March Update, Newsroom Cafes, Classes and More

Our Newsroom Cafes and Classes offer great opportunities for you to hone your journalism and media skills – this month’s topics range fromWhat’s Tumblr?, and How to Write About Art to Twitter 101 and Introduction to WordPress. Scroll down for details, and to read our editors’ reports about the highlights of the past month.

Newsroom Cafes: 

Instead of holding writers group sessions every week at the same times and places, editors Jay Gabler and Mary Turck are shaking things up a bit: different days, different times, different places, and each time a different focus – though you can still come and workshop stories that you are working on – regardless of the topic.
Tuesday, March 13, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.: Neighborhood Notes 
Espresso Royale, Fairview and Randolph, St. Paul
Who’s gathering news in your neighborhood? It could be you – and we can help you find the stories and events and upload them to the Daily Planet news columns and community calendar. From a paragraph to a page, bring your stories and we’ll get them on the news wire. We’ll meet at Espresso Royale on Fairview and Randolph. Led by Daily Planet editor Mary Turck.
Monday, March 19, 2 to 3 p.m.: What’s Tumblr?
Cosmic’s Coffee, 189 N. Snelling Ave., Saint Paul
Have you heard about Tumblr, but aren’t sure what it is? Do you have one, but you want to use it more effectively to share and gather information? Arts editor Jay Gabler will be talking Tumblr—and anything else regarding Daily Planet news coverage—today at Cosmic’s Coffee.
Tuesday, March 20, 9 to 10 a.m.: Health Beat
Ambrosia Coffee, 7373 France Avenue S., Edina
We’re developing a health beat at the TC Daily Planet, and it just happens that three of the writers live south of Minneapolis. So come and talk about the health beat stories that you are working on – or that you’d like to work on – or that you’d like to see someone else write. (Mary Turck)
Tuesday, March 27, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.: St. Paul Stories 
Espresso Royale, Fairview and Randolph, St. Paul.
St. Paul stories – from alley gardens to election campaigns. What’s happening and who wants to write about it? (Mary Turck)
Wed, March 28, 5 to 6 p.m.: How to Write About Visual Art
Urban Bean Cafe, 3255 Bryant Avenue S., Minneapolis
What should you look for in paintings and sculpture? How can you tell what the artist was trying to do, and whether he or she succeeded? Arts editor Jay Gabler will be talking about visual arts writing—and any/all other aspects of the Daily Planet’s news coverage—today at the Urban Bean on Bryant.

Classes: 

Monday, March 26, 7 to 9 p.m.
Daily Planet office, 2600 E. Franklin, suite #2, Minneapolis
(enter from parking lot behind Wells Fargo Bank building.)
What is Twitter, and how can you use it effectively to connect with your friends, colleagues, and – for business owners – potential customers? Go from being a novice to a power user by taking this two-hour class from Jay Gabler, associate editor of the Daily Planet, who was voted #1 best tweeter of 2011 by the readers of Vita.mn.
Tuition for this class is $10, but scholarships are available upon request. Register at TheDatabank.com.
Thursday April 5, 7 to 9 p.m.
Daily Planet office, 2600 E. Franklin, suite #2, Minneapolis
(enter from parking lot behind Wells Fargo Bank building.)
In this class, instructor Harry Beckwith will cover all the basics of using WordPress 3.0 to create feature-rich blogs and websites. We will walk through everything from setting up an account to launching your first website. Topics include:
·      Building and modifying a profile.
·      Publishing posts and pages.
·      Utilizing page templates.
·      Inserting images and other media.
·      Working with themes.
·      Understanding widgets.
Tuition for this class is $10. Scholarships are available upon request. Register at thedatabank.com.
Tuesday, April 17,  7 to 8:30 p.m. (rescheduled from February.)
Daily Planet office, 2600 Franklin Avenue E, Suite #2 (enter from parking lot.)
You know that social media is a great way to market your business and share information about your brand, but where do you start? How do you find time to fit it all in? During this hour and a half workshop, learn how to set up a business Facebook page and engage your fans. Discover ways to curate and distribute consistent information and grow your fan base. This workshop will also offer suggestions for how to set up your own editorial calendars related to social media content, ways to maximize your Facebook efforts when your time is limited, and general best practices in social media. Time will be left at the end for open discussion and questions. Laptops suggested, but not required.
Who should attend? Small business owners, CEOs and entrepreneurs interested in learning how to use Facebook to create awareness and expand business reach. This workshop is intended for individuals who are looking for ways to increase their Facebook presence and/or who are new to Facebook business pages.
Instructor Melissa Harrison is founder of Allee, a marketing and creative services firm in Albertville, Minn. As a strategic marketing professional with more than a decade of experience in working with nonprofits, member-based organizations and small businesses, Melissa integrates traditional marketing strategies with new media tools and concepts.
Tuition for this class is $10; scholarships are available upon request. Register at TheDatabank.com.
Staff reports: 
Daily Planet Editor Mary Turck reports:
During the past month, our education coverage included tracking the teacher contract negotiations and an in-depth look at Somali students (and teachers) in the Twin Cities. We also published School detective: A parent’s guide to school data in Minneapolis and St. Paul, which is a valuable resource for parents, education activists and anyone who wants to find school data. If you haven’t done so yet, click here to subscribe to our weekly Education News.
Spring may not officially have arrived, but the garden, community garden, and talking-about-garden season is definitely here, so TC Foodies has included lots of coverage of Twin Cities gardening, including this week’s announcement that Frogtown Farm is on the verge of becoming a reality.
Behind the scenes — check out the many classes and workshops that we offer and take a look at the new “about” page, which showcases the diversity of our TC Daily Planet people.
Arts Editor Jay Gabler reports:
A highlight of our arts coverage in February was sending reporter Courtney Algeo and photographer Jamie Millard to the Academy Awards in Hollywood—making us the only Minnesota publication represented among the red carpet press! Courtney and Jamie even sported gowns custom-made for the occasion by Minnesota designer Sarah Holm. Also this month, we switched the format of our Arts Orbit Radar event picks, publishing one pick each day rather than lumping them in one big article. This change will help us cover a broader array of events and spread that coverage over the course of the week; and will make it easier for readers to share the individual picks that pique their interest. In March we’ll be continuing our strong coverage of the local arts scene—especially in the bustling University District, thanks to our partnership with the Southeast Publications Board—and I’ll be taking a trip to Texas to see how Minnesota bands fare at the SXSW Music Festival, just a few miles down I-35!
You can support our work by donating to the Twin Cities Media Alliance through the GiveMN.org donation website, (http://givemn.razoo.com/story/Twin-Cities-Media-Alliance).  If you prefer, you can send a check to TCMA, 2600 E. Franklin, suite #2, Minneapolis MN 55406.

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