This conference was sponsored by Northwest Science Writer Association at PATH Auditorium.
Guest Speakers: Michael McCarthy, MD, ex-editor of The Lancet, and current owner of a local health guide on line, Luke Timmerman, writer for Xconomy, a technology and business portal in Boston, Seattle and San Diego,Mark Briggs, author of Knight Foundation guide to new media, and owner of a consulting business. Moderator: Sally James, freelance medical and science writer, NSWA Vice President.
It is interesting to find out how more and more start up businesses are using new media tools. The guests shared with the audience the way that they are using new media tools to start their own business.
Mark just developed an application for the The Bellingham Herald website. This application is a social mapping for local news where the community can find or post information about their neighborhood. It uses a GPS system that locates the exact area where the event/news is happening. This is a new model of community collaboration placing news updates. According to Mark, this model provides an opportunity for the news paper to build trust among their audience.
He also talked about his book which was publish in English and available on line (Journalism 2.0) with 30,000 hits and 60,000 hits for the Spanish and Portuguese version. This was fascinating to me because I noticed that between Spanish and Portuguese the number of hits for his book doubled, that means that there are two potential markets out there for other languages.
Dr. McCarthy introduce his on line health guide. This guide covers the Seattle area with topics that concern to the Seattle residents. The point of this guide is to make health care more local he said it is like the “Craigslist for Health in Seattle” He is doing it on his own time, but he hopes that one day that becomes his main source of income. He is also thinking about the possibility to add the Spanish language to his guide in the future. I truly believe that the Hispanic community living in Seattle would benefit of this addition.
Luke, talked about adding a more human touch to his news for the audience instead of doing it from the institutional view. His model is to create and reach a niche audience providing them with local information.
All three agreed that social media tools like Facebook and Twitter is very important now in every business, however only two of them have implemented this social media tools as part of their business. There were many questions from the audience about the financial part of starting their own business and for two of the guests it’s their main source of business which it is more that they use to make before working for a news papers.
The experience that the guests had with social media and the different ways they are applying it in their own business was fascinating. I believe that social media provides many tools for new business to start and for existing business these tools would allow them to be closer to their audience and bring the trust back.