter, our ability to raise $50,000 is limited.  To fundraise for a campaign so large, we would have to make it go viral. When I thought about my own Kickstarter, I knew that there were about 80 people out there willing to support me.

When calculating money, also think about the fees (5% on Amazon Payments and 5% on Kickstarter) and the few people whose credit cards will not go through. So the $6,000 just became $5,500 after all the fees.

How long?

Kickstarter recommends that you do 30 days or less to keep the momentum going through a campaign. I chose 35 days just to give myself a little leeway. If you look at the chart below, I did not really do anything for the first five days. It finally took a friend to push me to start campaigning the day before memorial day weekend. If you have the supporters and really push your campaign I don’t think it will matter how long your campaign is (30-60 days). But do you REALLY want to be doing a Kickstarter campaign for TWO MONTHS?! No.

The campaign went nowhere when I didn’t do anything for the first five days.

The Video & Description & Prizes

I spent more than 20 hours creating the video, description and prizes. For $6,000 everything had to look GREAT. When Kickstarter first began, many of the projects only had pictures. These days all successful projects have a video that describes their project. When you are creating your video, make sure that it can have a use after the Kickstarter project. With a little tinkering, I may be able to use my video as a trailer for my new book.

Creating prizes that were worth their value was very important to me. I had no intention of using Kickstarter for people to GIVE me money. I would offer them something of value you return.

$10 got you the book.

$25 got you the book and Black Paris Guide

$45 got you the book, Black Paris Guide AND PDF.  Okay I’ll admit that one was priced slightly more than it should have been priced.

Do you see a pattern?

Having a spread like this gives someone, no matter what their financial situation, the opportunity to pledge to your campaign. A young person out of college can pledge $10 and your mother can pledge $500.

The Strategy

 I had a relatively simple strategy to jumpstart and sustain my campaign.

1)   Call my relatives and closest friends to personally ask for pledges.

2)   Develop an email campaign for my friends, family and acquaintances.

3)   Reach out to travel bloggers for support in the campaigns with blogs.

4)   FACEBOOK and TWEET it to DEATH.

The last one is what would really put me over the edge. In hindsight, I really wish I had focused on number 3 more. When I posted something about the campaign on the Racialicious blog, it started to go viral.

Facebook versus Twitter

Before I began my campaign I knew that I wanted to use twitter and Facebook to promote it. I also wanted to see if I could leverage my twitter following (about 3,500 at the time) to support the campaign. So I did the following:

1)   Encouraged celebrities to retweet the information about my campaign. While I am sure that this generated more awareness for the I could not find any connection between these tweets and pledges.

2)   Changed my twitter bio to reflect the twitter campaign. (Insert screen shot).  I was surprised by the impact of this relatively simple action. I received at least a dozen tweets from people who didn’t follow me telling me how cool the project was. Yes, twitter bios are extremely important.

3)   Near the end of the campaign, I DM’d my best followers to they could tweet out the message below. Once again, I did not see a direct connection between any tweets and pledges but I am confident that twitter helped to increase the awareness of the campaign.

Now your use of twitter could also depend on the type of project you are proposing. Nick Disabato publishes a quarterly magazine about design and technology and he’s raised more than $25,000 on Kickstarter. According to my twitter chat below with him, most of his campaign promotion is split between an email campaign and a twitter campaign.

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The Facebook Campaign

My Kickstarter campaign did not jumpstart until I launched it on Facebook. Obviously the easiest thing you can do is post it on your wall. Just doing that will not work. If you follow the steps below, I will guarantee you that your Facebook friends will start to pledge.

1)   Create an event for your Kickstarter campaign. When you create an event, make the duration of the event, the duration of the campaign. Then INVITE everyone from your friend list to the campaign. Once you finish inviting them, then start posting into the Facebook group about your Kickstarter. I found that when ever I posted or sent a message to this event, people ALWAYS started to donate.

2)   Send a Facebook message to 200 of your Facebook friends (Believe me people will be mad at you.

3)   Post your Kickstarter project on your Facebook page and tag about 15 of your closest friends. This will help it to go viral and friends will start posting the project on their pages.

4)   Tag anyone when they pledge to your campaign. When someone pledges to your campaign, give them props by tagging them in a Facebook Thank you post.

5) If I were launching a Kickstarter campaign today, I would use Facebook promoted posts to launch and sustain my campaign. Remember, people won’t give the first time they see the campaign. But after several viewings, they will probably do it.

