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Principal convenor Minnesota Journalism Center Minnesota News Council


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The Coffee House: Cafe Topics

Wed., 7:45 p.m.-9 p.m.

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The heart of our gathering, "New Pamphleteers, New Reporters," will occur on Thursday, as our participants share best practices in three break-out periods, and informally during open-circle and break-time discussions.

Tonight, Wednesday, we set the agenda with a set of coffee-house like roundtable discussions. The goal is to discover the wisdom which exists among the group, to surface how to best share that wisdom on Thursday.

We start from the premise that every participant in "New Pamphleteers, New Reporters," is the expert on some piece of this emerging world of local online news and community forums. Because we are meeting for the first time, we don't know who those experts are. And so we have made some (hopefully) intelligent choices about who among us can at least seed the conversation.

So, in that spirit, erstwhile participant-experts will follow our after-dinner speakers with "cafe topics." If these "experts" have biases, they'll say so. Each individual or team will pitch for 60 seconds about a key issue facing operators of local online news communities. Then all of our participants will be invited to form coffee-house style conversations in nine areas of the McNamara Alumni Center, lead by our participant-experts around one of the nine announced topics.

By 9 p.m., we'll have both a better idea of the expertise gathered, as well as the level of interest in each topic. Together, we'll use that information to fine tune Thursday's break outs.

The nine topics

  • Defining citizen journalism: Principles and practice
      Dan Gillmor, ASU Cronkite School, Center for Citizen Media, Phoenix, Ariz. / Olivia Ma, YouTube Citizen News
  • Technology choices -- platforms, cost
      Mike Orren, Pegasus News / Dan Knauss, designer/developer, NewLocalMedia / Natascha Shawver, Main Street Project
  • Advertising, sponsorships, grants, print products -- is it enough?
      Jean Dallas, HometownFocus.us / Jonathan Weber, NewWest.net
  • Citizen media and the law -- freedom and risk
      David Ardia, Berkman Center, Harvard Law School / Robert Cox, Media Bloggers Association
  • Training bloggers, writers, volunteers
      Cody Howard, Lawrence.com / Doug McGill, LargeMouth Citizen Journalism Project
  • Tending to business: Incorporating, taxes, profit/non-profit
      Todd Eskelsen, Schiff Hardin LLP / Margaret Freivogel, St. Louis Beacon
  • Coop-petition: How to align with other media or groups
      Jeremy Iggers, TC Daily Planet / Michelle Ferrier, MyTopiaCafe.com
  • Engaging citizens: What's the secret?
      Steve Clift & Timothy Erickson Rural Voices Project / Linda Fantin, Minnesota Public Radio / Arnie Arnesen, PoliticalChowder.org
  • How to avoid burnout: Keeping the passion alive
      Deborah Gallant, BaristaNet / Clint Baller, Birmingham (Mich.) Buzz