Startup

startup-podcast-coverI've just finished raising $1.5 million in investor dollars, building an office and growing a staff to start a new media company focused on narrative podcasts.

Okay, not really.

But I HAVE just finished listening to the first season of Alex Blumberg's podcast Startup, which documents his process of envisioning and then creating exactly that new company, Gimlet Media, from the very beginning. The show is so well done that I felt in on some of the best and worst moments in starting the business, and I learned a lot along the way.

Continue reading "Startup"

The Richmond News Review

This blog post is serving as a bookmark for the recently deactivated podcast and website at RichmondNewsReview.com, which I used to produce and maintain.

In 2006 I created a podcast called The Richmond News Review.  It consisted of 15-30 minute shows where I commented on news and events in and around Richmond, Indiana, sometimes interviewing newsmakers, politicians and members of the local media.  The show ran weekly at first, and then less frequently, until the last episode in 2008. After leaving the website dormant for a couple of years, in the fall of 2012 I decided to take it down.

Producing the show was an incredible amount of fun for me.  I got to blend my writing and blogging about news and politics with my interest in audio and video production.  I gained a new appreciation of the time and effort that goes into creating a podcast that people would actually want to listen to (let alone content that is compelling).  I added a new voice and perspective to some interesting community discussions.  And based on the feedback I got from listeners around the community, I provoked some useful dialog.

I still have the final published MP3 files from the podcast, if there's an episode you're interested in hearing.

WhatIsYourStory.org, an oral history project in Richmond

Despite things being fairly quiet with my original podcasting project (the Richmond News Review), I am still working on a few audio production projects.  One is a new podcast which I'll be ready to announce in the coming weeks, but the other is a great new oral history project that's moving forward quickly here in Richmond.  If you're familiar with StoryCorps, the NPR-affiliated project that gathers compelling personal interviews (mentioned here previously), you know how powerful some of those audio segments can be as they capture the stories of our lives.  Fortunately, Girls Inc of Wayne County applied for and received a generous grant from the Wayne County Foundation to bring the StoryCorps folks to Richmond and record some of our stories here.

This is just the first phase of what we hope to be a broader oral history project in the area.  You can read all about it on the new project website, WhatIsYourStory.org.  If you're a podcast listener or producer, a fan of StoryCorps or oral history projects, want to be trained on interviewing and audio production, or just someone who wants to be involved in this effort, please contact us!  We'll find a way to put your talents to work as we try to honor and appreciate those who live in our community, through listening.

National Day of Listening

Join StoryCorps in the National Day of ListeningThis Friday, when you're gathered with friends and family trying to figure out what to do with yourselves after that meal, consider participating in the National Day of Listening.  It's an opportunity to hear and record the stories that we all have to share about our lives, our greatest and hardest moments, and the lessons we've learned.  (And as some have noted recently in Richmond, the local community could benefit from having a better sense of our own narrative.)

All it takes is some kind of simple audio recording device, a good list of questions to get you started, and some time.  And it's a part of the larger oral history project that is StoryCorps, so there are some neat opportunities to share what you capture with a wider audience, if you want.

If you're in the Richmond area and want to send me some of what you record, I'll consider putting it together into an episode of the Richmond News Review podcast.

Links for the Week - December 2, 2007

  1. Are you brave enough to say no to a high-stress holiday? "The problem with Christmas is not the batteries. The problem isn't even really the stuff. The problem with Christmas is that no one much likes it anymore."
  2. Richmond News Review podcast episode #23: Debate bid followup, buying local, media coverage gaps from last weekend.
  3. And don't forget to submit your suggestions for the upcoming podcast segment, What news stories did Richmond media miss in 2007?.
  4. Energy Efficiency Jobs at Google: Get paid to save the world (or at least to develop technology that prologngs its life a bit). "Business as usual will not deliver low-cost, clean energy fast enough to avoid potentially catastrophic climate change...We need creative and motivated entrepreneurs and technologists with expertise in a broad range of areas."
  5. What We Call The Media: a satirical and irerrverant look at the state of mainstream broadcast media

Richmond can still host a 2008 Presidential Debate

The news came yesterday that Richmond was not selected as one of the sites for a Presidential / Vice Presidential Debate in Fall 2008. It's certainly too bad given the potential it had for bringing attention to Richmond, but as EDC President Jim Dinkle has been saying, just the unity and positive image we presented in bidding for the debate was itself a great achievement, and one we can build on in the future.

