Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Off the Record: Journalists Need High Speed

Off the record: I have a need for speed.

So do many other folks these days. That's why, on Tuesday May 26th, Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick visited my small town to discuss an issue of great importance to independent journalists like me, home-based business people, and students: the need for speed.

Of course I'm referring to High Speed internet, which, believe it or not, is very difficult to access in rural communities like mine. The majority of households and businesses here run on dial-up!

Before the governor's arrival, I was interviewed by ABC, Springfield's Ray Hershel. Off the record: Hershel's coverage is succinct and clear. I'm very pleased with the report overall, as it highlights the most important aspects of the issue.

Of course, the part of my interview that was left on the cutting room floor was the part where I explain WHY I'm interviewing people via email. My first choice is always to interview people face-to-face. However, time and distance do not always permit this.

For example, when I interviewed the cutting-edge Indian artists, Thukral & Tagra, for Anokhi magazine, email was the only way. The magazine was not going to send me to India for the interview, and the time difference between locations made a phone conversation untenable. Hence, "Everyday Thukral & Tagra: a hot commodity" was the result of internet communication.

Off the record: if not for my Sprint broadband card, my job would be a lot more difficult.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Off the Record: Trash = Cash

This week I was fortunate to attend a meeting that MA DEP held for professionals in the recycling business community. DEP’s intent was to inform folks about the financial opportunities available to businesses engaged in solid waste recycling and re-use.

The room was packed. Presenters from BDC Capital, the MA Small Business Development Center at Clark University, Mass Development and the USDA Rural Development office shared information about available loans and grants of up to $500,000 to help revitalize, grow or create businesses engaged in recycling and reuse. The possibilities are so numerous it’s astounding. Recycling has gone far beyond paper, plastic and glass. This includes compost (yard scraps, food waste, etc…), textiles, and electronic components that do not contain hazardous materials. USDA is even funding LAND reuse.

It was truly inspiring to see how many people in both government and in the private sector are engaged in this issue. After the meeting, I spoke with several individuals who agreed to interviews. There is a wealth of story material here, and as far as I know, I was the only journalist at the meeting! I’ll post in-depth coverage of the meeting and the opportunities presented there at Conscious Cow in the next few weeks. (Of course, I’m also excited about the possibilities of selling these stories to high quality publications.) Since the business owners I spoke to agreed to let me visit their facilities and shoot their operations in action, I anticipate having some fun and fascinating videos to share at Conscious Cow this summer.

It seems these businesspeople really are living the triple bottom line concept of people, planet, and profit.

Off the record, the bottom line is: trash really does equal cash.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Off the record: what’s your marketing strategy?

Off the record, one of the great things about writing for magazines is that some of the editors send me free issues each month. I’ve really been enjoying Coffee Talk magazine lately, because each issue features a great column, called “Smart Marketing”. Written by Lisa Olsen, this column offers practical advice for business owners in all industries, not just hospitality and specialty beverage.

This month’s column is particularly interesting and useful, as it focuses on internet marketing. Many business people and artists I know are just learning how to use the web to generate more revenue as well as an increase in foot traffic to their street locations. If you’re an entrepreneur, I highly recommend you check out Lisa’s column. After all, whether you’re just starting out, or well established, there’s never a bad time to think about creative marketing. Find this article online in Coffee Talk's May 2009 issue.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Off the Record: How to Get Money to Make Art (Without Winning the Lottery)

Off the record, my friend Mira is one cool woman. She writes, she paints, she's fun to hang with, and she offers one sweet blog for artists of all sorts. I get her updates regularly and visit Mira's List to catch up on the latest grants and funding available for writers. You see, I'm all about empowerment, and that's what Mira's List offers.

"Finding Money for Your Dreams" is my favorite post thus far. It's both inspiring, and chock-full of important and practical tips. It's a long read, but if you're an artist, it's well worth the time to check it out. Reading "Finding Money for Your Dreams" reminded me of some important steps I needed to take, and inspired me to act immediately.

Until next time...