September Update: Dinner, Classes. Get Connected! Meetings & More

We have some exciting events coming up this month and next –  our annual Pick of the Market Dinner, plus Get Connected! meetings with NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota. the District Councils Collaborative and Great River Greening ;  low-cost classes on “I’m on Facebook, but I have no idea what I’m doing” and Driving More Traffic to Your Website (Search Engine Optimization), plus a Social Media Clinic, and a three-part Step in Up Reporting Workshop on how to write the kinds of stories that attract readers. Plus lots of free Newsroom Cafe workshops. Scroll down for details, and our editors’ reports.

This year’s Pick of the Market dinner on Sunday, September 16 at the Blackbird Cafe is going to be our best yet. Celebrating its fifth year, the Blackbird Cafe has always focused on local sourcing, partnering with Dragsmith Farms, Hope Creamery, Grass Run Farms, Wild Acres, among others. On the day of the dinner, chef-owner Chris Stevens will shop at local farmer’s markets and pick the best meats and dairy from his local vendors to assemble his “Pick of the Market” menu. This year’s dinner will include a “meet and greet” starting at 6:30 p.m. featuring local cheeses, vegetarian pates, crudites and traditional charcuterie such as chicken liver mousse, country style pate, pork rillettes, smoked trout and chicken gallantine. To purchase tickets, click here:

Get Connected! is the Twin Cities Media Alliance’s series of meetings highlighting organizations working for change in the areas ofEducation, Transportation, Work, Immigrant Communities, Health and the Environment. At each meeting, you’ll have a chance to find out about the organization, how you can get involved, and how you can use social media to work more effectivelyon the issues that you care about. Each meeting also includes an opportunity to socialize and network over food and drink. Get Connected events are free and open to the public, but registration is requested.

  • On Sept. 8 our engagement team will be at St. Paul’s Merriam Park Library, to introduce NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota. NAMI will highlight the work it does to support the rights of those living with mental illness. Find out how you can become involved. To sign up, click here.
  • District Councils Collaborative will take center stage on Sept. 18 at their University Avenue office. Learn about the work DCC is doing to ensure that all residents’ transportation needs are being met, as light rail construction through the Central Corridor continues. Also get a first look at the results of DCC’s Central Corridor walkability survey. To sign up, click here.
  • On Sept. 27 we close out the month at Indeed Brewing Company, where Great River Greening will present on the work it does to engage the public. As always, our Marcos Lopez-Carlson will present on ways to use new media tools to engage networks and take action, in this case to support the ecology of Minnesota. To sign up, click here.

Mark your calendars: Get Connected! will also be the theme of this year’s eight annual Fall Media Forum, to be held Saturday,  November 10 at UROC, the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center of the University of Minnesota. It should be a great opportunity to find out more about  how you can get connected with local organizations working for change, and how you can use media tools to engage more effectively. More details to follow.

Newsroom Cafes: 

Do you have a story or a question? Drop in and talk about the Daily Planet, our news coverage, and how you can contribute. Sometimes, the newsrooms cafes have a special focus,  but you can still come and workshop stories that you are working on regardless of the topic. Free.

To find Jay, just look for the laptop with the Freaky Deeky sticker. To find Mary, just look for the laptop with the sticker that says “I heart the First Amendment.” 

  • Tuesday, September 11, 9 to 10 a.m. Health Care 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.
  • Tuesday, September 11, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Food Beat. If you are interested in reporting on local food, urban farms, community gardens, restaurants and more … join us and help to build a local food beat. Editor Mary Turck will talk about stories we are looking for, and story ideas that you bring. Look for Mary at Quixotic Coffee, 769 Cleveland Ave. S., Saint Paul.
  • Monday, September 17, 4:30 p.m. Bike Beat. If you are interested in reporting on bikes, biking (and other transportation stories) … join us and help to build a bike beat. Editor Mary Turck will talk about stories we are looking for, and story ideas that you bring. We’ll be meeting at Urban Bean, 2401 Lyndale Avenue S., Minneapolis.
  • Tuesday, September 25, noon. Join Daily Planet arts editor Jay Gabler and Al Justiniano, artistic director of Teatro del Pueblo, for an informal conversation about the arts scene—particularly the Latino arts scene— at Jerabek’s New Bohemian Cafe, 63 West Winifred St. on the West Side of St. Paul. What should all arts lovers in the Twin Cities know about the West Side? How can the Daily Planet most effectively cover the West Side arts scene? Grab a cuppa joe, listen in, and share your own perspectives and experiences.
“I’m on Facebook, but I have no idea what I’m doing.”
Monday, September 17, 7 to 9 p.m. at the Daily Planet office, 2600 Franklin Avenue E, Suite #2, Minneapolis (enter from the parking lot behind the Wells Fargo Bank building.
“Why do I see some posts in my news feed, but not others?”
“Can I hide someone’s posts without unfriending him?”
“How do I change my profile picture?”
It’s now easy to get on Facebook, but the complicated interface can be bewildering for novice users. Twin Cities Daily Planet associate editor Jay Gabler will help you take the next steps towards being a confident Facebook user who can connect with the people you want, when you want to. A wi-fi connection will be available; you’re encouraged to bring your laptop computer (and/or tablet, or smartphone) if you’d like.
Tuition for this class is $10; scholarships are available upon request. Space is limited—register at the DataBank.

