January Update: A great year behind us, an exciting, challenging year ahead / Upcoming classes

We had a great year in 2013 – you can read about it in our staff reports. And we have exciting plans for the year ahead:

We are upgrading the Daily Planet website to make it better-looking, easier to read and easier to use – watch for a grand relaunch sometime this spring.
We are redesigning the Twin Cities Media Alliance website to reflect the big changes in our organization. Did you know that in the past year, TCMA has become one of the Twin Cities biggest providers of free and low-cost media skills classes to individuals and organizations? (Details in Bruce Johansen’s report.)
Now that we have a faculty of over 20 media professionals who teach classes for TCMA, we are developing plans to expand our class offerings, and provide customized media training, media consulting and low-cost videos and websites.
But we are also facing some big challenges. We have always been heavily dependent on foundation support to fund our work, publishing the Daily Planet and empowering Twin Citizens with the media skills and resources they need to participate fully in the life of our community. Going in to the new year, we have a lot less of that foundation support than we had in the past. So we will be turning to our community – our readers and supporters – to provide more of the resources we need to carry on our work.

There are a variety of ways that you can help:

Make a membership donation. To donate, visit our secure GiveMN online donation page, or send a check to TCMA, 2600 E. Franklin #2, Minneapolis MN 55406.
Join our board of directors, or serve on a committee. The board ordinarily meets six times a year, though additional meetings are occasionally scheduled as necessary. To learn more, send an email to TCMA board chair Daniel Getahun – dgetahun@umn.edu, and tell us a little about your interests and experience.
Volunteer. We are reactivating the Twin Cities Media Alliance’s volunteer program, and looking for help in the areas of event support, fundraising and marketing. Click here to fill out the volunteer form, and I’ll be in touch. You can also submit that form if you are interested in paid or unpaid editorial opportunities with the Daily Planet – writing, photography or editing.
Send us your ideas. Tell us what you want from the Twin Cities Media Alliance and Daily Planet, and how we can better serve our community. (Just reply to this email.)
Sausage Fest! Mark your calendars! The 2014 TC Daily Planet Sausage Fest is scheduled for Wednesday, February 5 at the Summit Brewing Company in St. Paul. Tickets will go on sale soon. This event sells out quickly, and we’ll give priority to Daily Planet members. (Any donation of $10 or more qualifies you as a member.) If you want to be notified when tickets go on sale, send me a note at jeremy@tcmediaalliance.org, with Sausage Fest in the subject line.

Scroll down to read our staff reports, and a list of upcoming classes.

And please remember: your support of the Twin Cities Media Alliance makes all of this work possible.


Jeremy Iggers, executive director

Staff reports:

Editor Mary Turck reports:
2013 was a banner year for readership! We increased both unique vistors and visits by more than 50 percent over 2012. Our terrific writers get the credit for making the Daily Planet more interesting and informative this year. They include our Media Skills Fellows, who have contributed articles and op/ed essays, as well as new writers. And we have seen a great increase in community engagement with the Daily Planet, with about 400 Community Voices articles published in 2013, and a big increase in comments. Those Community Voices articles include the widely read (and commented) Community Voices articles on the Hmong 18 Clan Council and bride prices, on racism and the Guthrie’s production of Clybourne Park, and on the Miss Saigon controversy. Our education coverage has been wide-ranging and significant, from the racial tensions at Green Central Park school in Minneapolis to the special series on teacher licensure and training to how testing fails special education students. On the arts side, our Fringe coverage was stellar; teen reviewers are regularly published; and emerging writers are covering the under-the-radar arts scene in (mostly young) ethnic and immigrant communities, such as Farhiyo Abdulkarim’s coverage of Late Nite at Pillsbury House Theater.

