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Archive for January, 2010

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Produce Mobile Media with your Smartphone

by Amani Channel #socon10

Kennesaw State University
January 30, 2010

2pm Afternoon Breakout Session


Steve Garfield Scoops CNN using his Nokia N-95 & Qik

Forrester Research and smartphones
Virginia Tech shooting
Hudson River plane crash & rescue
First music video shot on an iPhone 3G
News package shot on an iPhone 3GS
Jeremy Jojola shoots live shot with his iPhone 3GS
UStream live mobile


Streaming .TV shows by Ustream



Can You Edit Video?

Friday, January 29th, 2010

How Newsrooms Can Use Twitter

by Amani Channel

You’ve heard all about Twitter, but still don’t really get it. I’m begining to wonder how many Twitter users get it. I’ve gotten Twitter spam, see accounts where people just blurt out marketing messages with no two-way engagement, and automated accounts with no signs of human life.

To start off with, Twitter is a micro blog. It’s similar to a blog in that you can update information frequenlty. I like to liken the community to a chat room, however you select the conversations, and users that you receive messages from. The limit to these messages or “tweets” is 140 characters.

Twitter is a valuable tool for news because it allows you to easily monitor what other news organizations are covering 24/7 (as long as they are actively on Twitter), engage in conversations with the community, identify news sources, brand your content and drive traffic.

Twitter can be effective when you “tweet” regularly, have two-way conversations with your followers, re-tweet (quote) tweets from other users who are sharing interesting content, and use hash-tags to aggregate news.

In developing your Twitter strategy try to share information that adds value to the community and can establish you as the source of quality information. Below are some general communications methods:

Engage in two-way conversations: Use @username to send a publicly visible tweet to another user. For example: “@charlesedwards1 What are you working on today?” All of your followers will see that you are asking Charles a question.

Direct Messages: Twitter allows you to send private tweets similar to e-mail. This is called a Direct Message or DM. DMs are limited to 140 characters

Re-tweet: A re-tweet (RT) is the highest compliment on Twitter; it means that someone finds so much value in your tweet that they want to share it with their followers. For example: RT @charlesedwards1 (followed by the original tweet). You should always give RT credit when sharing a tweet that originated from another community member. Tip: Make sure your tweet doesn’t take the entire 140 characters. It makes it harder to people to re-tweet you.

Hashtags: Hashtags are used to aggregate tweets from the community. Twitter users usually assign a hashtag which becomes adopted and used by the greater community. During the Atlanta Mayoral election, users used #atlmayor for Tweets related to the Mayor’s race. During the runoff #atlpolitics was used. By following a hashtag, a user can follow all tweets related to a certain topic. Note: Due to the limits in character length, a hashtag should be no longer than ten characters.

Hashtags seem to work best during big news events. When I was working for HDNews and covered the 2008 Hurricane season, #Ike, and #Gustav were the hashtags used to share information during the storms. I was able to have direct conversations with people on the ground, learn about areas that were being threatened, and share what I was seeing from the field.

Getting started: Once you establish your Twitter account, start by looking for other news organizations that are on Twitter (that is a great way to monitor what other stations are covering. I even got some freelance work from the AP by monitoring Twitter). You follow them by clicking “Follow.” You should also look for elected officials, public figures and other newsmakers.

The beauty with Twitter is that anyone can be a newsmaker, a fan, or “citizen journalist.” Try to follow civic minded individuals. If you like someone’s tweets follow them. They will usually reciprocate and follow you back. You can start building a rapport by sending a tweet thanking the follower for their interest.

News organizations should carefully consider the Twitter policy regarding re-tweeting information from other news sources. A news organization wants to establish its credibility as being the source of breaking news, and important information. Re-tweeting news from other credible sources could undermine these efforts.

If you have any other thoughts, ideas or questions, please leave a comment.

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

A Better Pocket Cam: Kodak Zi8

by Amani Channel #kodak

I own three Flip cams, and have managed to avoid paying for any of them. I have a HD Mino, the Flip Ultra, and another model which I think was one of the first generation Flips.

I’ve enjoyed using the Flip for a few reasons: 1) Tapeless workflow; 2) Small and convenient; and 3) It’s easy to use. I’ve received all of my cams at media conferences or events as give aways.

My biggest complaint is that none of the models are equipped with a mic input. As a professional news guy, a mic is a must have piece of equipment.

Audio is just as important as video. But it seems that most of the consumer camcorder manufacturers haven’t received the memo that people want to produce quality videos regardless of the size or price of the cam.

I’ve managed to get around the mic situation, by making sure background noise is a minimum during interviews. I’ve even edited a few MUR episodes using Flip b-roll and sound.

Watch Video

As much as I like the Flip cam, there’s a pocket cam that appears to be even better.

It’s called the Kodak Zi8. It’s about the same size, and price, but it is equipped with a mic input. Why is a mic so crucial?

