Sunday, August 12, 2007

A hunger for connection

People are engaging through the Internet, said Steve Yelvington, which means opportunities for news organizations to facilitate and aggregate conversations and build communities among people. Yelvington, of Morris DigitalWorks, gave seminar participants an inside look at Bluffton Today, hyperlocal Web and print products for a South Carolina community "in conversation with itself."
Circulation of newspapers across the country has been declining for years. But Bluffton Today enjoys a strong readership that newspapers enjoyed in the 1970s. "Participation breeds loyalty," he said. "The relationship with the product changes when people are involved."

He offered these skills sets for success: Community building; conversational writing and listening; presentations and group interaction; guerrilla marketing and promotion; not technology ("This is not fundamentally a technology problem; it's a people problem.")

- Kate Kennedy of the Freedom Forum

On your mark, get set, go ...

The Freedom Forum's Diversity Institute (that's it at right) will be filled with professional journalists and guests tonight for the kickoff of the first online and multimedia reporting seminar.

Twenty-one graduates of Freedom Forum diversity programs are attending a one-week seminar to learn more about the world of online news. They are 12 Chips Quinn Scholars, three Diversity Institute graduates, one graduate of the American Indian Journalism Institute and four ASNE/APME Fellows. And one participant is both an ASNE/APME Fellow and Chips Quinn Scholar alum.

After introductions, Steve Yelvington starts us off. He is principal strategist for Morris DigitalWorks in Georgia. Stay tuned for Steve's remarks and more as participants post to this seminar blog.

- Kate Kennedy of the Freedom Forum