The Email Campaign

Another important part of your campaign will be email. You MUST have an email campaign in which you send out multiple emails. I used Mailchimp to develop a nice looking email campaign.

1)   Send your email to your closest friends and acquaintances.  I sent an email to about 350 people. I sent the email twice to this list, but looking back I think I could have sent out one more email.

The Blogger Outreach and PR Campaign

This is something that I really wish I invested more time and energy into. I reached out to a few bloggers to blog about my campaign and they did as you can see here, and here. I think that their blog posts helped to raise awareness of the campaign but I can’t determine if it led to pledges. But with your fundraiser, you need awareness because on average, a person will not take action until they have seen something seven times.

It wasn’t until I did a guest post for Racialicious that I saw how reaching someone’s audience could help my campaign. It was only until then that I really saw my kickstarter go viral. I started to see new people that I didn’t know before pledge to the campaign.

The Final Product

After four months of researching, writing and fundraising for the book, I finally published it last week. Thank you to all of my Kickstarter funders, many of whom belong to the NABJ for helping me reach my 2012 dream.

Multicultural London

After five months of hard work (with the Olympic and Paralympic Games thrown in there), I finally published my book, Kiratiana’s Travel Guide to Multicultural London

Posted in journalism, multimedia journalist, Webinar

UPDATED – Creating Multimedia Stories With Meograph – The Recording

By Benét J. Wilson, chair, NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force & social media/eNewsletters editor, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

Editor’s note: the Digital Journalism Task Force is working on programming that will take us right to the annual convention. To that end, we’d appreciate it if you could take this quick 5-question survey to let us know what you want. Thanks!!

UPDATE, 4/25, 11:15 A.M. Due to technical difficulties, we are unable to upload the recording of this webinar.  The problem has been fixed, and we shouldn’t have any issues with future webinars.  We apologize for any inconvenience and hope you’ll join us for free programming in the future.

On Tuesday, we did a webinar with Misha Leybovitch, the founder and CEO of Meograph, a four-dimensional multimedia storytelling tool. The tool helps journalists combine video, audio, pictures, text, links, maps and timelines that can be embedded on websites or shared via social media. Leybovitch  demonstrated how easy it is for journalists to take their stories to the next level using Meograph.

UPDATE – please look at these links to Meographs created by different news organizations.


Posted in Education, Entrepreneur, Innovation, journalism

Digital Journalism Task Force Holds #DJTFCHAT on Entrepreneurial Journalism

By Ameena Rasheed, NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force Intern

DJTF Secretary Kiratiana Freelon held a DJTFCHAT last night on  The HOW, WHAT, WHY and WHEN of Journalism Entrepreneurship.

Her guests were:

Click here to see the Storify of the event.

Posted in Education, Entrepreneur, multimedia journalist

Why I Donated To The For Journalism Kickstarter — And Why You Should Too!

By Benét J. Wilson, chair, NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force & social media/enewsletters editor, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

Back at the beginning of 2013, the International Journalists’ Network website did a post entitled “Three skills journalists should learn in 2013.”  I’m not sure if they did this on purpose, but number one on the list is coding.  IJE says we need to learn to code in order to “spruce up a blog or to conceptualize remarkable projects.”

So when my friend and fellow Online News Association board member, USC professor Robert Hernandez, told me about a new Kickstarter to fund the For Journalism: Data Journalism For All project, created to teach journalists how to code different languages, I was hooked.

I believe in helping to fund good journalism projects, and For Journalism is the third Kickstarter I’ve supported.  The first was a project to help DJTF Secretary Kiratiana Freelon’s “Kiratiana’s Travel Guide To Multicultural London,” which helped fund her travel to cover the Summer Olympics and write her book.  You can read Kiratiana’s blog post about doing a Kickstarter program here.  The second was to keep Laura Amico’s DC Homicide Watch blog alive after she won a Nieman Fellowship.

Every dollar counts with the For Journalism Kickstarter, which ends on March 11.   Donations range from a low of $5 to a high of $10,000.  I donated $45, which will allow me to take Michelle Minkoff’s charting and visualization course.  So I encourage you to throw some dollars to this worthy project. Depending on how you donate, not only do you help a worthy project, but you can even take the courses!

Posted in Conferences & Conventions

Storified!! #NABJ12PREP Chat Part II – Ask ANY Question

By Benét J. Wilson, NABJ Program Chair, NABJ DJTF chair & freelance aviation/travel journalist and blogger

We did it again, thanks to popular demand.  This time, we let YOU ask the questions about the upcoming NABJ Annual Convention & Career Fair, and we had a great group of folks generous enough to give you the answers.  Click here for a Storify of the Twitter Chat.  And BIG ups to DJTF Secretary Kiratiana Freelon for producing this second chat!!

