See Me at CMW’s 2008 Making Media Connections

(Photo: And that’s second row, second from the right.)

[Update: Ah, the best laid plans. On June 12th, life circumstances intervened and I was unable to appear at this CMW speaking panel. Drat...]

This Thursday, June 12, I will join leading Chicago bloggers (including Andrew Huff from the venerable GapersBlock.com) for a discussion panel at Community Media Workshop‘s 2008 Making Media Connections conference.

Community Media Workshop is one of America’s foremost grassroots media training organizations. The Making Media Connections conference is an annual opportunity for the many nonprofit professionals who pass through CMW’s doors every year to sharpen their media-relations skills and meet face-to-face with noted reporters and news luminaries from Chicago and beyond.

So, of course, I’m thrilled to be included. I first became acquainted with CMW in 2006, when I managed to take almost every workshop they offered, much to the bemusement of current CMW vice-president, Gordon Mayer (of 2008 Bike the Drive fame here on CHICAGO CARLESS).

The powerful messaging I learned at CMW helped me get invited to work on several national Internet messaging campaigns for worker and voter rights bginning during Election 2006 (see especially 7 Days @ Minimum Wage and the Employee Free Choice Act) and in no uncertain terms transformed me professionally.

My attendance at this year’s Studs Terkel Awards also helped spur an ongoing personal transformation (more on that later). It seems to me whatever involvement you have with CMW, you come away much the better for it.

With all due gratitude, I happily shill for them below. Here is what CMW has to say about the conference. Hope to see some of you there…


First-Ever Gathering of National Nonprofit New-Media Experts in Chicago to Provide Nonprofit Communicators with Web 2.0 Tools

(Chicago, IL) — Fewer journalists and more nonprofit new-media experts will present at the 17th annual Making Media Connections conference June 11-12, making the only communications conference of its kind in the country look very different than in years past.

“Consolidation has reduced the number of journalists able to take the time to work with smaller nonprofits, while more groups take advantage of the power to tell their own stories that Web 2.0 tools provide,” says Thom Clark, president of Community Media Workshop, the Chicago-based nonprofit whose mission is to help other nonprofits tell their stories through the news media and other channels.

Since 1991 the Workshop has organized Making Media Connections, the only conference to gather journalists and communication experts for a nonprofit-only audience, annually. Sponsors of this year’s conference include Chicago Tribune Foundation, Chicago Public Radio, Crossroads Fund, and Chi-Town Daily News.

The Workshop is known for expertise in coaching nonprofits to master media relations to advance their communications goals. But in the past year nearly one in six of the nonprofit communicators, or volunteers and staff responsible for telling their organizations’ stories, whom the Workshop served accessed coaching or training on new media and technology. However, media relations remains a core component of the group’s work; nearly half of those who access the Workshop’s services use its Getting On the Air, On-line & Into Print media guide, a directory of Chicago-area journalists.

The conference will be the largest gathering of national nonprofit new-media experts in Chicago ever, bringing together Beth Kanter, from Boston, author of Beth’s Blog and the winner of the Nonprofit Technology Network’s first-ever “Fantasticness in the Nonprofit Technology Community” award as well as Britt Bravo from Bay Area-based TechSoup and Midwesterners Heather Mansfield, a MySpace and Facebook expert, and Michael Hoffman of See3 Video.

All will lead pre-conference workshops on Wednesday, June 11 covering state-of-the-art Web 2.0 tools. The pre-conference workshops also cover traditional communications work, with media relations training by the SPIN Project and newswriting by Jon Anderson, a former Chicago Tribune reporter and University of Iowa writing adjunct faculty member. Renee Ferguson of Chicago ABC-TV affiliate WMAQ and Kanter will keynote the conference on Thursday, June 12.

Details and registration information are available online here; a range of free communication tips and tricks are also there and at the Workshop home page.

(Founded in 1989, from its base at Columbia College Chicago, the 501c3 Community Media Workshop is a citywide leader in bringing new-media tools to nonprofits; it reaches some 2,000 nonprofit communicators who tell their organizations’ stories each year, serves as a channel of nonprofit news to journalists, and builds relationships between these two groups to diversify the voices in the news media. It recently was a finalist in Lumity’s Chicago 2008 Technlogy Leadership Award competition.)

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