May Update: Birthday party, upcoming classes, editors reports and more

Executive Director’s Report:

We have some exciting classes scheduled this month – see Bruce Johnson’s report below for highlights, or scroll down for more staff reports, and a complete list of classes, Newsroom Cafes and this month’s social media clinic. But first, I want to make sure you received this invitation:

We’re celebrating the Daily Planet’s 7th birthday this month with a party from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22 at Cause Spirits and Soundbar, 3001 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis, and you’re invited. We’ll take a little time to look back on past accomplishments and talk about future plans, but mostly it will be a chance to celebrate and socialize. The appetizers and birthday cake are on us; there will also be a cash bar with happy hour pricing.  If you would like to join us, please RSVP to, or go to our Facebook event page at and sign up. And feel free to invite your friends.

Staff reports: 
Bruce JohansenProgram manager for Training and Engagement Bruce Johansen reports: 
One April highlight was photographer Tom Baker’s hands-on photojournalism class which had people pounding the pavement outside our office, snapping pictures of people they encountered on one of the first nice spring evenings of the year. All 10 photographers reconvened indoors where Tom critiqued their images and offered helpful suggestions. More than one participant expressed how ecstatic they were about receiving such generous and helpful feedback from a professional.
Also a highlight, a Twitter coaching session offered by Lolla Mohammed Nur to staff at OAP, the Organizing Apprenticeship Project. The session at OAP’s office was a great mix of learning, laughter, community- and skill-building. Through a generous grant from the Bush Foundation, OAP is one of 25 area nonprofits that TCMA is partnering with to help address media and communications needs this year.
Lots coming up in May. Marcos Lopez-Carlson will offer a new and much needed class, Personal Privacy in a Social (Media) World. Freelance photographer Avye Alexandres, a Jerome Foundation/Northern Lights grant recipient is teaching Digital Photography for the Amateur: What Makes a Great Photo and How to Hone Your Craft. And Tom Baker is back with The Basics of Exposure and What Makes a Good Photograph. Don’t forget that Jay Gabler facilitates a monthly social media clinic to help you successfully navigate your way through the online forest of information. Those take place at our office the last Thursday of each and every month. Check back frequently for updated listings
Arts Editor Jay Gabler reports:
We’ve always been committed to citizen journalism, and now we’re creating even more ways for you to share your news and views directly with our local communities. Our new Community Voices section allows Twin Cities residents to share their voices, no matter what their interests. For example, Mark Mahoney was excited about an upcoming performance by jazz pianist Craig Taborn, so he submitted a Community Voices article that we also used to feature the event as a TCDP Top Pick. To learn more about how you can use the Daily Planet to connect with our local communities about arts events you love, see the rightmost column at

Editor Mary Turck reports:
Do you ever wonder about the stories behind the people holding cardboard signs at intersections and freeway ramps? Nick Sucik did more than wonder — he proposed a series of video interviews. Sounded like a great idea to us, so you can now watch Kim’s story and Josh’s story and Mark’s story of their lives behind the signs. We help people to tell their stories, and we also dig for the stories that aren’t being told, such as Sheila’s coverage of Green Central changes and parents’ fears. If you haven’t yet subscribed to our daily newsletter, click here and get a roundup of story and blog headlines every day.

