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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Social Media 9-1-1 – Who is listenting when you call?

by Amani Channel
Thanks! @sheatsb @RichStaats

I may know multimedia, but I’m in the novice category when it comes to WordPress design and site administration.

Sure I know some basic HTML, can install plugins and themes, but that’s where my expertise ends.

So imagine what I was feeling after I upgraded to the latest version of WordPress today, and low and behold all of my blog posts and the right side bar was gone.

This is what I saw instead: Fatal error: Call to undefined function recent_posts() in /home/amanichannel/public_html/wp-content/themes/urbanreport1/leftsidebar.php on line 162

What to do?


Not long after, help was on the way.


I have to thank two people specifically, @RichStaats, and @sheatsb.

Brandon Sheats who I know personally (he does great work) offered to go into my blog’s back end and take a look at what was causing the problem.

Turns out that a plugin was creating the conflict, but I would have never figured it out.

How have you nurtured your network? Do you engage in conversations both on and offline? Do you offer sound advice? Are you trusted?

Don’t ever think that people aren’t listening or watching. They are, and if you’re doing something right, help will come when you call.

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

The Pulse Network – social TV in the making

by Amani Channel
#bwe10 @maggierulli

So, you’ve probably heard of the term Web TV or Internet TV, but social TV? That’s what a relatively new online network based in Boston, MA calls itself.

The Pulse Network launched on June 14, 2010 and is one of the newest players in the online video space. It has the endorsement of people like social media guru Chris Brogan, and video blog champion Steve Garfield who host shows on the network.

According the Website:

The Pulse Network is a new alternative to traditional media,” says Nick Saber Co-Founder and President of The Pulse Network. “TV and Radio audiences are fragmenting while online streaming and consumption of video and audio content is increasing. The Pulse Network engages its audience in a rich multi-media environment. Our hosts provide smart and insightful analysis on the biggest stories of the day and use the timeliness of social media to advance the dialogue while providing a three hundred and sixty degree perspective to keep you informed.

The question is: how will The Pulse Network sustain and grow such an ambitious and robust TV platform? I’m sure there are plenty of people who would like to have a live presence online, but there are plenty of “social” video destinations already, from UStream, to Justin.TV, and Livestream just to mention a few. And most if not all of the sites have some form of social functions like Twitter and Facebook integration. Then there are sites like Blip.tv, and the big daddy, YouTube which offer free video channels.

What I think this network could add is not only higher visibility, but some credibility for social TV. Since The Pulse Network is partnering with TV and social media pros, it could become a destination for quality live content.

Anyway, I caught up with Maggie Rulli at BlogWorld10. Rulli hosts a daily financial show on the network.

She is certainly excited about The Pulse, but didn’t say how or if the talent is being paid, and couldn’t offer any insights into the overall monetization strategy.

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

London (Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger)

London (Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger) from David Hubert on Vimeo.

Friday, August 27th, 2010

“Hide your kids, hide your wife” YouTube star tells the rest of the story

from TheGriot

Monday, August 9th, 2010

My 200th YouTube My Urban Report podcast

by Amani Channel

I unknowingly hit a milestone of sorts. I have produced 200 video podcast episodes of My Urban Report since I launched my YouTube channel in 2006.

I could write a post about what I’ve learned, and share some tips for other vloggers/producers. Later for that.

For the sake of walking down memory lane. Here are some of my favorite episodes (in no particular order, other than the first and last).

My first My Urban Report:
Words about citizen journalism:

My favorite news adventure:
Hurricane Ike: The Move

My favorite interview:
CNN’s TJ Holmes

My most heartfelt story
My Boys (the story of the Channel twins)

My favorite political video:
Barack Obama in Atlanta

My favorite video from home (East Palo Alto, California):
The Drive

My favorite Florida video:
Swamp Ride

My favorite entertainment video:
Keri Hilson’s record release party

My favorite rogue video.
Stolen 5.0

My 200th video podcast
AEJMC 2010 Denver Co. The Movie

I’ve been able to travel the country, and meet so many interesting people. I’m thankful to be able to share my adventures with you.

Thanks for tuning in!


Amani Channel

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

#NABJ10 Virtual panelist: Helping journos with the multimedia mindset

by Amani Channel

I’ve been involved with the National Association of Black journalists since my college days, and the relationships and friendships I’ve made over the years have led to jobs in the biz and other opportunities.

Being involved in a professional org like the NABJ is priceless if you ask me. The NABJ is made up of the best of the best journalists in the business and in recent years, it has been trying to prepare its members for the digital revolution.

