Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Record's bass fishing forum was another successful community event

We hosted our first bass fishing forum in The Record's community media lab last night as part of our on going "Community Forums" series at the newspaper, which drew a healthy crowd of 26 individuals throughout the evening.

Sean Wilkes, author of the blog, Fishing Out Loud, hosted the forum and did a great job engaging the audience with data from his own fishing experiences, first account accounts of what tactics worked better for him in different fishing situations, and, especially, the variety of equipment and tackle he brought for a show-and-tell session afterward.

He made it clear to the audience that this was the first time he had given such a presentation, but from their reactions afterward, they would have never known otherwise.
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Monday, March 28, 2011

30 day ideaLab project update - stream of blogs on the way

Here's an update on my 30 day ideaLab project I mentioned previously on growing's blogging community by enlisting the help of our newsroom staff.

After just a week, we already have two new blogs added to the website (From Congo to Colonie, and Generation X Mom) thanks to one of our newsroom editors, Siobhan Connally, who blogs about her own experiences as a mother of two on The Record's site as well.

Another reporter is in the process of setting up blogs with two individuals interested in starting their own blogs and a few other staffers have begun reaching out to perspective recruits.

So far, I'd say things are moving along nicely towards my goal of having each newsroom staffer ad two by the end of our 30-day ideaLab deadline. More updates on this effort soon.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

30 day ideaLab project - Training newsroom to grow community bloggers

As a member of Journal Register Company's ideaLab, I've been tasked with completing a 30-day project to help solve one of the "problems" going forward with a digital-first operating structure at The Record.

I've chosen to tackle the task of growing our community bloggers on by training each member of our newsroom to recruit two additional bloggers and act as a contact person for the individuals going forward.

I believe this will solve at least two issues affecting our staff.

First, it will provide training for each staff member involved so that they will be able to walk away in 30 days and confidently say that they know the basics of setting up a blog, as well as how to answer basic questions bloggers may have about their relationship with the newspaper and its website.

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Promos for upcoming Community Media Lab forums

Here are the latest promos for our next set of Community Forums to be hosted by The Record in our Community Media Lab. They will be held next week, on Mar. 29 and 31, focusing on bass fishing tips as well as how to best use Social Media.

If interested, please register using the included links.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Photosynth - A new tool for me to learn and teach

As part of our next JRC ideaLab assignment, I'll be trying to learn as much as I can about Photosynth, an online photo-stitching application that allows you create seemingly 3D images from multiple photos in one location.

This is something that could really make photos for news and sports stories stand out and become more interactive for readers as they page through The Record's website and I'm excited to try it out with the hopes that it becomes part of our news gathering routine in the near future.

Here is an example of a scene assembled using the software (from Photosynth website, not one I shot):

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Another successful community forum in The Record's Community Media Lab

Monday night brought another successful turnout for the second Irish genealogy forum hosted by The Record in our new Community Media Lab. The subject of the presentation by Lisa Dougherty, a volunteer with the National Archives, was "Finding a place of origin for your Irish ancestors."

A total of 49 individuals turned out, with more than 15 new faces and many of the same people who attended our first Irish night on March 10.

After talking to many individuals after the event, I found that several of them were interested in what kind of future events The Record would be hosting in the location in the future - great news for us looking to engage more of our readership with each of the events that we plan to hold going forward.

Check out a full recorded live-stream of the event below.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

The Record's Irish genealogy forum draws large community audience, w/ VIDEO

An amazing crowd of just over 50 individuals attended The Record's community-driven forum on Irish Genealogy in our newly-opened Community Media Lab, showcasing what is possible for these types of events in the future.

As I mentioned in my previous post, we kicked our promotion for the Irish forum into high gear after the poor results we had with our initial attempt at a tax forum Tuesday evening.

