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Social Media Evolution: How It’s Changing Journalism

WCSH 6/ WLBZ 2 Social Media Coordinator, Brett Whitmarsh

Last month, we addressed the changing landscape of journalism with the integration of social media, and NEWS CENTER 6 Social Media Coordinator, Brett Whitmarsh says the entire Gannett team is striving to lead the way in this collaboration.

Whitmarsh says that originally they figured that social media users would see bits of the news unfold throughout the day, and then we would tie it all together for them in our broadcasts. However, he adds, “My news director took it one step further and took notice of the conversations online, and she realized we needed to be having those same conversations in the newsroom in order to deliver the news that our viewers were looking for.”

Whitmarsh started his career as a general news photographer in Albany, New York after attending Lyndon State College, but he really wanted to ‘come home’ to Maine and work for the WCSH 6 team. After applying for three different positions, he finally landed a job working for 207 and Bill Green’s Maine.

By late 2007/early 2008, Whitmarsh says that they were playing with social media, not fully realizing the direction it would soon go. He says, “It was a lot of fun, but wasn’t really a focus yet.” Within a year, he was attending Quinnipiac University to get his master’s degree in interactive communications while still working full-time on 207 and Bill Green’s Maine. “Those were the hardest two years—I saw all of these techniques that we should be doing as a newsroom with social media,” he says.

Whitmarsh adds that Gannett has been leading the way in social media efforts in journalism by making it a priority. Fresh from grad school and recognized for his passion for social media, Gannett offered Brett the position of social media coordinator.

If you’ve caught Brett in action, then you know that he isn’t kidding when he says that having social media is as common as having a phone, but that people are still confused on how to use it. The etiquette if you will. This is why he works with his news director to develop programs that help demonstrate how you can manage privacy and still be social.

A great early success story was the “social cam” app on Facebook. At first, people thought it asked too many personal questions and it was often confused with spam or phishing, so the NEWS CENTER team decided to break it down and explain how the app worked (you can shoot videos using multiple settings and filters, and then easily upload them via email, Facebook, YouTube and SMS).

The public is more aware of news as it happens than ever, and this engagement is a driving factor in developing programming. Brett says he spends a lot of time observing social media trends and seeing what viewers are talking about—if he notices misinformation being circulated, he uses it as an opportunity to address it. He likes to break down all the jargon and confusion in a way that anyone can understand.

Follow Brett on Twitter @BWhitmarsh

The greatest change in journalism in the ten years Brett has been with WCSH 6/WLBZ 2 has been the technology. Everything is digital, which means no more shooting or editing video on tape. Stories are written from anywhere, so long as there is an Internet connection. This has changed deadlines to “right now” instead of 5 or 6 o’clock. It truly is a 24-hour news cycle.

Whitmarsh says, “Your phone can now be a mobile newsroom. With that comes a whole new level of responsibility in upholding the ethics of journalism. While it is important to be first, it is more important to be right—that’s never changed. It’s so much easier to make a very public mistake.” He adds that expectations have changed for journalists and reporters but that, “Our NEWS CENTER team is incredible. These people are true news veterans.” He also suggests that you follow Pat Callaghan on Twitter because if you don’t then, “you are seriously missing out!”

You will also be seriously missing out if you don’t follow Brett on Twitter! You can connect with him @BWhitmarsh or check out all of his NEWS CENTER stories at http://timebrat.tumblr.com.

Bright Lights, Big City, Bold Ambition

Assistant Designer for Ralph Lauren, Jordan Weymouth Richards

I’ve heard it said that if you can find something that you love to do, and find someone who is crazy enough to pay you to do it each and every day, then you will never work a day in your life. The implication is that work is a state of mind, and this week’s Monday Maine Maven Jordan Weymouth Richards lives in a New York state of mind.

Since leaving her hometown in Maine seven years ago, Richards has been pursuing her passion for fashion, and is currently working as an assistant designer for Ralph Lauren in New York City. Ironically, the path to Manhattan began when she was only seven years old and received a plastic Singer toy sewing machine. She says, “Of course, I was thrilled and went right to work with the intention of putting miles on that baby!” When it broke, her parents quickly realized that upgrading to a real machine was a necessity.

