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Lost in the Weeds: Grassroots Media Grows Up

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Lost in the Weeds: Grassroots Media Grows Up

  1. 1. Lost In the Weeds? Grassroots Media Grows Up<br />
  2. 2. Who am I?<br />Christopher Spencer: Born in El Dorado, lives in Fayetteville<br />A journalist since 1998: Worked for the El Dorado News Times, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas<br />Founder of WordCamp Fayetteville and president of the Creative Economy Action Group Inc. Communications chair of the Northwest Arkansas Society of Professional Journalists.<br />Publisher of Ozarks Unbound (June 2009), The Food File.com (April 2010) and Ballotbucks.org (April 2010)<br />700 to 1000 hits a day<br />
  3. 3. Grassroots and Hyperlocal<br />Grassroots Media: Independent, typically small-scale journalism outfits run by someone with a professional media background or at least aspirations. <br />Contains advocacy journalists and citizen journalists who are untrained.<br />
  4. 4. Grassroots and Hyperlocal<br />HyperlocalMedia: A term often ascribed to American Journalist Jeff Jarvis who runs BuzzMachine.<br />Hyperlocalencompasses Grassroots Media plus larger corporate efforts like Patch.com (more than 500 sites nationwide), Main Street Connect, Gannett.<br />
  5. 5. State of Hyperlocals<br />Block By Block: Community News Summit 2011 – This weekend! #bxb11<br />Local Grassroots Media: Ozarks Unbound, Fayetteville Flyer, Arkansas Blog (Arkansas Times), Argenta Times (defunct), The City Wire (Fort Smith), First Arkansas News, Monticello Live, Newport Independent, Washington County Observer <br />
  6. 6. The Internet – No. 3 with a bullet<br />Source: Pew Research Center<br />
  7. 7. Low cost means lots of competitors<br />Less about flash and bang and more about endurance<br />Need to make viewing your site part of their daily routine.<br />Been in the game for more than two years and seen several sites emerge and flame out.<br />
  8. 8. Ozarks Unbound<br />The idea was hatched in a bar like all great things.<br />So many experiments with content, so many failures<br />Two and a half years in, growth is steady and it produces several hundred dollars a month<br />
  9. 9. Ozarks Unbound - Content<br />Announcements: Unedited, raw press releases.<br />Clipped Fresh: Curated aggregation. Cover what you do best, link to the rest. - Jarvis<br />Original Content: Opinion, News, Political Cartoons, Three contributing writers<br />
  10. 10. My (Almost Free) Toolkit<br />
  11. 11. My tools – The Heavy Lifters <br />Server account - $19 a month with Fused Networks <br />100 Gigs bandwidth and 5 Gigs disk space.<br />Need a free ftp program (i.e. Filezilla)<br />
  12. 12. My tools – The Heavy Lifters <br />WordPress (The central wheel)<br />An amazing Content Management System: Free and Priceless <br />36 active plugins right now making my site do what it does. All are free.<br />
  13. 13. What is WordPress?<br />WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. <br />WordPress is used by over 14% of the 1,000,000 biggest websites.<br />Five minute installation<br />
  14. 14. What are people using?<br />Source:<br />
  15. 15. Who is using WordPress?<br />WordPress is used nationally by CNN, the U.S. Government, The New York Times, People Magazine, <br />Locally: Northwest Arkansas Newspapers, Ozarks Unbound, the Washington County Observer, the Fayetteville Flyer, Single Parent Scholarship Fund and numerous other businesses to manage their websites. <br />
  16. 16. Examples of WordPress<br />
  17. 17. WordCamp Fayetteville<br />
  18. 18. WordCamp Fayetteville<br />The purpose of WordCamp Fayetteville is to teach people – including small businesses, nonprofits, educators and journalists – about the free open source WordPress software and other Internet-based innovation. <br />Year One = 100 people at the Town Center<br />Year Two = 200 people at the Reynolds Center<br />
  19. 19. My tools – The Heavy Lifters <br />Open Office (Equivalent to Microsoft Word)<br />I write in WordPress but Open Office is great free software for word processing<br />
  20. 20. My tools – The Heavy Lifters <br />Gimp (Equivalent to Adobe Photoshop) <br />Use it daily to process, retouch and remix images <br />Ethics on images – Be sure you follow copyright on the images. Google images, istockphoto<br />
  21. 21. My tools – The Heavy Lifters <br />Google Reader (Equivalent to AP Wire) <br />My personalized wire service. An area on my site dedicated to headlines from other sites, called Clipped Fresh<br />
  22. 22. Secondary Tools - Occasionals<br />Audacity (Equivalent to Garage Band)<br />For audio remixing. Use it about once a month to remix interviews or sound I gather<br />
  23. 23. Secondary Tools - Occasionals<br />Inkscape (Equivalent to Adobe Illustrator)<br /> For vector-based graphics – creating a square or other design<br />
  24. 24. Secondary Tools - Occasionals<br />Scribus (Equivalent to Adobe Indesign) <br />For document layout, print layout<br />
  25. 25. Secondary Tools - Occasionals<br />Cyberlink Director ($70) <br />For editing video. Do use this often, but only superficial features <br />
  26. 26. Social tools – Bring the Party<br />Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube<br />Perfect for pushing out content – headlines and interacting with readers, bringing new people to the site through organic searches<br />
  27. 27. Actual Tools – The Hardware<br />Still camera/video camera, voice recorder, tripod, iphone, press pass, business cards<br />
  28. 28. Final Cost -$570 and hours of investment in your community<br />Price Tag<br />A laptop <br />$70 – Cyberdirector<br />$200 – Camera<br />$200 – iphone<br />$40 – Voice recorder<br />$15 – Tripod<br />$10 – Name with lanyard<br />$35 – business cards<br />$570 - Total<br />
  29. 29. The Revolution?<br />Time to give traditional media more competition.<br />Let’s plot our media domination together<br />Any Questions?<br />