Of course, we still CAN have a Presidential / Vice Presidential Debate here in the Fall of 2008, and one that gets national media attention. Continue reading "Richmond can still host a 2008 Presidential Debate"

Sunday Links for the Week - October 14 2007

  1. Rest in peace, Rachel Burrell: friend, encourager, piano teacher, visionary, comfort to grieving children everywhere, and an amazing woman.
  2. Seven principles of community building: don't try to control the message, transparency is a must, participation is marketing, concept of audiences is outdated, build value, inspire with real information, manage distribution media to grow.
  3. A new episode of my podcast (online audio broadcast), the Richmond News Review: a great interview with Jason Truitt of the Palladium-Iteme, who talked candidly with me about the state of the paper's citizen journalism efforts.
  4. Unconference: a new way to bring people together and Open Space: a new way to run productive meetings. The next time you're considering having a meeting, gathering, summit, conference, colloquium, retreat, seminar or workshop, consider using these formats.
  5. Do you really know what's in that Chipotle food you're eating? Find out with the Chipotle Nutrition Calculator. My (now formerly) usual burrito has 1,336 calories in it.

Bits and pieces from a busy few days

Some bits and pieces from life right now: I'm really proud of the RNR podcast episode from last night, even though I was tired enough that my production quality wasn't what it usually is and I mispronounced some names. But it's been an emotionally charged week and it was an emotionally charged evening, so I think the episode reflects that.

Thanks to the folks at PhilQuinnForCouncil.com for linking here so prominently on the site. Of course, as much as I like and admire Phil, please know that I have not (nor do I plan to) endorsed any local political candidates here. I do wish them all the best in fulfilling the promise of the democratic process.

If you haven't already, you can head on over to GetWellJoe.com, a site I set up for Joe Augustin after he was assaulted earlier this week. The technical details are mundane compared to what Joe is going through, but it was a strange experience going from scratch to a full-blown weblog with hundreds of visitors and comments pouring in in a matter of an hour or two. Thanks to all the people who are holding Joe up now and keeping each other posted on his progress.

In a little bit, I'm heading out to IU East to help unveil the preview and website for the new documentary being produced here, 1:47. I'm at Summersault right now working with my team on the final prep for actually making the new site live, so you can check that out shortly. I haven't gotten to do as much lately with video production as I would like, so it's at least rewarding to be peripherally involved in a project where some really great production work is being done.

Have a good weekend.

Our education system is broken

IMG_1334.JPGThis rant may eventually turn into a podcast segment, but I haven't had time for that and I can't wait any longer. The news has been all the buzz lately: Only 54% of Richmond Community Schools students graduated in 2006, putting us in the bottom 7% of Indiana high schools. There's the commentary on the school system's reaction, great thoughts on what to do and how the community can be more involved. And I'm sure some good things will come out of all of the discussion that is being generated.

But the bottom line for me is that that our system of education in the US is almost entirely broken, ill-conceived in the first place, and that calls to make incremental improvements to a broken system feel largely like a waste of time.

Old minds think "how do we stop these bad things from happening?" New minds think "how do we make things the way we want them to be?" If education in the city of Richmond, the state of Indiana, and the U.S. is to be improved or fixed, it will be with new minds, not new programs put in place by old minds.

Continue reading "Our education system is broken"

A new podcast, the Richmond News Review

About a year ago, I wrote down some observations about the phenomenon of podcasting: "...I'm probably just joining the throngs of people holding this up as The Next Big Thing, but I'm excited about what it represents: another positive use of the Internet for knowledge exchange and personal expression."

Since that time, I've really come to appreciate the usefulness of podcasting even more, especially for balancing and complementing other sources of news and opinion, and lending a unique kind of voice to the conversations happening in our communities. To further that end, I've embarked on a trip down the road of hosting my own show: The Richmond News Review, a podcast providing a different perspective on local issues. As far as I can tell, there aren't a whole lot of geographically-focused podcasts out there, so we'll see how well that goes. It's sure been a flurry of activity to get it going, and while I'm always cautious about the sustainability of and interest in such projects, I'm excited about the possibilities.

So, check it out, give it a listen, let me know what you think.