January 3, 2009

Cross that October task off the to-do list because the ONA08 evaluations are done

ona08 logo

At the rate I'm going on my to-do list, I'll be making my New Year's Resolutions this spring. But I've finally completed a project I expected to finish months ago.

I'm sure the planners of the 2009 Online News Association Conference are breathing a sigh of relief now that they have 32 pages of comments and workshop evaluations from the 2008 event to guide them.

Those evaluations on paper traveled from Washington DC to Michigan to Indiana to Tennessee to Michigan to Tennessee to Michigan and now back to Washington DC. Part of the transcribed evaluations were lucky enough to be on the thumb drive that didn't survive a parking lot mishap so I got to do some twice (and let me assure you that some journalists have lots to say.)

In some ways, it wasn't easy giving these evaluations up. The perfectionist wanted to compare my spelling of all the folks who signed their evaluations with the conference attendee list.

The perfectionist wanted to put the program description with each set of ratings to make it easy to understand comments, especially the question on how well the session met objectives outlined in the description

workshop evaluation

The perfectionist wanted one score for each session, instead of merely listing how many evaluators answered each question as "Weak, Fair, Good, Very Good, and Excellent."

Instead, I transcribed the comments, counted the check marks and sent the work on its way.

Generally, folks loved what was offered content wise. The room setup gathered the most complaints. Folks seem to want chairs and tables and plugs for their computers. Some want the rooms warmer.

As I wrap up the detail work for one more conference, I suggest that the organizers of the next event do all that - plus make the forms available online so folks can type in their own comments. Or make everybody print letters at least 1/2 inch tall and with a medium that won't smear in early snowfalls in Tennessee.

Another option would be to consider going to the unconference format - just get everyone to the hotel, gather a ton of computers, projectors and tech tools and let folks meet up and teach each other. No evaluations necessary.

(Seriously, I appreciated that folks realized sometimes our priorities change rapidly. I know way too much about cancer, planning funerals, and the need for better ways to pay for, find and evaluate health care for those under 30 and over 70. Oh yeah, don't drop a thumb drive under the tire of a moving car.)

Next up, I'm hoping to learn better how to ask for help faster and how to say no :)

January 2, 2009

A hairy day is a fine one for hats

Today a box of hats arrived from Heavenly Hats, which uses a tagline of sharing hope through hats. I certainly needed hope on this very hairy day - especially late this afternoon when the 24 year old acted liked a 3 year old with scissors.

The hats organization was founded by a 10 year old boy and distributes new hats to those who lose their hair because of medical conditions.

All of the hats are new. Many carry the sample label. Some are knit, or crocheted or sewn by volunteers. Some are an instant hit. Some make us laugh and laughter is good. Hey, she started the afternoon saying the purple one would never go on her head and look where it is now.

We, of course, knew not all hats are perfect. Here's my daughter's first attempt to make her own chemo hat. She's doing much better now that she really knows how to do a double crochet.

The hats come on a good day - a clump of hair came out when she ran her fingers through it while rating her fourth meal of the day. (Yes, many here are sure that the reason it took hours longer then expected to put in her port was doctors secretly hollowed out a leg so she could attempt to eat us out of house and home.)

The hats come on the day she's decided the top of the head pain is from the tenderness of the hair leaving the trail in the shower, on the pillow, on the rug and now the table.

The trail bothers her for a couple of reasons - the fact that it is hers and the fact that it is a trail. Who knew I raised a neatnik. I'm too busy cooking and she's not expecting the energy boost to clean until sometime next week. She's rejected my offer to get rid of the three dogs in attempt to eliminate some hair.

The hats come on the day she's decided it would be easier if it just fell off all at once. We could have skipped the short hair stage - which she hates, she says. Fortunately, I am peeling onions when we both realize why some choose to shave their heads; why even the short cut isn't enough.

Her long shower gives me time to finish that batch of tears and I brace myself for the bald head.

Instead, i get another laugh as decides to wait to shave. Instead, she comes out with a most unusual style as more rebellious lengths decide to stand at attention. (Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of that!)

Later in the day, I learn I better not wait to post from now. She left the kitchen to trim her bangs and came back wearing a new do. What do you think?