Let’s say you’re at a conference and there’s a speaker you’re dying to interview for your YouTube channel or vlog. You have your Flip, but there’s a bunch of background chatter. The interviewee takes the time to answer your questions; you’re all excited about the interview, but when you go to watch it, the audio sucks. You can barely hear your questions, let alone the answers… in other words, the video is garbage.

I know it’s happened to you before, because it’s happened to me before. There are a couple of ways around having a mic. You can scout out a quiet area, and ask your interviewee if s/he minds moving, or you can buy a camera that has an external mic input. Of course you still have to buy a mic, but believe me it’s a worthy investment, especially if you’re a serious video enthusiast.

Kodak hasn’t been as aggressive as Flip with give away marketing with Zi8′s because I probably would have one or two by now, but I’m going to have to make that move.

In the meantime take a look at how SCAD’s Social Media Manager Jason Parker rigged up his Zi8.

Watch video

Monday, January 25th, 2010

A Weekend for New Leaders

by Amani Channel #nlc @newleaderscncl

New Leaders Council Atlanta 2010 Class

New Leaders Council Atlanta 2010 Fellows

If I told you how busy I am, that still might be an understatement. On top of being a dad, husband, grad student, full-time employee, and business owner, I’m also involved with a nonprofit called the New Leaders Council.

The NLC launched a chapter in Atlanta this year, becoming the first in the Southeast.

I could go into the story of how one of my colleagues contacted me about a year ago to share the idea; everything that was involved with getting it off the ground; the guerilla social media marketing tactics I used to spread the word; hours of meetings, conference calls, coordinating… yadda yadda yadda.

The long and short of it is that the idea became reality this past weekend. The New Leaders Council Atlanta Institute launched with 17 Fellows who will spend five months learning the ins and outs of progressive political entrepreneurship.

The organization is non-partisan, and is quickly expanding. There are a total of ten chapters nationwide which include: NY, LA, DC, SF, Boston, Chicago, Louisiana, Sacramento, San Diego and Boston.

The weekend was amazing. The two-day session focused on life entrepreneurship.

NLC Atlanta 2010

NLC Atlanta’s Honorary Advisory Board Member Kwanza Hall took time out of his busy schedule to share some of his trials and achievements in Atlanta politics.

Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall Speaks

The retreat ended with Milano Harden from The Genius Group speaking to the class about progressive entrepreneurship.


C. Milano Harden (The Genius Group)

Of course I was all over the social media. I posted about 250 photos to Flickr; was using my iPhone to instantly publish videos to the net, and my Twitter stream was on fire (I manage the @NLC_Atlanta account as well).

I used PitchEngine to create a free social media press release (it expires in 30 days). To date it has received more than 500 hits.

This is an organization to keep an eye on. There is great leadership, it’s recruiting top young progressives, and there isn’t a program like it.

Congrats to the inaugural class of NLC Fellows: Fana Abay, Matthew Arnold, Kyle Bailey, Shemariah Butts, Carlissa Carson, Stacey Chavis, Howard Franklin, Kevin Grimes, Lauren B. Jarvis, Casey Lamb, Dwayne Marshall, Daniel Moskowitz, Darius Pattillo, J.Shakir Ramsey, Menyuan Smith, Jahnisa Tate and Travis Townsend.

I’m looking forward to the February session.

NLC Co-Founder Noah Doyle Wraps Up the Weekend

Thursday, January 21st, 2010


Watch Promo Video

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

R.I.P. John Cater

by Amani Channel


This is a true shock. Atlanta freelance news reporter John Cater passed away Tuesday morning.

I haven’t learned why or how he died, but this is sad news. Cater worked for several local Atlanta stations.

I last saw and spoke to him a few months ago at the NABJ Conference in Tampa, Florida. Though I didn’t know him well, I’ll remember his wide smile, his positive outlook, and he was a true broadcast professional.

Before moving to Atlanta, he worked at KDKA-TV and WPCW in Pittsburgh.

The AABJ Website has more information, but this really underscores the fact that you never know when your time may be up.

Live each day to the fullest. We’ll miss you John.

Update: LiveApartmentFire has more information about what happened:

“…an unknown illness hospitalized him at Thanksgiving. An infection developed. He never shook it.” Cater was 32.

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

One and a Half Days of Social Media Bliss

#socon10 by Amani Channel
featured in AtlantaDaybook

There’s only one place in the Southeast where you can learn the ins and outs of social media; how it can benefit your business or career; and network with some of the leading thinkers in the community in just one and a half days.

In 2007, I was introduced to SoCon. It was metro Atlanta’s first social media unconference hosted at Kennesaw State University. I had only been blogging and posting videos online for a few months, and had no idea what social media even was.

I spent the weekend video taping the event and interviewing the organizers. By the end, my knowledge and understanding of social media was greatly enhanced. I learned that there is a passionate community of people who are interested in engaging in conversations, networking and building business using online tools.


Watch SoCon08 Video

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Best of MUR: Remembering the Dream

By Amani Channel

Watch MLK’s Papers Video

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