Here’s an example from the 2007 conference of how the NABJ has been working to educate journalists about digital media:

While many journalists are great at fact-checking, storytelling, and making deadlines, the fact is that opportunities in traditional journalism aren’t what they used to be.

When I started blogging and producing online videos in 2006, I had no idea what I was getting into. In fact, I was a little embarrassed at first because bloggers didn’t have much respect or journalistic credibility amongst traditional reporters back then.

How things have changed. As the job landscape continues to shift, journalists are more and more having to develop their digital and entrepreneurial skills to survive.

Although, I didn’t make it to San Diego for the 2010 NABJ Conference, I did get to interact with my fellow journos on a panel that helped attendees get a better idea of why they should embrace technology, develop their multimedia skills, and think outside of the box for business opportunities.

I participated via Skype along with Natalie McNeal, and Retha Hill. Dr. Syb moderated the discussion with Rick Hancock and Julia Yarbough participating in person.

If you’re in the news business and haven’t thought about life after… Wake up and smell the smoldering remnants of yesterday’s paper.

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Operation “Grad School” a wrap

By Amani Channel
Pls R/T

My father always told us (the Channel siblings) to make sure we finish what we start, and I really know what he means now. On Saturday, May 8, 2010, I’m graduating from the University of South Florida with a Master’s in Mass Communications.

I don’t even have time to go into everything that I experienced since my first semester in 2004. The start of my graduate academic career was trying. While working full-time at Fox 13 in Tampa, Florida I had the pleasure of covering four back-to-back hurricanes while taking two classes. I seriously don’t know how I managed, and decided to nickel-and-dime it, one class at a time after that.

Then, in 2006 I moved from Tampa to Atlanta. Since I had already completed a good portion of required classes, I decided to stay at USF and not transfer. I took 3 classes at Georgia State University and transferred the credits back to USF. Then it was time to start working on my thesis.

Most of my research at USF focused on some form of interactive media, from Web TV to blogging. As I looked at the research landscape and my current interests, it seemed that citizen journalism would be a great area to study. On a personal level, I briefly worked on developing a citizen journalism show for Black Family Channel. I was already blogging, and producing my own independent news-ish content online via my blog.

The more and more I thought about it, CNN’s iReport seemed like a great area to study. It was accessible since I live in Atlanta. It hadn’t been studied before, and of the prior studies that focused on citizen journalism most did not examine how gatekeeping models may be changing .

I went about contacting some of my colleagues at CNN, starting with the PR department. It wasn’t a fast process, but I finally got approval, and as it turns out my main point person at the network went to the University of Florida (undergrad) with me.

Writing it up, and defending was the fun part. Then I had to get the format right. That mean headings, table of contents, page numbers, chapter titles, sub-titles… yadda, yadda, yadda.

Six years later, I’m on the verge of graduation. It is a great feeling, and I hope that my research will provide some valuable context to the media shift that is occurring.

Special thanks: to Jennifer Dargan, Jennifer Martin, and April Andrews with CNN PR. Also thanks to Lila King, and the entire CNN iReport department. I thank my thesis committee, dad Charlie for helping me get the format right, and my wife for her patience during this process.

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Producing News with Your Smarthphone: The Tampa Trip

by Amani Channel

I’m heading to Tampa, Florida for a couple of days to take care of some business. I have my second thesis defense at the University of South Florida, and tomorrow I’m scheduled to give a teleseminar with the Poynter Institute about producing news with with smartphones.

My mobile media journey started a couple of years ago when I used Twitter to share news from the field as I covered the 2008 Gulf Coast storm season for the now defunct HDNews. I don’t know how many journalists were doing it at the time, but I found Twitter and hashtags (like #Ike and #gustav) to be a great way to share first hand accounts of what I was witnessing from the field during Tropical Storm Fay, Hurricane Gustav, Ike and Tropical Storm Hanna.

I also used my blog to post the stories that we produced from the field and I shared footage that wasn’t included in my stories. Oh if only the iPhone 3GS was out back then. The iPhone and other smartphones like the Android and Nokia models make it extremely easy to share video from anywhere. Other applications and sites like TwitPic allow easy photo sharing.

We all know that media can’t be everywhere, but people with these devices are and it’s changing the face of news and information. As an example, check out these pics from the Chile earthquake that were posted via Twitter.

Of course I can’t share all of my secrets, but if you check out this Webinar, you should have a greater understanding of now TV news stations, and vloggers like myself are using technology to innovate the gathering of content.

WTTG Fox 5
in Washington DC, and KOB in New Mexico are doing a great job of experimenting with technology to enhance coverage.

I’ll probably be posting mostly mobile videos, so keep it tuned to either my Twitter account, or check back here for the latest video updates.

Forgive the typos, I gotta board my flight!

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