Writing

It’s Time to Restore and Strengthen the Voting Rights Act

YES! Magazine

Aug 10, 2017

On the 52nd anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, 31 states with histories of racial discrimination no longer have federal oversight of their voting process. If judging only by the 99 new laws proposed in 2017 to restrict registration and voting access, one might assume that voter fraud is a widespread issue. Yet according to a study in May by the Brennan Center for Justice, of the 23.5 million votes cast in the 2016 general election, only an estimated 30 incidents across 42 jurisdictions were referred to by election officials as suspected noncitizen voting. In a one-year period, America has had more proposed laws prohibiting voting than cases of actual voter fraud incidents. So what makes a statistically nonexistent issue warrant the current level of scrutiny or legislative action?

 

Protecting Each Other in Portland

Amplifier via Medium

Jun 26, 2017

Last week’s horrifying murder of Nabra Hassanen placed a spotlight on the increase in Anti-Muslim hate crimes in the United States since the 2016 presidential election. While hard data on these crimes is difficult to piece together given the individual and institutional barriers to reporting, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) 2017 Civil Rights Report cites 2,213 bias incidents in the last year, including 260 anti-Muslim hate crimes. This marks a 44% rise from 2015, and a staggering 584% increase from 2014, when the group counted just 38 hate crimes. In response, individuals are working within local communities to push back against Islamophobia.

 

It’s time to change the American narrative

Amplifier via Medium

Jun 19, 2017

Particularly in times of uncertainty, art serves as a weapon and a shield in the battle for our identity, dignity and safety. When the We The People initiative launched in January 2017, our primary intention was to reject the messages of hate and overt racism that were normalized during the 2016 presidential campaign. Since then, individuals and movements have continued to leverage these images to reshape the American narrative.

 

Are you leaving money on the table?

Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute

FEBRUARY 22, 2017

If done well, newsletters can inform subscribers while also generating revenue. However, it’s important to know from the outset what the main purpose is. For curators interested in monetizing their newsletter, here are four possible methods to consider.

 

What are your newsletter analytics trying to tell you? Are you listening?

Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute

Feb 3, 2017

Your newsletter subscribers are trying to tell you something, but are you tracking the right metrics to hear them? Curators traditionally rely on three standard metrics to gauge newsletter effectiveness: open rate, click-thru rate and subscription rate. Yet these alone don’t provide a complete picture of newsletter health. Conversely, collecting every possible data point does not guarantee fitness. Too many curators waste time collecting data simply for the sake of collecting, rather than using analytics to diagnose and improve.

 

Test, test, test! Designing a data-driven newsletter

Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute

Jan 24, 2017

Being data-driven is as much a habit as it is a business model, and collecting data you don’t use isn’t just bad business sense, it’s also bad for morale. At a time when newsrooms across the country are downsizing and streamlining to make the most of their resources, collecting data can either be a tool to increase efficiency and impact or it can be an enormous waste of time. The difference is in learning from and iterating based on that data. Testing, measuring and analyzing even the simplest elements of your newsletter — such as send time or placement of visuals — can lead to powerful insight on your audience and what they want from you.

 

The Ann Friedman Weekly: How one freelance journalist created a massively successful newsletter

Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute

Jan 17, 2017

Like many modern freelancers, you may find journalist Ann Friedman in a range of publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and New York Magazine. This disaggregation of her body of work can make it difficult for readers to develop loyalty. Yet many readers — particularly millennials — are more interested in following a writer they trust or enjoy than a publication.

 

Why send a newsletter at all?

Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute

Jan 10, 2017

E-newsletters have become a primary engagement, dissemination and revenue-generating tool for modern newsrooms. With benefits ranging from reader loyalty to audience insights to new revenue, it’s easy to see why. What’s harder to see is the “why not,” though it’s equally important. Email used to be a method for filtering the internet. Far from the infinity scroll or overcrowded stream of un-vetted articles, email delivered exactly what we needed to know from a trusted source in a format that we could finish. For newsrooms, email allowed us to target exactly who we wanted with the content and branding we wanted them to see. Email has not only outlived and outshone other tools, it has remained the one constant in a stream of new technologies. As ReDef executive Jason Hirschhorn told The New York Times, email is “the cockroach of the internet.” But our inboxes this morning have made one thing abundantly clear: The cockroaches have taken over.

 

How do we engage news consumers in the digital world?

Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute

Jun 30, 2016

If you operate a nonprofit newsroom, email appeals have likely become an essential fundraising tool. Yet while recommendations for how to grow your mailing lists are readily available, it’s much harder to find good information about retaining subscribers and engaging them as active community members. As a result, many successful efforts to gain subscribers are followed swiftly by flurries of unsubscribes or high spam ratings. Through a fellowship with the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, I’ve set out to explore ways that nonprofit news outlets can turn fly-by readers into email subscribers and, further, into supporting members.

 

60 reasons to be optimistic about the Northwest’s future

Crosscut Public Media

August 24, 2016

Measuring and comparing courage is a difficult task. We’re reminded of this each time Crosscut readers send in nominations for the Crosscut Courage Awards. Which is why we in turn hand the job of selecting the honorees over to a council of civic, business, and cultural leaders in our community. Last night as that council convened, they were searching for individuals who innovate despite criticism, show selfless leadership, inspire others, follow data and best practices even when custom and tradition say otherwise, and take risk to successfully break gridlock. What they found were 60 reasons to be optimistic for our future.

 

See something courageous? Report it.

Crosscut Public Media

July 20, 2016

Through a haze of hateful twitter attacks, robust polarization in media, and the decline of civil dialogue in public life, habits of courage are more often rewarded with criticism than celebration. Perhaps it’s easier to see it with the perspective that only comes with time. Children gathered around a piano at Camp Harmony following Executive Order 9066. The only woman to serve as Seattle’s mayor taking a hard stance against police corruption. A tribal leader under arrest for the 50th time to protect the sovereignty of tribes and their right to harvest Northwest salmon. Courage can easily be found throughout our local history. But we want to catch people in the act today.

 

An exciting new chapter for Northwest public media

Crosscut Public Media

Dec 2, 2015

We’re writing today with thrilling news. Yesterday, Crosscut formally agreed to join with KCTS 9 Public Television under the umbrella of a larger, multi-platform nonprofit organization that will be called Cascade Public Media. This merger represents an exciting new chapter for Crosscut, for KCTS, and for regional, nonprofit news in the Pacific Northwest. We’ll get to the details in a moment. First, we want to assure you that Crosscut isn’t going anywhere. 

 

SVP Fast Pitch 2014 showcases the future

Crosscut Public Media

November 1, 2014

One of my favorite pastimes is scanning the projects on Kickstarter or IndiGogo, getting a taste for the next wave of disruptive technologies designed to revolutionize my morning latte, backpacking omelets or personal posture. Perhaps that’s why attending last week’s Seattle Venture Partners’ annual Fast Pitch Finals at McCaw Hall felt to me like shopping for the next companies that will revolutionize our community. Contestants pitch their ideas — live, on-stage before a panel of judges — in hopes of landing a piece of the $250,000 in grant and investments on the table.

 

Seattle’s female business leaders dole out mentorship advice

Crosscut Public Media

March 7, 2013

As the organizer of Friday’s Young Professionals International Network Speed Mentorship event, I’ve been meeting for coffee and chatting on the phone with dozens of trailblazing, ass-kicking, Seattle based female leaders. They’ve had fascinating stories to share of the women that helped or hindered them along their way, the opportunities and roadblocks encountered, and the kind of mentors they hope to be for future female leaders. Some have asked why women’s mentorship should be any different than men’s mentorship. The truth is, it shouldn’t be. But it is.