Using updates on The Record's website, social media accounts, blog posts, and the online event-planning website, Eventbrite, we were able to attract a fantastic crowd of interested individuals for last night's presentation.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

First results of community-driven forums at The Record: Trial and error before success

When it comes to trying new things related to community engagement, digital tools, or training our staff members, Jonathan Cooper, Journal Register Company's VP of content has been telling us in the ideaLab for sometime to follow the Nike approach and "Just Do It."

We did just that at The Record this spring when it came to trying to organize community-driven forums and other events in our new Community Media Lab, a room we set up with a television screen with PC hookups, free wireless Internet, and enough space to sit roughly 50 or so people comfortably with a speaker up front.

The first of such forums was planned for Tuesday evening, with a Tax Tips forum led by one of our community bloggers, Kevin O'Leary of Marvin and Company, P.C. in Latham.

We ran house ads in our paper for over a week and a half promoting the event and pushed it out several times via The Record's social media accounts, not to mention pushing it out on several blogs, including this one, and even passing traditional paper flyers around town.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Times Union closes bureaus, changes focus to mobile journalism as JRC remains "digital first"

The Albany Times Union, a Hearst Corporation newspaper, announced Wednesday in an article that it plans two close its bureaus in Troy and Saratoga Springs and "embrace an industry trend toward mobile journalism."

The article went on to state that the change could increase the presence of Times Union journalists in New York's Capital District due to the fact that their personnel would "be equipped and trained to work as mobile journalists who can report and file stories from outside a traditional newsroom".

Further down, they bring up the notion and benefits of "coffee-shop" journalism, mentioning how Journal Register Co., which owns The Record in Troy and The Saratogian in Saratoga Springs, has been "experimenting" with the additions of coffee shops and Internet cafes to its newsrooms.

First off, good for them. It's nice to see media companies come to the realization that having physical remote offices are a thing of the past.

However, the article is a tad misleading in its structure.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Results of The Record's UPickem-powered Oscar contest

I am pleased with the results that we had with this contest.

Using UPickem, I set up a multiple choice contest with six Oscar categories, including Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, Actress in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, and Foreign Language Film.

We began promoting this about two weeks ahead of the 83rd Academy Awards, starting by throwing a link up on our Latest Updates online, a small promos button on the left rail of, and a small graphic on Pages 2 and 3 of the print product.

As it got closer, we began to attach graphics to our daily Entertainment pages, especially with any Oscar-related wire stories, and, in the final days, began including bold text under the graphics such as “ readers think Natalie Portman will win the Oscar for Actress in a Leading Role. What you do think? Log on to share your predictions!”

We ended the submission period just as the Oscars began on Sunday evening with a total of 56 entries by our audience. As the awards were given out through the night, I updated the correct answers on the back end of UPickem and finally selected an overall winner using the automated system.
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More community-driven forums coming to The Record in March!

March 29thBass Fishing in the Capital District
Just in time for the start of the spring fishing season, The Record welcomes blogger Sean Wilkes, author of Fishing Out Loud, who will discuss the tips and tactics he uses to catch bass in the Capital District and beyond from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The same tactics can be applied to a variety of species, so all are welcome to attend.

Topics will include researching new water, adjusting to the changing seasons and weather, tackle, and techniques for both boaters and shore fishermen.

Anyone who attends will receive a Kistler Rods VIP card entitling them to large discounts on the purchase of new rods.

March 31stGetting more out of Social Media
Have you ever wondered if you are getting the most of Facebook and Twitter? We at The Record feel the same way and invite you to join our staff from 6:30 to 8 p.m. to get tips and best practices from some local experts in the field.

Rhea Drysdale, CEO of Outspoken Media in Troy, will talk about the benefits of using social media for personal branding, the big picture of using such tools for two-way conversations, and using tools like TweetDeck and others to manage data feeds.
She will also touch on the use of other popular social networking sites such as Reddit, Linked-In, FourSquare, and Digg.

Cailin Brown, an associate professor who teaches journalism at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, will discuss the benefits of social media from a journalism perspective, based on her experience both as a reporter and professor, including some of what she currently teaches as best practices to her students.

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