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From a Tweet to the Front Page

12 Mar

More than any other question – I often get asked by people what use I find in Twitter and how it actually provides value to my job.

Well, good or bad, tweets can lead to stories. Here’s a real-time example.

For full disclosure, Red Sky works with the urban renewal agency for Downtown Meridian, Idaho  called the Meridian Development Corporation (MDC). We’ve been in the midst of a master planning process called Destination: Downtown. Stakeholders participated in many of those meetings – people working, living or interested in investing in Downtown. One of those stakeholder groups was the leadership of the local minor league baseball team – The Boise Hawks. For years they’ve been exploring options and locations for a new stadium. They’ve expressed interest in Meridian multiple times in public meetings.

At the MDC Board’s meeting this Wednesday the Boise Hawks leadership gave a presentation – on their stadium needs, interest in Meridian, and results of a recent survey of the Treasure Valley. Like every other board meeting, this one is noticed and open to the public. But not many people wake up at 7:30 a.m. to attend.  I thought the content of their presentation was interesting from a variety of levels – so I tweeted a few nuggets.

Following those tweets – quite a bit of back and forth from Boiseans about where the Hawks should land.

One of those tweeting was local raconteur and urban planning guru Chris Blanchard, who took his historical knowledge of the issue, Boise’s plans for 30th Street District and these new developments to post on his MegaFrontier blog before the MDC meeting had wrapped up: Will Boise Lose Hawks Stadium?

Not too long after – still on Wednesday morning – an Idaho Statesman reporter who is one of many local journalists on Twitter saw the exchanges online and reached out with a private message to see if MDC wanted to pursue the story. By Thursday, the Statesman reporter who covers Meridian specifically was on the piece – based on the swirling comments from Wednesday and the aforementioned survey been made available on Facebook.

48 hours from the MDC meeting – “Meridian Takes A Swing at Boise Hawks” was front page top of the fold.

So which coverage is better? A vibrant real-time exchange as the information is being presented among citizens interested in where their minor league team lands and which community embraces the economic development opportunity? Or a traditional printed piece laying out the facts at hand in a broad manner?

I say neither. Both are equally necessary as information channels and complement each other in the communication landscape.

– Jess

Make the Jump: Hack Life, Welcome to My Job, Fear of Success

27 May

Hack Your Life

Couldn’t say this any better if I tried. “You love your friends and enjoy your acquaintances, but their Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/MySpace activity is killing your productivity. Here’s the two ways, “sledgehammer” and “scalpel,” we recommend for keeping yourself in the loop while minimizing constant distractions.” Make the jump for the rest of the great post by Lifehacker – How to Filter and Manage Your Online Social Life

Take This Job And…

There have been many missives back and forth about both the death of journalism, and the so-called  decline of what is considered ‘news’ and ‘the media’ due to the rise of voices in the social media realm. While I believe there are points to be made on both sides, check that – all sides, of the argument over the future of how we define news, journalist Tynan Wood makes great points in his blog rant My Job and Welcome To It

“What gets under my skin are the comments that invariably accompany these screeds about the future/death of journalism. It’s amazing to me how many people out there firmly believe they know how to do my job better than I do, despite the fact they have no idea what I actually do. So I thought I’d try explaining what I do, and how it’s changed as a result of the blogosphere, in an effort to clear up some misconceptions and, hopefully, shut some people up.” More after the jump

And finally…

url-2Forget the Chimps, Climb the Pole

Thanks to Twitter, found this link to a fantastic guest blog post by Jason Barr (another Boisean I might not have had the pleasure to know if not for social web connections). On the site ‘Dumb Little Man’ – Jason blogged about Overcoming the Fear of Success.

“…. If we try to do something extraordinary with our lives, and we tell people about it, we’re worried we’ll be ridiculed for it. Mocked and shamed into conformity. People tell us it can’t be done, simply because they’ve never seen anyone do it before. Well, I think it’s time that it stopped. Thumb your nose at the rest of the chimps and climb the pole. Do what you want to do, and don’t worry about what other people think.” To find out what the heck chimps have to do with it, make the jump.

Of Jason’s ‘Lessons Learned’, #1 hit home the most for me. Go see which resonates with you. Yes, inklings of fear still infuse my life on a regular basis. But it’s good – and it is part of what drives me to climb the pole.

– Jess

Helping a dream come true… an unreasonable request

29 Dec

At the last TechBoise meeting, Tac Anderson and Stephen Nipper rolled out a great idea to spark conversation and make some amazing connections. It was the ‘Unreasonable Request’. Tac explains the concept on his site – but essentially, they are requests you have no business making, and that people or companies have no realistic reason to say yes to. But as we saw at the meeting filled with unreasonable requests, they can get granted. At the core, people want to help each other. I couldn’t think of an unreasonable request that night – but I found one that I would like to share now.

I’m hoping you can help make a young woman’s journalistic dreams come true.

This spring, Idaho Youth Ranch Graduate Kim Mora was featured on The Today Show’s Lend a Hand segment. Following that experience – Kim was selected for an internship of a lifetime – one of the prestigious intern spots on The Today Show ( January 4 to May 22, 2009.) I had the opportunity to intern at the CBS Network in New York when I was in college. It was a life-changing experience and I’m hoping our community can help make sure Kim lives out her dream.

Kim is 24 years old, has been married for six years, and is entering her senior year at BSU working towards a degree in journalism.  She was sent to the Idaho Youth Ranch (IYR), a program for at-risk youth, in her teens. This decision, said Kim, “saved her life.” “I can’t imagine my life without the Ranch because if it didn’t exist…I wouldn’t exist. This program gave me a precious second chance and I have never looked back. Thanks to the Ranch I have been able to attend college and am now going into my senior year in journalism. I have been married almost 6 years to my very best friend and have never been closer to my wonderful family. I use the skills that I learned in the Ranch almost every day. I never give up and continue to press forward, because I know if I can overcome the things in my past, I can overcome and conquer anything.”

IYR is helping Kim look for housing and financial assistance for her semester in New York City. It is an unpaid internship, and the college scholarship she receives through the Youth Ranch only covers a small portion of the expenses.

They are hoping you or someone you know may be able to lend a hand to this young lady so she can take advantage of this fabulous opportunity. Hundreds of students apply for these coveted positions each semester and only a few receive offers. Many interns go on to future career opportunities with NBC. “We believe in this young lady. We are hoping you will also believe in her.”

If you can help, please contact Kim ( Even sharing advice on making the most of the internship; must-see places in NYC; or connections in the Big Apple would be helpful!

If you would like to help financially you may make a charitable contribution to the Idaho Youth Ranch Scholarship program on Kim’s behalf. Please call Crystal Richcreek at 877-817-8141, or send your contribution to Idaho Youth Ranch, P.O. Box 8538, Boise, Idaho 83707. Please mark your donation with the words “Send Kim to NY Fund”.  Kim will be sending monthly email postcards, pod casts and give a presentation in June to all of her supporters.

Thanks for helping with this unreasonable request!