20 Mar

Allyson Bird had the courage and eloquence to write everything I’ve thought about the decision to leave the traditional newsroom. Wonderful writing!

Sticky Valentines

Here I am interviewing a Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue official.

I get asked two questions several times a week, and I brush off both with a verbal swat.

One — because I’m in my late 20s, I suppose – is when are you getting married? And the other, because it seems like small talk, is why did you leave the newspaper?

I could answer both with a single word: Money.

But I usually deflect the marriage subject, wrongly justifying it as an acceptable passing question, with a practical reason: I’m not eager to have children. And I answer the news question with something to which my audience can nod along: “It didn’t seem like a sustainable career path.”

But that’s a cold and detached answer. I don’t feel cold and detached about news, and I only give that response under the assumption that people don’t want to hang around for the full story – ironically, the same reason newspapers aren’t really working anymore.


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This week in iMedia: Only 10 to go.

16 Mar

There’s always something going on at the second floor of Powell. This is my attempt to chronicle highlights of the spring semester, which is flying by. There are only 67 days left to graduation on Thursday, May 23.


My Capstone course instructor, Randy Piland, came back to us after going away to receive the Robin F. Garland Educator Award from the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA). That’s major! Congrats to him! (http://www.elon.edu/e-net/Note.aspx?id=964416)

We showed Piland our (nearly) final portfolios and gave our “How to” presentations. Each of the nine students must teach the others something new or expound on something within our area of expertise. Ruth taught us how to create a score for our projects with Garage Band, Cory showed us some Audition tricks for editing audio and I gave tips on how to successfully create a social media marketing plan. Past presentations discussed copyright free resources for music, video storytelling and video seeding.


Three accomplished representatives from Pace Communications, including iMedia alumna Bettina Johnson, enlightened us about content marketing for the Thursday Afternoon Special. President Craig Waller digs iMedia students, and I know some of us fell in love with Pace’s work and mission on Thursday. Waller said, “You come much more accomplished and you’ve got a much broader skillset, obviously.” Thanks, sir.

Pace Communications

Pace Communications has offices in Greensboro, NC;
New York City; Dallas and
Rogers, AR (Walmart).

Waller said the increasing importance of content creation for brands has been great for Pace. Pace is in the eye of the hurricane, he said. “The digital world started transforming our business because not only was it an easy and cheap way of reaching customers, but it is also an easy way to measure,” he said. “Brands as media owners isn’t going away.” He used Coca Cola as an example. Jobs at brands exist for iMedia students that didn’t five years ago.

Kevin Briody, vice president of digital strategy, taught us about Pace’s integrated approach to creating and publishing content for clients, such as Verizon Wireless and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, and how they measure their campaigns with analytics. Bettina gave us a quick run-through of how she uses Sysomos to conduct real-time social media monitoring and analytics. Content marketers must know what content to push and when, Briody said.

“You can churn and burn a ton of content, but it is marrying the art and the experience.”

Bettina said her experience working at Pace is similar to the iMedia experience because she has to work with so many people with different skillsets. “You kind of have to know how to talk the right language to get these projects done.”

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This week in iMedia: Only 11 to go.

8 Mar

There’s always something going on at the second floor of Powell. This is my attempt to chronicle highlights of the spring semester, which is flying by. There are only 76 days left to graduation on Thursday, May 23.


  • For the Multimedia Storytelling course, the class dove into a 4-D storytelling tool called Meograph that launched last year. Our assignment: Create “The History Of”… stories. Interact with Fidelis’ story about the 1983 N.C. State Championship Team.


  • Dr. David Copeland announced that my classmate Audra and I were selected for membership in Elon’s chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Pretty cool. We were pumped to receive the honor.
  • The Interactive Media Management Class finished taking the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) test so we can understand how to analyze metrics on our sites. We’re certified. Hire us.


  • Several iMedia faces started popping up around campus for the Elon’s Writing Excellence Initiative. A professor nominated us to participate in the campaign. View our profiles, which feature our top writing tips and favorite authors.

Screen Shot 2013-03-08 at 12.39.11 PM

  • Raleigh-based SEO superstars Phil Buckley (@1918), Director of SEOat Virante, and Mark Traphagen (@marktraphagen), Director of Digital Outreach at Virante, brought their SEO Roadshow to Studio B in McEwen (#SEOatElon). The audience mostly included current iMedia classmates and a few alumni, but we found it beneficial. Basically, Without getting too detailed, they taught us tricks.

Here are the top things I learned at the SEO Roadshow:

  1. Google robots have determined that the most important information lives in the top left; least important, bottom right.
  2. Your code should be as much a thing as art as graphic designers.
  3. Use tools to help you improve your code like Schematic.org and SEO-browser.com. The latter helps you examine and understand the component parts of a Web page. It shows you what the like looks like to search engines. Validate your sites using Validation.w3.org. The Google Webmaster Team considers validation when determining a site’s quality.
  4. Learn how to effectively use Google Plus. Just do it. Traphagen is in more than 32,000 Google Plus circles.
  5. Pay attention to Google Authorship and Author Rank. Traphagen: “It’s Google’s identity engine.” Google authorship allows content creators to display who they are and content they have made. This could be a huge factor in search later. Companies will want to feature authors who have high social capital and a large web presence and reach.
  6. When networking, leverage your existing connections by calling them every once in a while. Do something memorable. Buckley passes out French coins from 1918 instead of business cards.
  7. Build authority online by creating content. Traphagen: “The content that you create becomes a calling card for you.”

