Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Let's make a resolution to really make things better

By Ed Stannard, Community Engagement Editor
Twitter: @edstannardnhr, @nhrvoices

Planning to lose 10 pounds next year? Forget it. Too many cookies.

Joining a gym? Will you really get up on those dark mornings?

Quitting smoking? You’ve tried that before, haven’t you?

How about this: For 2012, come up with a resolution that will make a difference in your community — and we’ll help you keep it.

The New Haven Register and SeeClickFix are teaming up for a project called Town Resolutions 2012. (Our sister papers, the Middletown Press and the Register Citizen of Torrington, are participating with their own campaigns.)

All we need you to do is submit ideas for issues and problems in Greater New Haven that you believe need attention. Then we’ll follow up for the rest of the year to see if we can make progress in improving.

“It’s a great opportunity — obviously everybody has new year’s resolutions for themselves,” said Emma Richards, director of media partnerships for SeeClickFix, which is based in New Haven. Town Resolutions 2012 will bring “the power of the media to bring attention to things that should be resolved in the new year.”

This is what SeeClickFix, a Journal Register Co., partner, does really well. Anyone can report an issue, ranging from a downed tree limb to drug-dealing. Others can join in, and SeeClickFix’s partners, which include cities and towns, monitor the reports and respond to them.
So far, several readers have submitted proposals, including one that SeeClickFix has been focusing on for a while: the Interstate 91 underpass over Humphrey Street, which separates the State Street and Jocelyn Square neighborhoods.

“SeeClickFix helped to rally a couple of neighborhood organizations in the area to plant trees … to break up that concrete jungle, as people were calling it,” Richards said.

But there’s more to be done, and if it’s chosen as one of the Register’s 2012 resolutions, we’ll keep on it, highlighting the problems and spotlighting the improvements as they are completed.
This can really be big, but we can’t do it without your help. Here’s what you do. On the form below, click on the Report tab to submit a resolution. Fill out the form, describe the problem — you can even upload a photo — and submit it. This is important: Be sure to put “resolution2012” in the description box.

To vote on a resolution, click on the Issues tab. Click on “Fix It!” or, to see more about it, click the blue link. Then click on “Comment / Change Issue Status” and then on “Vote!” You can also weigh in on the issue.

After the first week of January, we’ll see which issues have the most support and let you know. Then you can make sure WE keep our resolutions for the new year!

Town resolutions can be proposed for any town in Connecticut. The New Haven Register will track issues in New Haven and surrounding towns. The Middletown Press will track issues in the Middletown area. The Register Citizen will track issues in the Torrington area. And we want to encourage all community news outlets and bloggers from around the state to track other proposals and resolutions in their own towns. Our resolution for 2012 is to help make Connecticut a better place to live. SeeClickFix helps make that possible. So use it now, and all year long.

If you're having trouble using the submission form above, check out this easy 3-step tutorial.

If your submitted town resolution is not showing up on the issues map, try zooming out to be sure the area appears on the map. If that doesn't work, or if there is an issue previously reported on SeeClickFix that you'd like to add as a town resolution for 2012, email cmarch@journalregister.com with a link to the reported issue on the SeeClickFix website to have it added.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Open News Meetings: You Have a Say

This morning, we started something new at the New Haven Register building at 40 Sargent Drive. But the great thing is: You can raise your voice from anywhere.

We're hosting what we call "open news meetings" on the Internet, meaning any employee or anyone who is interested may take part at 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, as we discuss what's happening in our coverage area.

All you have to do is click that link or join us from our Facebook page.

And we're counting on you to fill us in on what's going on where you live, work and play; and give us daily feedback on how we're performing as journalists.

For the morning meetings, we will be joined by the staff and readers from our sister papers in Connecticut - the Register Citizen in Torrington; the Middletown Press in Middletown.

Ed and I will be looking for you online! And you're always welcome to stop by, that hasn't changed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Teens to Your Open Newsroom: "Report Solutions"

I had the honor recently of spending time with students from New Haven’s Hyde Leadership Interdistrict Magnet School and their resource counselor, Jane Roth.

The group- about 20 - came to the newsroom for a tour and to observe our morning news meeting. As Managing Editor Mark Brackenbury explained, it was an unusual day, as many of the regular meeting participants were on the road.

While Mark and I were chatting with them about changes in journalism and the challenges we face every day, Joseph Kelley and his schoolmates did exactly what my colleague and fellow blogger Ed Stannard encourage our audience to do: Raise your voices.
As we roll out a reorganization that is focused on community engagement, investigative stories, explainer pieces, fact-checking and breaking news, I am delighted that Joseph told us how we could better serve him.

He wants us to go beyond reporting on-the spot conflict or violence when they arise in our coverage area. Listen in:

We will be continuing our discussion with Joseph and even more Hyde students after the turn of the year. We will listen to them and bring those forums to you via chats on our website. So be sure to follow Your Open Newsroom updates here on the blog, on Twitter @NHRvoices and our Community Media Lab page on Facebook.
You may also send me an email: acarter@nhregister.com or call 203-789-5752.

Ed and I are charged with making the New Haven Register newsroom more open to you. That means engaging you in all steps of the newsgathering process from finding out what’s happening around us, to shaping how your stories are presented online and in print, to sharing with our networks of family, friends and co-workers for even more feedback.
So, chime in and let us know how we’re doing. That’s right, just jump into the comments section and start now!

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My world and welcome to it!

OK brain, stop spinning a minute. Online comments, Community Media Lab, public forums, live-streamed chats, Twitter, Facebook …
I'm Ed Stannard and I recently started my new job as one of the New Haven Register’s two community engagement editors, along with my colleague Angi Carter. It’s my fifth job at the Register, and one they didn’t teach me much about this way back in journalism school, since online referred to waiting for lunch in the dining hall or for tickets to a concert.
But as each new tool has come along, it’s been another way for journalists to help people tell their stories, and the digital revolution has made it so much easier and faster.
Angi and I are creating this job from the ground up, and it’s been a whirlwind, for me, of thinking of ways to bring our audience, our readers, closer to the process, to find ways to help the public let us know what is important to them and to spread the word throughout our news staff.
There have been some basics to take care of: It helps to reach our excellent news and sports staffs if you know who they are, so we’ve put up a complete directory. We’ll be expanding this with bios, photos and our Twitter and Facebook contacts as we go along.
Another part of our job is to nurture and support our Community Media Lab bloggers. They are an eclectic bunch of people who are passionate about their interests. We feature them on the nhregister.com home page and on our Facebook page.
You can find them all at nhregister.com/bloghaven, and I hope you’ll check them out and let them and us know what you think of their work.
The Community Media Lab is a big place, and we’re looking for more members. So if you or someone you know has a desire to write and share it, let us know. We’ll help you start your blog if you want us to, and if you already have one, we’ll link you to our site.
I’ve been asked what I’m most looking forward to in this job. That’s easy: Meeting and getting to know more people in the New Haven area, where I’ve lived most of my life. I love the city and the area: I grew up in West Haven and live in Branford, but work, church and many weekend events are in the city, and my roots in New Haven are on both sides of my family tree.
So please wish me luck, and let me know what you think I should be doing in this new venture. You can call me at 203-789-5743 or email me at estannard@nhregister.com. I’m also on Facebook at Ed Stannard-Register and on Twitter at EdStannardNHR.
Keep in touch!
(By the way, if the title of this post sounds familiar, congratulations! You're well-read. It's the title of one of humorist and cartoonist James Thurber's books.)