1) Last month, at an awards ceremony headlined by Tom Brokaw, the Twin Cities Daily Planet received a Page One award for Best Independent News Web Site from the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists. Here’s what SPJ’s judges said about the Daily Planet:
“The breadth and depth of this site is terrific. It connects on multiple fronts: reader engagement, neighborhood coverage, local opinions, 24/7 updates and a strong commitment to a diversity of voices. tcdailyplanet.net really taps the power of the medium make the community part of the conversation – a lesson some of its competitors could benefit from.”
2) In response to the current economic climate, the Daily Planet is adding a couple of projects designed to support the economic vitality of our neighborhoods and businesses. On May 6 at Rondo Public Library in St. Paul, Matt Bartel of Entropy Publishing taught our first class on Free WordPress Websites for Business or Blogging. This class is designed to help neighborhood businesses and community organizations that can’t afford commercial websites get a presence on the web. We are talking to other community organizations about offering the class again to other communities.
Also, we have reached an agreement with the Metro Independent Business Alliance to feature their BuyLocalMN.com business directory on the Daily Planet, which we hope will increase the visibility of these small locally-owned businesses. That will be implemented as soon as the Daily Planet software upgrade is completed.
3) The Daily Planet was one of 15 new journalism projects, (and one of only four non-profit projects) selected from over 100 applicants to participate in the Knight Digital Media Center’s first Journalism Entrepreneur Bootcamp, held in Los Angeles May 16-21. At the camp, top national experts offered presentations and mentoring on strategies for engaging readers, building audiences, and making the project economically sustainable. On the closing day, when all participants made pitches to a panel of funders, the Daily Planet was singled out by venture capitalist Fred Haney as the one project that might be attractive to venture capitalists. (Except for the fact that we are a non-profit.)
4) Daily Planet editor Mary Turck won a place in the McCormick Foundation / Poynter Institute conference July 12-15 on Big Ideas, Best Practices, including free tuition and subsidized travel costs. Applicants had to submit their best Big Ideas for the future of journalism; Mary submitted our new Stories We’re Working On/ Reporters Notebook feature.
5) At the New America National Ethnic Media Awards, held In Atlanta June 4-5, two Daily Planet media partners, Phillip Lee of Korean Quarterly and Wameng Moua of Hmong Today were honored for journalistic excellence. Both publications were winners in our Minnesota Community and Ethnic Media Awards last December.