Jordan immediately put in hours creating dolls, clothes for all of her dolls, Halloween costumes and eventually reconstructing and redesigning her old clothes into custom creations. Without even realizing what was happening, she began crafting her future career. As she got older, she considered engineering because it would allow her to translate her childhood vision into a lasting career through the use of creativity and the logic of math and science.

Richards, with a handbag she designed for Lucky Brand.

However, her initial love for fashion and creation kept pulling her in a different direction. Jordan says, “I went to a Catholic elementary school, which meant uniforms and not much opportunity to express myself through my clothing. When I got to high school styling my daily outfits was exciting and fun! It was like playing with a fresh canvas each day and that truly appealed to my creative side.” The fusion of engineering a product with her passion and curiosity for fashion made fashion design the only option.

Four years of sleepless nights, one semester in London, an internship with Kevin Christiana, a bag design picked up by Lucky Brand Jeans, a feature on CBS New York, and an outstanding thesis presentation resulted in Jordan landing an interview and job offer from Ralph Lauren before she even graduated. She loves what she does and credits Ralph for refining her style saying, “My attention to details—the trim, buttons and the fabrication—has sharpened. I used to look at design in a broader sense of shapes and silhouettes, but the little things can truly make a garment special.”

A wedding dress Jordan designed for her cousin Kasie.

When she isn’t working at Ralph Lauren, Jordan can be found in her Brooklyn apartment booking work of her own. Her work has been featured in two fashion shows, one in New York at Webster Hall in 2010 and one in Maine for Maine’s Fashion Night Out in 2010. Richards has always worn her own couture apparel since she was in high school, but recently, she has been building a clientele that keeps her busy. She designed her cousin’s wedding gown in 2011 and is currently working on a 3-in-1 wedding dress for a New York City client.

Where does this designer find her inspiration? Richards says that she definitely looks at social media sites such as Pinterest, Etsy, and a number of blogs and Tumblr accounts to see what’s out there. She says, “I want to be original and that means I have to know what’s out there. You never know where you will find inspiration. You might see a sleeve on a Tumblr post that sparks the idea for an entire dress.” She adds that access to so many images helps designers understand construction and inspires creativity beyond what can be learned from a textbook.

Jordan credits her Maine roots to the other sources in which she finds inspiration—architecture and nature—saying, “I grew up surrounded by acres of woods and there is so much beauty in the striation of a broken rock, or in the texture of bark on a tree. These little details help me come up with color stories, silhouettes, seaming, fabrication and more.”

Jordan and her brother, Griffin, on a recent family visit in NYC.

While Richards loves New York City, she also loves to get away from the faster-paced life and relax with her family and enjoy the peace that is Maine. She finds it funny that even after almost a decade in the city, she still occasionally gets asked “you’re not from around here are you?” because she takes pride in the fact there will always be a bit of Maine left in the now-New York girl.

The vibe and energy that the city feeds Jordan is the same energy that she hopes to translate into her work. Richards says, “I am dedicated to becoming a designer of not just clothing, but of lifestyles. The impact fashion has on our society and the world we live in is fascinating, and I want to be a part of that.”

Richards will be launching an Etsy shop in the summer of 2013, where she will be selling couture accessories and pieces. For more information or to reach out to Jordan, you can add her on Facebook, check out her website www.jrichstyle.com/, or follow her on Pinterest pinterest.com/JRichStyle/.

Big Solutions for Every Business in Maine

President of CORE Solutions, Heather Veilleux.

What do New York, Maine and Ohio have in common? President of CORE Solutions and this week’s Maine Maven, Heather Veilleux, has called all of them home. While she has enjoyed each of them, Heather says, “The truth is, my plan was to move back to Maine all along.”

Veilleux adds that although it was hard to make the decision to move back to Augusta from New York City,  it was also a very exciting opportunity. She says, “Maine has more space to grow and more ways to be unique.”

