Teaching for change: KDMC/NAM workshop for ethnic media leaders

This 52 hour stint in Atlanta, teaching social media and technology skills at a workshop for ethnic media leaders (mostly newspaper owners/publishers/top editors) has been transformative. What a great group!

The Knight Digital Media Center and the New American Media group convened this group of about 30 ethnic media executives–some from large and multi-publication companies, other small hyper-local news organizations-for a weekend of teaching around moving to digital. 
Arturo Duran, Michelle McClellan, Craig Matsuda, Dana Chinn and myself were the faculty; themes included the social media ecosystem, making money in the digital realm; managing change in your newsroom and organization, setting priorities for what to do online, and measurement and metrics (always critical).

As someone re-engaging with news folks  first via The Knight News Challenge and now both through teaching and workshops and starting Oakland Local, a hyperlocal news  community hub for Oakland, working with this group was fascinating. 

For one thing, many participants are small-business owners, for another, many have invested little to nothing in the web (at least 2 post PDFs of their print editions, no more). Additionally, while monetizing their efforts are critical (no surprise), jiust about everyone was eager to find the right strategies for their products–and so passionate about their media AND their communities. So, we had the feeling of really progress–I am sitting here listening to the teams present what they will do when they get home–what projects will they do to move their businesses online in a more meaningful way.

Some plans so far as these groups present plans based on what they learned:

  • Add blogging and partner with a social media portal to serve the Korean community in their area
  • Redesign their web site (ethnic site with only PDFs, very static) to reach Pinoys more effectively
  • Add an online photo contest and build a presence on Facebook and Flickr to promote and engage community around a historic African-American hyperlocal news organization
  • Start a social media presence to engage the community and grow audience/page views: YouTube Channel, Facebok and MySpace pages, Twitter stream–and build a feedback loop to be leaders in the Hispanic community in their state
  • Training all staffers at Hispanic news site to do blogging and social media within their workflow and incentivizing them
  • A community engagement project for a hyperlocal African-American community newspaper site  that will add an online community of citizen journalism through their web site (this is SO exciting). Planning to use NIng or KickApps.
  • A Native American newspaper, hyperlocal, that will start creating original content online AND adding social networking on FB and Twitter.
  • The midwestern African immigrant  focused-site is going to use mobile to target a broader base of African ethnic communities, and to recruit citizen journalists who will write for them.
  • The hyperlocal Middle Eastern newspaper, with very little web presence, is jumping in to become THE online multimedia destination for Arab Americans in the US, with RS feeds, ads, and so on(moving from paper focus to the web!)
  • The local historically Black paper that is going to do a jobs-focused site with user generated content and social media.

Susan sez: In such a brief time, I have come to feel so attached so some of these projects.These teams have the passion and the committment I so admire; by taking on web projects they’re jumping into a new learning process that is going to change their businesses–and their lives. (yes, I am an idealist).