Step It Up Reporting Workshop 1: Finding the Story

Wednesday, September 19, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Daily Planet office, 2600 Franklin Avenue E, Suite #2, Minneapolis (enter from the parking lot behind the Wells Fargo Bank building.

Would you like to get more people to read your stories? We’ve got a series of workshops for you!

Step One: Finding the Story

  • What makes a compelling story?
  • What grabs and holds reader interest?
  • How do you find the focus of your story?
  • How do you start getting people involved from the very beginning?
Workshops will be taught by Mary Turck, editor of the Twin Cities Daily Planet. Enrollment is limited, with preference for active Twin Cities Daily Planet contributors. There will be incentives for those who complete the workshop and four assigned stories.
Drive More Traffic to Your Website: Search Engine Optimization and Best Online Practices
Tuesday, September 25, 7-9 p.m., at the Daily Planet office, 2600 Franklin Avenue E, Suite #2, Minneapolis (enter from parking lot behind the Wells Fargo building.)

How does Google decide what to display on page one when someone performs a keyword search relevant to your business? How can you find out what specific keywords people are searching for in the first place? This class will give an introduction to how search works and how you can use this insight to gain visibility for your website.

Instructor Steffen Ryan is a digital strategist with Weber Shandwick, with more than six years of experience helping clients develop and execute integrated public relations and B2B/consumer marketing programs. He is adept at helping companies find their voice online by developing an effective content strategy. Tuition for this class is $10; scholarships are available upon request. Space is limited! Register at the DataBank.
Social Media Clinic
Thursday,  September 27, 4 to 6 p.m. at the Daily Planet office, 2600 Franklin Avenue E, Suite #2, Minneapolis (enter from the parking lot behind the Wells Fargo Bank building.)
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.
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.
Staff reports: 
Bruce JohansenCommunity Engagement Coordinator Bruce Johansen reports: 
Cause Spirits & Soundbar was the place to be for August’s Get Connected! happy hour meetings. Over a generous array of appetizers and drinks, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy staff members introduced MCEA’s work and the civic engagement opportunities that organization provides, particularly around proposed mining in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Lake Superior region. Twin Cities Media Alliance’s Marcos Lopez-Carlson offered advice on how to be a more effective environmental advocate through the use of new media tools that help connect activists with each other and with decision-makers. Cause was also where the League of Women Voters Minneapolis introduced its work, with a focus on the proposed voter ID amendment. Facebook groups and interest lists were highlighted as useful tools for those working to defeat the proposed amendment at the polls in November. We returned to Open Arms of Minnesota on Sept. 5, where we introduced NAVIGATE Minnesota and the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, two organizations working hard on immigration reform and deferred action.
Arts Editor Jay Gabler reports:
Minnesotans love to talk about “our scene,” but how inclusive are those discussions? In a new series, we’re broadening the scope of these discussions to ensure that they include all Minnesotans—including the newest Minnesotans, and those whose voices aren’t often enough heard in mainstream local media. The first “Our Scene” post features Hmong MC Tou SaiKo Lee, who talks about his intergenerational collaboration with his grandmother and calls for more events using hip-hop to connect different cultures. The second post, by art curator Christina Chang, sparked a lively debate about whether artists from the Somali and Hmong communities are adequately visible to audiences from outside those communities. Who else should we feature in the Our Scene series? Let me know:

Editor Mary Turck reports:
Swinging into September, our news coverage continues to expand. We’re looking to you to contribute to that coverage — sending us tips about stories you think we should cover, writing those stories, contributing photos from events you attend (like the Monarch Festival coming up on September 8!), writing a paragraph about the new coffee shop or the clean-up day in your neighborhood. And, if you’d like to do even more, our September 19 Step It Up workshop focuses on finding and writing stories for TC Daily Planet.
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.


Jeremy Iggers
executive director, Twin Cities Media Alliance

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