Maine also has, by far, a much slower and steadier pace. While living in New York, Heather was working three jobs as a real estate agent at Bold New York by day, and a waitress at LongHorn Steakhouse in New Jersey and Marseille in New York City by night, and the occasional weekend gig through Total Entertainment! Not to mention that she was also juggling classes at Berkeley College and remotely creating her own start-up business. How did she do it? Veilleux says, “I realized that I simply didn’t have the time to go to class, so I began taking online classes. Ultimately, this allowed me to start and run a business that would eventually be located in Maine.”

Heather on a trip to Africa last year with the Flying Kites Global. Former Maine Maven, Ashley Underwood was also on this trip.

We hate to get political, but it’s hard to ignore that Heather’s life became consumed with politics shortly after she moved back to Maine last fall. Her fiancé (then boyfriend), Matthew Pouliot, announced that he would be running for office. “Little did I know what a great ride we were in for,” she says, and it would become a great inspiration for her re-evaluation of her business, Heels to Healing.

Through designing and planning advertisements and social media outreach during the campaign, Veilleux realized that there was an opportunity to help small businesses in the area using the same tactics. Heels to Healing was originally created to raise money through events for other nonprofits, but she realized that this model was making her business into a small United Way.

“I felt that rebranding and creating a for-profit business with a strong social mission was a better way to run a business and help my community,” says Veilleux about the change. With a new outlook and the creation of CORE Solutions, her goal is to help other businesses and organizations by offering services that they may not be able to have without hiring a full-time employee and/or hiring multiple companies. CORE Solutions offers high value for a low cost in assisting with event planning, fundraising, marketing and more.

CORE Solutions is an Augusta-based company offering quality business solutions that are designed to fit every budget.

CORE Solution’s signature event is the semi-annual Maine’s Fashion Night Out (MFNO). Originally created as a starting point for Heels to Healing, the event incorporates all of Heather’s favorite things: fashion, music, dance and central Maine! That’s right, it’s located right here in Augusta. Veilleux says, “I feel that central Maine is deprived when it comes to big events, especially in fashion. I live in Augusta and grew up in Hallowell, and I want to be a part of its growth.”

The mission of MFNO is to bring together the community, to promote local business and nonprofit organizations, and to network. They are currently looking for sponsors and volunteers—check out out www.MainesFNO.com for more information on how you can get involved and/or purchase your ticket for their upcoming event at the Armory.

To contact Heather, you may follow her on Twitter @coremaine, like her page on Facebook www.facebook.com/coremaine, or email her heather@coremaine.com.

Julia Clukey at 2013 Luge World Cup

In the photo below, Olympian Julia Clukey from Augusta, Maine is interviewed by Duncan Kennedy from The NBC Sports Network as Julia’s nephew Lucas (age 4) looks on in his Kermit the Frog hat.

Olympian Julia Clukey wins two silver medals at the 2013 Luge World Cup.

The photo was taken last weekend when Julia won two silver medals at the 2013 World Cup. The photo was part of a photo shoot coordinated by NMC Account Executive Greg Glynn. Greg was in Lake Placid to help coordinate media relations and the photo shoot for Olympian Julia Clukey as part of her work with the Maine Beer & Wine Distributors Association.

Greg teamed up with the AdWorkshop and professional photographer Shaun Ondak to coordinate the photo shoot. More photos from the shoot will be released in newspapers, magazines and posters later this year as Julia continues to prepare for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

From our entire team at NMC, we are proud to work with Julia and wish her well in her final luge World Cup race of the season in two weeks. To learn more about Olympian Julia Clukey, you can visit her website at www.clukeyluge.com.

Go Julia!

New York, New York

Yesterday I traveled to New York City for the annual holiday gathering of the Society of American Travel Writers. I haven’t been to Manhattan since March when we organized the Taste of Maine Media Marketplace for our client, the Maine Office of Tourism. There was a period in my life that I traveled to Manhattan on a montly basis and that got old fast. But now that I haven’t been into the city since March, it felt reallly great to be there for a quick 24 hour period. New York is energy. It is inspiration. It revitalizes me and inspires me. I suppose it’s because it’s such a mecca of media and business. It’s fast paced. I must say, I love New York.

That said, I was very happy to return to my beloved state of Maine.