Community Engagement Editor Lolla Mohammed Nur reports:
Our ongoing mission at the Twin Cities Daily Planet is to bolster community engagement – both in our content and in our relationships with those out in the community itself. Besides continuing our media skills fellowship and publicizing their life stories and fellowship accomplishments, we have also been continuing our work with Bush nonprofit partners in providing social media and digital literacy trainings. Also, check out some of our Our Stories pieces that have received wide attention, such as a preview of a local aerial arts play on black womanhood and the prison industrial complex, and an interview with an Ethiopian-Minnesotan student who is giving back to Ethiopia by founding a kids’ soccer organization there.
Harry KentCommunity Asset Mapping / Neighborhood Engagement Intern Harry Kent reports:
My name is Harry Kent and I have been the Community Asset Mapping Intern for the last couple of months here with the Media Alliance.  I am writing because our Neighborhood Engagement Specialist, Maggie Pearson, is currently engaging in some trans-national community engagement of her own in Europe!  Before she left for her vacation, we got some great input and updates from businesses in Hamline-Midway for our business directory.  We also had the chance to meet with Lori Greene, owner of Mosaic on a  Stick, to get a sneek-peak at her new location
I am currently in the midst of wrapping up plans for our photowalk in the Hamline-Midway thisMonday, May 13th.  From 5:00-7:30, we will be walking through the neighborhood, taking photos of cool community buildings and sights that we see and then discussing our thoughts and results over refreshments at Gingko Coffeehouse (721 N. Snelling Ave.)!  If you want to join us, email me at!  Feel free to send any wishes to Maggie as I’m sure she’s been struggling to enjoy the warm European sun.
Volunteer to mentor Daily Planet citizen journalists!
We are looking for experienced professional journalists who want to share their skills by mentoring our citizen journalists. Interested?  We will meet with you to introduce the Daily Planet, including our assignment procedure, pre- and post-story engagement process, and expectations for stories. Then we’ll try to match you with a citizen journalist who would like help in improving reporting and writing skills. You’ll meet with the citizen journalist to get acquainted and then agree on how you can best help — probably by conferring about the story at the time of assignment (including pre-story engagement plans), reviewing/editing the first draft of the story, and discussing possibilities for post-story engagement and follow-up.  To volunteer, or for more information, contact Daily Planet editor Mary Turck,
Newsroom Cafes:

If you are interested in reporting for the Daily Planet, or want help with a story-in-progress, stop in at a Newsroom Café.

Newsroom Café with Mary Turck
Wed, 05/15/2013 – 4:00 p.m. at the Black Dog Cafe, 308 East Prince Street in downtown St. Paul.

To find Mary, look for the laptop with the “I Heart the First Amendment” sticker!

Newsroom Cafes with Jay Gabler
Thu, 05/23/2013 – 2:00pm – 3:00pm at the Bull Run Coffee Bar, 3346 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis
To find Jay, look for the laptop with the Freaky Deeky sticker.
Twin Cities Media Alliance Classes

Our location: Many of our classes are held at the Twin Cities Daily Planet office (though many are not—see each class listing for location information). Our office is centrally located, but it can be a little tricky to find if you don’t realize that we are in the Wells Fargo bank branch at 2600 E. Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis. Free parking is available in the bank’s parking lot; to get to our office, enter through the bank’s back door—from the parking lot. You’ll see the door to our office right across from the ATM. If the bank is closed, you can get into the vestibule by swiping any ATM card; otherwise, just step over to our window and give us a knock!

Thu, 05/16/2013 – 6:30pm – 8:30pm
2600 Franklin Avenue E. – enter through the bank’s back door
Suite 2
Mpls., MN

What makes a good photograph? The composition? The direction of light? The subject matter? The exposure? Come learn the answers to these questions and gain insight into the basics of improving your photography skills in a two-hour class with freelance photographer Tom Baker. Tom will help you understand terms like aperture, shutter speed, depth of field, overexposure/underexposure, focal length, and other terminology, while explaining the elements that must come together to create an effective and appealing photo that can provide content and meaning to the viewer. His approach will be from the standpoint of a photojournalist, but will also give examples of artistic and landscape photography to help aid understanding and importance of color, light, pattern, and depth. Camera types covered will be SLRs, point-and-shoot, and cell phones. Tom will even explain the basics of using that pesky flash that can be frustrating for most to work with. In the end, you will have the tools to help you understand what makes a good photograph and the knowledge to apply them to your own photography.

Tuition is $10.00. Scholarships are available. Please register at TheDataBank.

Mon, 05/20/2013 – 10:15am – 12:15pm
1101 W Co Rd. 42
Burnsville, MN

Do you have a LinkedIn account but have never quite figured out how to use it? With over 130 million members, LinkedIn is a network worth developing. In this class we will learn how to set up a profile accurately, discover new contacts and participate in groups.

