May Update: Daily Planet Birthday Party May 17, Classes & More

We have some exciting events coming up this month and next – a birthday party, low-cost classes on How to use Google Docs,  Intro to iMovie and Tips and Tricks for Freelance Writers, plus a Social Media Clinic, and lots of free Newsroom Cafe workshops. Scroll down for details, and our editors’ reports.

Happy Birthday to Us!  Hard to believe, but the Twin Cities Daily Planet turns 6 this month. We’re going to celebrate with a happy hour party on May 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Cause Spirits and Soundbar, 3001 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis. You are cordially invited to join us for the festivities and a slice of birthday cake. We’ll probably have some music as well. The party is also the kick-off four our annual membership drive, so if you become a supporting member of the Daily Planet, or renew your membership with a membership contribution of $10 or more,  I’ll buy you a beer, or the happy hour beverage of your choice. To become a member of the Daily Planet, or renew your membership,  go the donation website, (  If you prefer, you can send a check to TCMA, 2600 E. Franklin, suite #2, Minneapolis MN 55406. Contributions will also be gratefully accepted at the door.

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, May 8, 9-10 a.m: Health Beat
If you are interested in reporting on health care, policy issues, public health … join us and help to build a health beat. Editor Mary Turck will talk about stories we are looking for, and story ideas that you bring. We’ll be meeting at People’s Organic Coffee in Edina – on  70th Street between France and York. Look for the laptop with the “I Heart the First Amendment” sticker!
Tuesday, May 8, 4-5 p.m: Artist-Writers
Many arts writers for the Daily Planet (and other publications) are artists themselves—how does one straddle the two worlds? What about conflicts of interest? How does being an artist enhance and/or limit one’s perspective on other artists’ work? At Kopplin’s Coffee, 2038 Marshall Ave., St. Paul, arts editor Jay Gabler (who’s probably “an artist” himself, depending on how loosely you want to define that) will talk about this issue and any/all other topics related to the Daily Planet and our coverage. Look for the laptop with the Freaky Deeky sticker!
Tuesday, May 8, 4:30 -5:30 p.m: The Editor is IN
Do you have a story or a question? Drop in and talk about any other topics regarding the Daily Planet, our news coverage, and how you can contribute. I’ll be working at Quixotic Coffee in the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul (769 S. Cleveland)— just look for the laptop with the sticker that says “I heart the First Amendment.” (Mary Turck).
Wednesday, May 9, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m: The Movie Scene
At Peace Coffee, 3262 Minnehaha Avenue S., Minneapolis, right next door to what City Pages calls the best movie theater in the Twin Cities—the Trylon Microcinema—arts editor Jay Gabler will open a discussion of the local movie scene. Who are the players? What are the best places to catch films of all types? How can you report on movies from a local angle? Any other topics related to the Daily Planet and our news coverage are also, so to speak, on the table. Look for the laptop with the Freaky Deeky sticker!
Monday, May 14, 4-6 p.m. University District Neighborhood Open Newsroom and Happy Hour
Join associate editor Jay Gabler as well as some of our writers and other community membersat the Kitty Cat Klub, 315 14th Ave. S.E., Minneapolis, to discuss our news coverage or simply to raise a toast and chat about local life. We’ve been devoting particular attention to the University District neighborhoods, and neighbors from the area are particularly encouraged to come and discuss our coverage. What stories should we be on top of? How can you get involved? Look for the laptop with the Freaky Deeky sticker!
Monday, May 21:1-2 p.m:  Building an Audience.
In 2012, everyone is his or her own personal brand. How can you build an audience for yourself and your writing? Join associate editor Jay Gabler at the original Dunn Bros. 1569 Grand Ave. (at Snelling), St. Paul, for a discussion of this topic and any other related to the Daily Planet and our news coverage. Look for the laptop with the Freaky Deeky sticker!
Tuesday, May 29, 10-11 a.m: What’s your neighborhood?
The Daily Planet prioritizes neighborhood news—but what’s a neighborhood? Is Urban Bean in “CARAG” or “Calhoun” or “Lyn-Lake” or “Uptown” or “South Minneapolis”? All of the above? Join associate editor Jay Gabler at the Urban Bean, 3255 Bryant Ave. S., Minneapolisfor a discussion of how Twin Cities neighborhoods break down, and how we cover them. Any and other topics related to the Daily Planet and our news coverage are also open for discussion! Look for the laptop with the Freaky Deeky sticker.