Oh, by the way -- I could send you to her blog. But, I'll just borrow some of it now. I don't think we have a crossover audience. Let's start with her Facebook status: Katie W is done with 2... now i'm wilting!

Round two is done.. gearing up for 3!!

hello peeps! i emerge after resting for a couple of days. I had issues with the hospital this week, They scheduled my appointment for 11am with the doctor and my chemo treatment for 5pm! So yes we got to hangout around the hospital for a long time! But i now know i don't like treatments at night and prefer getting them over with because it kinda of woke me up that night and I really couldn't sleep til the next day. Plus now my days are all screwed up and I swear today is still thursday even though everything says friday!

katie cuts hair on 1-2-09frontI am officially wilting now and losing what hair I have at a faster pace than normal so I'm off to do an at home trim because as most of you know with my slight OCD I cannot stand hairs of any kind just floating around on clothes and such! grrr.... they are driving me crazy!! :O) Plus this way I get to pretend like I'm shear genius but not because i can mess up and not get eliminated.

I hope everyone had a better new years eve then i did and everyone old enough to have a drink had one for me! before treatment Lew and I rented a whole bunch of movies and have only 1 left out of 6! i must say we rented don't mess with the zohan and well it was one of the worst adam sandler movies I have ever seen! I really like him too! It was a bummer but hopefully we saved the best on for last kung Fu Panda!! That will be tonight's viewing!

Oh yea some great news from the last doctor's appointment my tumor before treatment was 6 cmX 9 cm on the outside of my skin ( they take a rough measurement because they really can't tell how big it is on the inside without more expensive tests so this is like the cheap version of measuring/ monitoring using a ruler) (sorry about the spelling) but after the first round it is now 5cmX5cm - sooo whoohoo!!!! go yucky chemo drugs that are doing their job! I told my mom the bright red color of the drug reminds me of tiny hatchet men from the music group lewis and I listen too and I keep visioning them attacking the tumor whenever it gets injected... she gave me a weird look like many of you are probably doing too but i read that it helps to vision the meds working like this and it makes tons of since to me since the color is like bright blood koolaid! Ahh... well i must trim this mop of hair i have left! Laters!!

By the way, she's wrong. Mom likse the imagery of the hatchet men. The haircut, I'm not so crazy about.

So peeps, Laters!!!

January 1, 2009

Can laid-off journalists do web business ?

A headline change on LinkedIn (Job or freelance work wanted), a FaceBook status on someone acquiring a co-worker's flowers, and a couple of posts in blogs written by people I've worked with help create a gloomy start to 2009. Yes, more folks I know either start 2009 jobless or know they soon will be.

Yet some still offer hope, the idea that there might be a way to ensure communities are covered and laid-off journalists can find new ways to earn pay.

For instance, a group of believers that the changes happening can lead to something better ask:
What would a news-organization incubator look like?

Anyone interested is invited to a Jan. 21 Talkfest set in Columbia, Missouri. Only cost is getting there. Or you can also attend via Adobe Connect.

Bill Densmore invited folks via his FaceBook status to an event called "Putting Feet on the Streets for Journalism/" The event recognizes layoffs atnewspapers, lack of coverage in communities while web efforts grow.

Over on the wiki about the effort it says:
"the RJI Collaboratory could provide resources and knowledge on how to start effective and successful Web-based news organizations. Those who could benefit from the news organization incubator are entrepreneurial mid-career journalists, and existing news organizations that are undertaking the transformational strategies necessary to adapt to a Webcentric world."

The plans for the one day session are set:

"During the one-day event, we'll meet together in the morning to show you some successful Web-based news organizations. We'll discuss why we think a news organization incubator is necessary, and identify issues that entrepreneurial journalists and existing news organizations face as they make the transition to becoming Webcentric news organizations.

In the afternoon, we'll meet in working groups to address particular issues in starting a news organization incubator, and how it will function. The approaches developed in those groups will serve as the foundation for a plan for the RJI Collaboratory. "

Fellow Jane Ellen Stevens is the main contact (jstevens@mmjourno.com, 707-495-1112) is the contact. But first head to the wiki for more details on program, goals, etc.

Happy new year. Happy new ways.