See you in New Orleans!!

Posted in Conferences & Conventions

Digital Journalism Task Force Twitter Chat: “How to Prepare for the NABJ Convention”

By Benét J. Wilson, NABJ Program Chair, NABJ DJTF chair & freelance aviation/travel journalist and blogge

On May 21, we had a lively discussion on what to do to prepare for this year’s NABJ Annual Convention and Career Fair, coming up on June 20.  Click HERE to see the full discussion on Storify.  Thanks much to DJTF Secretary Kiratiana Freelon for creating and running our Twitter Chat.

And you can keep up with all the action on my NABJ 2012 convention Tumblr.  And a gentle reminder — pre-registration has been extended to May 25, so you have yet another chance to get a $380 rate, HERE.  It will jump to $550 on May 26, so take advantage of this extension.  And I’ll see you in New Orleans!!

Posted in Conferences & Conventions

NABJ Twitter Chat “How to Prepare for the NABJ Conference” – Monday, May 21 8pm EST–9pm EST

You’ve bought your registration, booked a flight and hotel and are well on your way to the 2012 NABJ Conference in New Orleans. But that’s just the beginning.

The last thing you want to do is show up at the conference without goals or without a plan. And you definitely need one.

The question that should be running in your head right now is “How do I prepare for the NABJ Conference?”

On May 21, from 8pm EST to 9pm EST, the NABJ Digital Journalist Task Force will help you answer that question.

The NABJ Digital Journalists Taskforce is hosting a twitter chat on Monday, May 21 from 8pm EST to 9pm EST on the topic, How to Prepare for the NABJ Conference.

A Twitter chat (or tweet chat) is an online discussion using twitter, so every post is a tweet. Because it’s on Twitter, its open to everyone with a Twitter account. Anyone can participate, or just listen in to learn more about the topic.

Under the hashtag #nabj12prep, the @NABJDigital twitter handle will tweet out nine questions that our “panelists” will answer in 140 characters.  To insure a successful twitter chat full of information, we have invited several panelists who are “experts” in the NABJ conference and can speak on their experience in 140 characters.

Bob Butler @bobbutler7– Bob Butler is a reporter at KCBS radio and Vice President of the Broadcast. He always offers advice to first time NABJ Conference attendees and is a tireless advocate of getting more minorities into broadcast.

Kelley Carter @kelleylcarter – Kelley Carter is a longtime NABJ Conference attendee, having first attended the NABJ conference as college student. She now serves as the President of the Entertainment taskforce and can often be seen on television talking about entertainment.

Dr. Sybril Bennett @drsyb – Sybril Bennett, Ph.D. is an associate professor of journalism and the Executive Director of the New Century Journalism program at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Last year she served as the program chair for the NABJ Philadelphia conference.

 Serbino Sandifer-Walker @sswalker – As a multimedia journalism professor at Texas Southern University, Sandifer-Walker has developed new social media tools for journalists, including the #twitternewschat, and the social media correspondents daily.

Ingrid Sturgis @isturgis– Ingrid Sturgis is an assistant professor of new media in the Howard University  Journalism department. She recently published the book, Are Traditional Media Dead? Can Journalism Survive in the Digital World?

Marissa A. Evans @marissaaevans – Marissa Evans is president of the Marquette University student NABJ Chapter. She’s an alum of the San Diego Union Tribune, Star Tribune, New York Student Journalism program and this year will be a Chips Quinn Scholar for The Washington Post metro desk.

In addition to these esteemed NABJ members, we’ll also have DJTF board members Melanie Eversley (@melanieeversley), Benet Wilson (@avqueenbenet and 2012 NABJ Conference Program Chair), Kiratiana Freelon (@kiratiana), Andrew Humphrey (@andrewhumphrey), and Tracie Powell (@tmpowell) on the chat as well.

To participate in the twitter chat, do the following:

1)    Use a twitter platform like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck that will allow you to manage multiple twitter streams.

2)    Create a twitter search stream for #nabj12prep.

3)    Create another twitter stream for the @NABJDigital  stream.  This is where all the questions will come from.

4)    Answer the questions, retweet and reply to the panelists (or anything you find that is good) but ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS use the hashtag – #NABJ12prep

Happy Twitter Chatting!!