This class will be taught by Marcos Lopez-Carlson. Thanks to our partnership with the Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA), this class is offered free of charge, but pre-registration is required as space is limited. To register, call 952-891-0300.

Thu, 05/23/2013 – 4:00pm – 6:00pm
2600 Franklin Avenue E. Suite 2  – enter through the bank’s back door
Mpls., MN

Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterest—wherever you are online, if you’re a little confused, you’re not alone! Come to our monthly social media clinics at the Daily Planet office and get a hand from Twin Cities Daily Planet associate editor Jay Gabler—in addition to connecting with other community members and sharing your own best practices. Our social media clinics are meant to help you successfully navigate your way through the online forest of information, and to reach the communities you want to reach for your nonprofit, small business, or personal interests.

WHO: Jay Gabler and up to ten registered participants.
WHY: As part of our nonprofit mission to help members of Twin Cities communities connect with one another and with our larger global communities using the power of new media.
HOW: We ask participants to pre-register so as to guarantee that space will be available and to pay the participation fee of $10 for each workshop. Participation is free for all Daily Planet advertisers (click here for more information about how to advertise with the Daily Planet), and scholarships are available upon request. Bring your laptop—wi-fi is available. If you want to participate but don’t have a laptop, inquire with us; we may be able to provide you with a computer for the session.

Personal Privacy in a Social (Media) World

Wed, 05/29/2013 – 6:30pm – 8:30pm
2600 Franklin Avenue E. Suite 2 – enter through the bank’s back door
Mpls., MN

Confused by all of the privacy options on Facebook? Overwhelmed trying to figure out what is meant by “private”? You’re not alone! As Facebook changes the way we communicate with each other, it’s also changing the way we understand what is meant by private. With a focus on Facebook, this two-hour class will cover the basics of privacy in a “social” world. Instructor Marcos Lopez-Carlson will answer such questions as:

-What is private?

-Who can see my personal information and posts?

-How can I protect my privacy and still use social media?

-How is my information being used in ads?

-What should I know about privacy when using other social media, such as Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn?

Tuition for this class is $10.00. Scholarships are also available. Register for this class atTheDataBank.

Thu, 05/30/2013 – 6:30pm – 8:30pm
2600 Franklin Avenue E. Suite 2 – enter through the bank’s back door
Mpls., MN

In this class instructor Avye Alexandres will examine what makes a compelling photograph and set you on a journey to becoming a more skilled photographer by introducing you to the basics. Both artistic and technical aspects of the craft will be addressed. We will look at classic and contemporary works, investigating how visual elements such as light, texture, composition, and subject, interplay to create mood and impact. Then we will dive into technical aspects such as exposure, focal length, and depth of field. Tips, resources and exercises for how to take better photos and avoid common mistakes will be addressed throughout, and participants will leave with an assignment. This class is open to beginning students with any sort of camera- from point-and-shoot or camera phone to DSLR. Please note: We will not be examining specific models of cameras, or going step-by-step through the functions, therefore a familiarity with the menus and capabilities of your own device is encouraged.

Tuition for the class is $10.00. Scholarships are available upon request. Register throughTheDataBank.

We will reconvene in a second class to view student work and discuss avenues for improvement, using supportive and constructive feedback. We will discuss style and/or concept in relation to images and revisit technical aspects as they arise. Although it is recommended that people register for both sessions, it is not a requirement.

Avye Alexandres is a photographer and artist living in Minneapolis, who arrived by way of Texas, Florida and Athens, Greece. She creates performative events and immersive installations utilizing photographic elements and technologies new or old. A Jerome Foundation/Northern Lights Grant recipient, she has exhibited locally at the Weisman Art Museum, Spotart and Concordia Galleries, and presented during the Soap Factory’s Artery festival and at Red Eye Collaborations. Her freelance photographic work includes creating promotional imagery for artists, theatre companies, musicians or actors, as well as occasional documentary ventures.


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