CAPSTONE: Connecting with Sisters Network

2 Mar

In the past week, I have been to three events with Sisters Network Greensboro NC. This time has given them and me the opportunity to learn more about each other and understand our roles within this capstone project. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the breast cancer survivors and supporters involved in this nonprofit.

Jan. 21

On Thursday, Jan.21, the Greensboro chapter held its first meeting of the year. They voted for new officers, learned more about a research study for newly diagnosed women and discussed their different experiences with the disease.

The meeting was enlightening. I’m grateful that the women shared their stories because it helped me understand their plight and made me realize the importance of my work.

I took pictures and recorded video of the meeting to have footage for the Facebook page and the website when it launches.

Jan. 23


Members of the Sisters Network Greensboro NC with Sisters Network Inc Founder and CEO Karen Jackson, second from left in black and white.

That Saturday, I joined some of the ladies at the national organization’s tour stop in Durham. Sisters Network Inc is visiting cities across the country to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Three doctors shed light on breast cancer and new treatments during 4-hour event. I learned a ton and mingled with some of the leaders of the organization, including Founder and CEO Karen Jackson and Affiliate Relation Manager Chandra M. Brooks.

I brought my camera to capture moments with the Greensboro chapter, but I ended up snapping photos of the entire event for the national chapter, too. It seems that I was the only person among dozens with a professional camera. The organization was grateful for the photos. I’m glad I could help them and look forward to working with them more.

March 1

I met with Greensboro President Nora Jones and other members of the chapter yesterday to discuss the social media strategy. The meeting gave us all a better understanding of how we could utilize social media, especially Facebook, to promote the mission of Sisters Network Greensboro NC.

The group main goals with Facebook are as follows:

  1. Keep the membership and local community updated on events
  2. Provide the latest information about breast cancer research and the black community
  3. Connect with similar organizations, especially other Sisters Network chapters
  4. Recruit new members (volunteers)
  5. Increase sponsorships

I will take over the Facebook page for a few weeks to get it up and running. I’m revising the social plan to make sure that the group has everything they need to maintain the Facebook group.

CAPSTONE: Introducing My Capstone Project

24 Feb
This post is part of a series on Tumblr that documents my progress with my capstone project for Sisters Network Inc.

It’s Capstone season.

That will mean long hours of research, content gathering and production. But it’s for a good cause.

My project is for Sisters Network Greensboro, one of more than 40 affiliate chapters of the national organization, Sisters Network Inc. This organization is the only breast cancer survivorship organization for black women.



While freelancing in the fall, I met the Greensboro chapter president Nora Jones. She helped establish the local affiliate in 2010 partially because she could not find a support group that fit her needs as an African American woman.

Sisters Network Inc.’s mission is to educate women about breast health and breast cancer, provide resources for health information pertinent to black women, and support and mentor current patients and survivors through their journey.

The problem: The Greensboro chapter doesn’t have much of an online presence to help promote its mission and community service.

That’s where I step in.

Purpose of the Project

The purpose of my capstone project is to create a clean, organized and professional-looking website and comprehensive social media strategy for Sisters Network Greensboro to:

  1. build community recognition
  2. share its resources and;
  3. increase awareness of the effects of breast cancer on black patients.

I’m excited to work with these ladies and help them achieve their goals.

24 Feb

My classmate Stephanie Schwartz talks to current iMedia students and alumni about how to make the most of the 10-month program and how to make the degree work for us. Good stuff.

Eye on iMedia

By Stephanie Schwartz, iMedia Class of 2013

I have been fortunate in the past few days to be able to talk to several iMedia alums on their thoughts on the program, now that they have some distance from it.

By far the iMedia program’s biggest strength and weakness is its 10-month structure. Yes, we get out fast compared to most other master’s programs and we certainly work hard, but as many of us are discovering, it’s not enough time to really master a tool or a technology, to fully grasp all the fundamentals. For many of us, it’s the first time we’re really exposed to design principles or how to edit photos professionally, and we may not have had the opportunity to explore as much as we wanted throughout the school year. iMedia is very much an interdisciplinary and overarching program, introducing us to a lot of things in a…

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1 day. 3 speakers. Many lessons.

18 Feb

There are days like Monday that make me really happy with being on a college campus, especially on the manicured, green campus of Elon University.

I don’t think the average student really appreciate all of the professionals who lend their time to give advice, critique resumes and speak to classes.

Just today, I heard from three impressive gentleman who taught me more about online journalism, mobile marketing and networking.


Morgan Little (@mlittleDC), web producer and blogger for the L.A. Times’ D.C. bureau, spoke to my class and undergraduates during a “Media Writing” course in the morning. Little is an Elon alumnus and just happens to run the Times’ Tumblr blog. Cool. I related to him because I did similar work at the News & Record – reporting, blogging and updating a website under strict deadlines, of course, on a much smaller scale.

My takeaways:

  • For your first job, find a place where you can experiment and grow. Focus on skills you might want to develop and improve upon.
  • You never know what you’re going to end up doing. You should always be prepared to add toyour skill set.
  • Understand who is actually reading – the audience. What’s going to be the most important to the audience reading this? (i.e. Little works in D.C. but rights for a California-based paper.)
  • Always read. Read diverse material. It’s the only way you’re going to ever develop your style. Get out of your bubble and don’t just look at your favorite writers.
  • Know what jobs are hot. What people are hot. What beats and areas of interests are falling under the radar.

“Journalism is an environment as much as it is a professional pursuit. Being aware of that environment is helpful.”

  • Hop onto everything that even shows the slightest hope. Quora, anyone?
  • Yes, the business is unstable right now. The biggest threat to traditional journalism is revenue loss.

“With instability comes opportunity for those who take their own initiative and find their own niche.”

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