Wednesday, May 9, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Make the Most of Google Docs
You know that Google makes high-quality software from internet search to e-mail to maps, but what about documents? Come and learn about Google Docs: Google’s version of documents, spreadsheets, forms, presentations, and drawings—all part of the Google Docs suite. Learn how to create, manipulate, manage, and collaborate with Google Docs. Google Docs comes automatically packaged with Gmail and Google Apps accounts, so this class applies to anyone with a Google account! Instructor Brian Roemen will teach you how to use these powerful tools. At the Rondo Community Library, 461 N. Dale, St. Paul.
Tuition for this class is $10; scholarships are available upon request. Click here to register.
Thursday, May 24, 4 to 6 p.m.: Social Media Clinic
Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterestwherever you are online, if you’re a little confused, you’re not alone! Come to our monthly social media clinics and get a hand from Twin Cities Media Alliance staff members and social media experts Marcos Lopez-Carlson and 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: Marcos Lopez-Carlson and/or Jay Gabler (at least one will be present, both may be present), 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.
WHERE: At the Daily Planet office, 2600 Franklin Avenue E, Suite #2, Minneapolis (enter from the parking lot behind the Wells Fargo Bank building.)
HOW: We ask participants to pre-register so as to guarantee that space will be available. Registration fee is $10; scholarships are available on request. Click here to register. Participation in the social media clinics is free for all Daily Planet advertisers (click here for more information about how to advertise with the Daily Planet). 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.
Thursday, May 24, 7 to 9 p.m.: Tips and Tricks for Freelance Writers 
Freelance writing isn’t a job for the faint of heart, but if you’re a good writer and willing to be entrepreneurial, it can be one of the most interesting jobs around. Twin Cities Daily Planet associate editor Jay Gabler and regular contributor Sheila Regan, both of whom have extensive freelance writing experience, will share tips and tricks for how to succeed. At the Daily Planet office, 2600 Franklin Avenue E, Suite #2, Minneapolis (enter from the parking lot behind the Wells Fargo Bank building.)
Tuition for this class is $10; scholarships are available upon request. Register here.
Tuesday, June 5, 7 to 9 p.m: Introduction to iMovie
In these two hours, instructor Ben McGinley will go over the very basics of Apple’s iMovie program. We will learn the iMovie (’09-’11, not iMovie 6) interface and its accompanying tools. You will learn how to use these tools to import footage, add cool titles and transitions, and choose accompanying music of your choice from your iTunes library. By the end of the class, you will have an understanding of basic media management and editing that will give you confidence when editing your own movies.

Tuition for this class is $10; scholarships are available upon request. Register at the DataBank.

Staff reports: 
Daily Planet Editor Mary Turck reports:
People make the news, and we had a variety of people stories this month, from Mahmoud El-Kati’s reflections on his half century as an educator and activist in the Twin Cities toDave Blessing and his one-man bike shop and Bonnie Roell of Bonnie’s Cafe, a place small enough that they know your name. Spring came early, so even though May is Bike Month, we had lots of bicycle and garden stories in April. We also had some good analytic reporting on topics from new developments in on-line learning and bi-lingual classrooms to conflicts over affordable housing in the suburbs. With a large group of contributors, there’s a wide variety of topics and styles. We rely on our regular writers and welcome new voices and ideas — just email or stop in for one of our classes and meetings.
Arts Editor Jay Gabler reports:
Have you been to one of our Newsroom Cafe meetings? We invite all Daily Planet readers, whether or not they’re interested in contributing, to come to one or more Newsroom Cafe meetings to talk with Mary Turck or me about our coverage. What are we doing well? What are we missing? Each meeting has a designated topic, but the conversation is freewheeling—bring your own questions and let us know what you’re interested in. Times and locations change, so as to make ourselves available to as many people as possible; check the classes page for a complete list of upcoming meetings. These meetings have been a good way for us to get to know our many new contributors…and we have some new media partners, too! You may have been reading the regular film reviews posted by the bloggers who call themselves the “Tuesday Movie Men,” and the theater reviews written by teens in the Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Critical View program. Among posts from those teens, don’t miss Madeleine Bertch’s irreverent video review of Mamma Mia!
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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