Community Engagement Editor Lolla Mohammed Nur reports:
2013 was a successful year for us on many fronts. While continuing to build on our coverage of local issues and underrepresented communities, we also had many firsts. These included launching a fall and spring cohort of media skills fellows, successfully completing a pilot community storytelling project in Seward, and hosting a well-attended and diverse fall media forum.
An overarching theme of our work in 2013 was building partnerships, being more intentional about our collaborations, and strengthening relationships with underrepresented communities in local media. These include communities of color, immigrant communities, and under-the-radar arts communities. More recently, our editors have been working to nurture our pool of emerging arts writers, who have covered local hip hop events, North Minneapolis arts workshops, and arts performances.
We closed out the year with a bang with our fall media forum, which brought together Twin Cities artists, nonprofit professionals, community organizers, and media makers. Our keynote speaker, spoken word artist and hip hop educator Guante, tackled the topic of “New Media Strategies for Diverse Audiences” in an accessible and interactive way. The forum covered subjects such as how to use media to engage with underrepresented communities, social media 101, and the barriers to media access for communities of color.
In 2014, we hope to continue building on the relationships we’ve cultivated among our media, arts, and nonprofit partners and supporters in 2013. I look forward to seeing what the new year will bring!

Bruce JohansenProgram manager for Training and Engagement Bruce Johansen reports:
2013 was a year of relationship building, engaging diverse communities, and providing more people throughout the Twin Cities with the tools, skills, and support they need to tell the stories of their communities, organizations, and businesses. Grants from the Bush Foundation and McKnight Foundation allowed us to provide free, customized media and communications workshops and coaching sessions to area nonprofit organizations, neighborhood associations, and small business owners on everything from issue-framing, to “telling your story to make a difference,” to developing new, dynamic media strategies, to promoting your business or organization on Facebook. Through this work we formed new partnerships and deepened our existing relationships with a variety of groups and community members, all of whom received valuable assistance on how to get their messages out more effectively and to new audiences.

The number of public classes we offer also took a dramatic leap in 2013. Through an arrangement with the Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA) we cultivated relationships with a highly qualified group of instructors who provided 75 social media classes–at libraries throughout the area–aimed primarily at small business owners. At the same time we increased the number and variety of affordable social media, citizen journalism, photography and video classes being offered at the Daily Planet office, an essential part of meeting our commitment to empower people through media and help close the digital divide. Monthly Social Media Clinics continue to be an important part of the mix, as do Newsroom Cafes. Among the highlights of 2013 were Newsroom Cafes held at Avenue Eatery in North Minneapolis, something that will continue, beginning in January 2014. In the coming year we look forward to lots of things, including expanding the variety of trainings and services we offer.

Newsroom Café – Arts writers | Thu, 01/16/2014 – 4:30pm
Twin Cities Daily Planet
2600 Franklin Avenue E. (enter from parking lot behind bank)
Minneapolis, MN
Join our group of emerging writers to workshop stories-in-progress. Non-arts writers are welcome!
Interviewing for the story: Crafting compelling narrative – Pre-registration required | Thu, 01/16/2014 – 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Twin Cities Daily Planet
2600 Franklin Avenue E. (enter from parking lot behind bank)
Minneapolis, MN
An interesting event, an interesting person – they can sometimes be difficult to translate into a written story.
Newsroom Café – North Mpls | Tue, 01/21/2014 – 4:30pm
Avenue Eatery
1101 W Broadway Avenue
Minneapolis, MN
North Minneapolis shout out: If you want more positive images/stories from North Minneapolis in the news – join us and find out how you can help!
January Social Media Clinic – Preregistration Required | Thu, 01/23/2014 – 4:00pm – 6:00pm
Twin Cities Daily Planet
2600 Franklin Avenue E. (enter from parking lot behind bank)
Minneapolis, MN
Do you use social media in your work? Have questions about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or other social media?
Facebook 101 at Mississippi Library – Pre-registration required | Sat, 01/25/2014 – 10:30am -12:30pm
Mississippi Library
410 Mississippi St NE
Fridley, MN
Facebook is a great tool for a small business or organization to increase your social media presence, but where do you start and find the time to fit it all in?
Writing Your Story: The Courage to Tell the Truth – Pre-registration required | Wed, 01/29/2014 – 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Twin Cities Daily Planet
2600 Franklin Avenue E. (enter from parking lot behind bank)
Minneapolis, MN
In this workshop we will discuss facing the blank page and how to generate material.

Make the Most of Google Docs at Robert Trail Library – Pre-registration required | Fri, 01/31/2014 – 10:30am – 12:30pm
Robert Trail Library
14395 S. Robert Trail
Rosemount, MN
You know that Google makes high-quality software from Internet search to e-mail to maps, but what about documents?

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