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Lost in the Weeds: Grassroots Media Grows Up
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Lost in the Weeds: Grassroots Media Grows Up

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