March Update: Greek Feast, Community Conversations, Classes and More

We have some exciting events coming up this month, including a special Greek dinner at Gardens of Salonica, a series of community conversations on the “New Normal,” classes on How to Use Facebook and Free Software and Tools You Can Find on the Web, and more. Scroll down to read our editors’ reports.

Greek Dinner / Benefit for the Twin Cities Media Alliance
Thursday, March 23, 6 to 9 p.m.
Gardens of Salonica, 19 5th St. NE, Minneapolis.

The dinner is part of a monthly event that Gardens of Salonica owner Anna Cristoforides calls Symposia. A Series. – festive evenings of eating and drinking and conversation. Anna has generously offered to make her March event a benefit for the Twin Cities Daily Planet. This month’s program will feature performances by the Greek Dancers of Minnesota, a few songs by Greek chanteuse Niki Stavrou (who happens to be owner of Victor’s 1959 Cafe), and an opportunity to meet some some of the people behind the Daily Planet – staff, board members, and other supporters like you.
Anna has come up with a terrific menu of Greek dishes, paired with Greek wines, all served family-style. For details, go to our registration page.
Cost of the dinner is $35 for TCMA members and their guests, and $40 for non-members. (Tax is included, tip is not.) If you have donated to TCMA in the past year, you qualify as a member; if not, any donation of $10 or more will qualify you as a member. (You can make a donation on the same page that you purchase tickets.) Click here to go to our secure ticket purchase and donation page, or copy this link into your browser:

Community Conversations on the New Normal:
The New Normal: Deciding Community Priorities in a Downsized Economy is the Daily Planet’s year-long project of news stories and community conversations, funded by the Bush Foundation, devoted to finding solutions to new economic challenges in our communities. We’re tackling a different issue every month.

The topic for March is neighborhoods, and we’re asking: “In a time of budget deficits and decreasing resources, how can we best promote the economic vitality and livability of our neighborhoods?” Join the conversation, either online or in person at one of our Community Conversations.  Click here to find the times and locations of this month’s conversations.

(Classes are free, but donations are gratefully accepted. )
Thursday, March 24, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
The Green Mill, 57 S. Hamline Ave., St. Paul.
Want to learn how to use TC Daily Planet?  We’ll go over the basics – registering and uploading articles – as well as answering questions and problem-solving. If you don’t have a laptop, email and we’ll try to find one for you to use at the cafe. The coffee, tea or pop is on us. The how-to session will last no more than an hour, and then editor Mary Turck will stick around for a working news desk session (see below.) You’re welcome to stay and contribute your ideas, or just to show up for the news desk editorial meeting at 4:30. To pre-register, email
followed by:
Open News Desk Editorial Meeting, 4:30 to 5:30 pm.
Want to find out what stories are in the works for the Daily Planet? Want to tell us what stories you’d like to see? Come to the open news desk and get an insider’s look at what we do. We are planning to have an open news desk at least monthly during the year ahead, meeting at various venues around the Twin Cities. (If you want a hands-on lesson in posting your own stories, events, etc. on the Daily Planet, come at 3:30 for a how-to workshop.)
Monday, March 28 18:30 – 20:00
Rondo Public Library, 461 N. Dale, St. Paul
Okay, you have a Facebook account. So do 500 million other people. What now? In this class Marcus Genzlinger will offer you ideas and strategies for using Facebook as a tool. Do you want to connect with friends? Start a business? Share photos? Invite people to events? Support a cause? Marcus will tell you how with basic, intermediate, and a few advanced tips to make you more social online. To pre-register, email
Tuesday, March 29 18:30 – 20:00
Rondo Public Library, 461 N. Dale, St. Paul
From word processing software (like OpenOffice) and websites you can build yourself (like WordPress), to online data storage and long-distance calling, the internet is full of free and low-cost tools and downloads that can save you a lot of money, compared to the cost of commercial products and services. The class is free, but donations are gratefully accepted. Web developer Matt Bartel will offer you a guided tour of the best freebies and cheapies, and answer your questions about how to use these resources. To pre-register, email
Editors Reports:

Daily Planet Editor Mary Turck reports:

From the glitter of the Oscars to the New Normal in Twin Cities neighborhoods to the occupation of the state capitol in Madison, the Daily Planet has been all over the map in February. We’ve added new bloggers, published lots of Free Speech Zone articles, and published the first articles by this spring’s interns. We are still looking for more neighborhood correspondents and more neighborhood news, so if you have news from your part of town, just email

Arts Editor Jay Gabler reports:

February has been cold and snowy, and the weather has meant the cancellation of some events—like a Hmong literary event at Open Book—that we would love to have covered, but nonetheless we’ve kept very busy serving up some of the sharpest arts coverage in the Twin Cities. Most excitingly, our reporter Barb Teed was backstage at the Academy Awards, calling me to relay news scoops that we tweeted via ArtsOrbit; red carpet photos by Jeff Rutherford were posted before the Oscars even ended. Academy Awards coverage might seem like a far cry from what you think of when you think of “grassroots citizen journalism,” but in fact it’s precisely the open, inclusive—yet carefully-edited—nature of the Daily Planet that allowed us to facilitate Barb’s and Jeff’s enthusiastic on-the-spot coverage of local angles on a national event that the local legacy media, even with their much bigger budgets, weren’t able to cover.

You can support our work by donating to the Twin Cities Media Alliance through the donation website, (  If you prefer, you can send a check to TCMA, 2600 E. Franklin, suite #2, Minneapolis MN 55406.

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