Block by Block

We had write ups of many of the highly practical sessions at Block by Block: Community News Summit 2012. If you’re interested in the business of highly local news, read more here. This was the third and final summit. I said a little more about the virtual future of the Block by Block – a loose network of entrepreneurial local news providers – here..

Block by Block: Community News Summit 2012

I am again the lead organizer for Block by Block, which gets under way Thursday in Chicago at Loyola University. I’m very proud of the sessions we have organized and grateful to our presenters, organizers and sponsors.

Block by Block is the annual gathering of independent online community news publishers. It will be conclude Saturday.

Reynolds Journalism Institute will live stream all general sessions here and will live stream two sessions during each breakout on Live Stream Channel 1 andLive Stream Channel 2.

You can also follow on Twitter: #bxb12 and view posts from the sessions at

Here’s the full agenda.


Digital Training Comes of Age

I helped write a new report on professional development for journalists for the Knight Foundation. “Digital Training Comes of Age” was released Aug. 9.

Key findings:

  • Professional development has impact. It helped journalists learn the multimedia skills needed to create new, engaging story forms. It provided the entrepreneurial skills needed to start new local news ventures. It taught university professors the digital fluency needed to teach the latest best practices. Training helped journalists investigate wrongdoing and prompt policy change.
  • A growing demand for training as journalists adapt to the 21st century’s evolving media ecosystems. Journalists want more training in digital tools such as multimedia, data analysis and technology. Most give their news organizations low marks for providing training opportunities.
  • Digital classes are gaining popularity as a cost-effective way to reach more trainees. A third of U.S. journalists and eight in 10 international journalists say the online classes they took were as good as, or better than, conventional training in the classroom.
  • Training organizations are adapting to the digital age. They are providing more training online and rethinking how their programs can foster the transformation of journalism.

The report also notes that the news industry can use training to propel change and innovation, but few traditional news organizations are doing that. Knight Foundation, meanwhile, has invested heavily in journalism education – $150 million in the past 10 years.

It is the fourth Knight report on journalism training in the past decade, including “News, Improved,” which I co-authored in 2007.

Update: Here’s  a post about the report on The Hub, a site for nonprofit news organizations..

Block by Block: Community News Summit 2012

General registration is open for the Block by Block summit, Sept. 13-15 in Chicago.

This is the third summit for which I’m leading up the organizing. Online community news entrepreneurs are making progress on growing their businesses and revenues, and the focus of Block by Block is to help with that. So the program will be heavily focused in those areas, including sessions on ad sales, mobile, customer relations management, partnerships, hiring and managing employees, and operating like a business. I’m excited about the line up of expert presenters and facilitators we will bring to the summit.

We also have terrific support from The Patterson Foundation, Reynolds Journalism Institute, Knight Foundation, Knight Digital Media Center, Knight News Innovation Lab, and Loyola University, where the event will be held.

Learn more about the event and register, here..

Update on my work

An earlier version of this site inexplicably disappeared from the Internet recently. The able folks at Techliminal rebuilt most of it, but not all the content could be restored.

Here are a few links to things I’ve been working on during this content gap: