Category Archives: Blogging

Echo 2010: Blogging – Scott McClellan

I am at the Echo Conference, a church media conference in Dallas at the Watermark Community Church. I’ll blog my notes.

The Most Epic Blogging Breakout Ever – Scott McClellan

1. Design:

  • Content is king – but design is huge. WordPress offers great flexibility and ability for high design
  • Try to think about who is coming, how they’re getting there and give them a framework and context for what the blog is about. If they can’t get an idea of what’s going on and why they’re there, they will feel like an outsider and go away and not come back.
  • Give people an excuse to come back, subscribe to RSS feed

2. Voice:

  • Discover your voice: what should I write from my blog that only I can write?
  • Compress what you are hearing and learning and add your take

3. Rhythm:

  • Think about the timing and sustainability of your blogging
  • It sets expectations and allows people to get into the groove

4. Read:

  • It’s great that we want to create, but a good blogger reads blogs
  • Ask yourself what worked and didn’t work in that post, what moved me or caused me to act
  • What is this good blog doing, and what is this mediocre blog not doing? Pick it apart.

5. Generosity:

  • Seth Godin/Linchpin
    – the Generous Artist – artists who use their art to give gifts, with what they create with no expectation of repayment.
  • Sometimes we create blogs to get something; affirmation, ads cash
  • A great blog is not a transaction but generous – it’s not about earning, but giving

6. Story:

  • Stories are the way God changes us – Don Miller
  • The best blogs tell a story, one that takes shape as the blog goes along, or little stories that connect with people and resonate.
  • Installments (stories of change) that paint a broader picture of what’s happening.
  • Stories connect much more than funny videos and striking statistics
  • Blogging allows us to mix media to tell better stories (slides, embed video, audio)


  • Seth Godin has no comments…Scott is rethinking the value and right forum for comments
  • People can be stupid, why am I providing a forum for it?
  • If somebody want’s to say something, they can get their own blog.
  • What does it mean to facilitate and moderate comments, maybe certain categories in WordPress allow comments and others don’t.

8. Intentionality:

  • Best blogs are done on purpose, the reek of planning and intentionality
  • Best blog posted have been researched, proofed, sent around
  • Great ideas happen by accident, but great art doesn’t – it’s hard work
  • Don’t let resistance get you – it keeps you from doing the creative work you’ve already conceived of (Pressfield – The War of Art)
  • Jon Acuff, “I’m a writer and writer’s write”
  • What do you want to do with your blog – articulate the mission
  • Aim small…miss small – narrow your focus

Third Presidential Debate Live Blog

VP Debate Live Blog

Live blog of first Presidential Debate

8:57 PM – This is my first attempt at live blogging, and what better event to begin with is this first Presidential debate. I’m watching Fox News Channel, as PBS was still in their NOW program, and there is no way that I’m watching Olbermann and Matthews at MSNBC (what happened to David Gregory, who’s supposed to work the big show for them?).

9:00 PM – The pundits keep saying that the debate is Obama’s to lose. They are wondering if McCain will lose his temper. Jim Lehrer from the NewsHour on PBS is the moderator and began his introduction at 9:01.

McCain and Obama meet for the first presidential debate9:03 PM – The candidates are introduced and step on stage…applauce is polite but not robust, the candidates shake hands, each wearing a slightly different shade of blue suit. Lehrer’s first question is where do the candidates stand on the financial situation.

9:06 PM – Obama gave his bullet points, throwing all of the blame for the crisis at President Bush’s feet. McCain sounds more conciliatory in touch with the felt pain in the audience. Obama in the response came forth with that “shreded regulations” accusation. McCain brings up a history lesson from World War II about accountability.

9:13 PM – McCain talks about his fundamental belief in the strength of the American worker, which is what he meant a couple of weeks ago when he said that the fundamentals of the American economy were strong.

9:24 PM The candidates are going back and forth on earmarks. McCain calls them a “gateway drug.” Obama talks about cutting taxes for 95% of Americans and poo-poos the $18 billion in earmarks. McCain makes a strong case for lowering the high business taxes, and wants to double the dependent tax credit to $7000.

9:32 PM – They are talking about what priority changes for their administrations because of the bailout costs. Obama wants more money for alternative energy, education, infrastructure (roads, bridges, and rural broadband?!). McCain talks about Obama’s liberal voting record, which made Obama chuckle. McCain wants to go after subsidies and overspending in the defense budget.

9:33 PM – First mention of Iraq, by Senator Obama, complaining about $10 billion a month being spent, while Iraq sits on an oil surplus.

9:36 PM – A half-hour into the debate, there is no clear winning candidate. Obama sounds like he’s yelling, while McCain is soft and intense.

9:44 PM – Lessons from Iraq, McCain reminds us that he was first to push for more troops to win the war, not defeat. Obama reminds that he opposed the war six years ago. Makes a statement about the war costing $600 billion, “soon to be a trillion.” A trillion? Only if the war blows up in our face. McCain points out that Obama was invested in defeat, and never met with the General until recently.

9:50 PM – With the discussion over the Iraq war, Obama is starting to lose composure and over speak, which is what the pundits warned against. It’s not McCain losing his cool, but Obama.

9:53 PM – I must say, even with the distractions of the week in Washington, both these candidates have a strong grasp of the issues surrounding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

9:56 PM – I don’t know if Obama’s regionally accurate pronunciation of Pakistan is going to fly with the “bitter clingers” in the middle of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan. It feeds into that Obama is a Muslim myth.

10:05 PM – An hour into this debate, and I got to think that there is a slight advantage to McCain. McCain talks strongly from his experience, with a comprehensive understanding of the issues. This foreign policy talk is right in his wheel house. All Obama can do is complain and disagree, without any positive sounding foreign policy agenda points.

10:11 PM – This talks about whether or not we will talk to rogue countries is kind of boring.

10:22 PM – Talking about Russia and the recent agression against Georgia. Both candidates scoring points. Obama is wary of the nukes, McCain properly explains that the use of power was about the oil pipeline running through Georgia.

10:25 PM – Obama is off the reservation when it comes to his enviromentalist supporters. He just articulated support for off-shore drilling, and nuclear…the greens can’t be happy.

10:26 PM – Last question: the likelyhood of another 9/11 attack on the US.

10:29 PM – McCain reminding that he reached across the aisle to enact the recommendations of the 9/11 commission. Doing a great job now, still a long way to go. Obama concerned about nuclear proliferation, and Al-quida, wants to restore America’s standing in the world.

10:32 PM – McCain reiterates that Obama was wrong on Iraq. Obama points out that the focus on Iraq has kept us from working on problems in other parts of the world.

10:37 PM – Lehrer calls the end to the debate. The candidates said “good job” to each other and to Jim Lehrer, and then went to their wives.

10:39 PM – Recap anchors: Brit Hume on Fox News Channel, Anderson Cooper on CNN, David Gregory on MSNBC.

10:43 PM – Anchors are harping on the fact that Obama kept saying “I agree with Senator McCain, I agree with Senator McCain.”

10:49 PM – Networks go to commercials, and I’m signing off. All in all, a great spirited debate. I’ll give the nod narrowly to McCain, although I’m not sure he pulled a ton of people in his camp.  Obama meanwhile didn’t implode. Thanks for reading, good night!

Erie needs a media blog!

One of the best attributes of the internet is when you find a site that you really enjoy and enriches your life. For two years, perhaps the site that exemplified that for me was Erie Media-Go-Round, lovingly and creatively edited by Jack Tirak.

In what started as an outlet for him to blow some steam off over what he deemed were television stations reluctant to embrace the new HDTV technology, Jack created a community of old timers and newbies, producers and consumers, all who love, or love to hate, Erie media. EMGR was the epitome of the best of Web 2.0.

It was a highlight of my day hearing from old friends, getting scoops, and weighing on the current topics. I would sometimes turn to EMGR a dozen times a day, reading and laughing and being incredulous. There were times I’d take almost an hour crafting a well-honed comment; I didn’t want to sound stupid in front of my fellow communicators! It was a great resource and pastime.

I’ve sorely missed EMGR and Jack’s passion for excellence and creativity. Since his passing I really have missed his final triumphant work that really made my day often.

I think Erie has such a rich media history and story. The personalities in traditional and now new media are interesting and passionate about their craft. The pace of change in technology and the business realities all point to a need for a place where we can encourage and challenge and strengthen each other. Erie needs a media blog!

That’s why I’ve begun The Press and Tower.

Wear the Band-Aid proudly

Community Blood BankAnybody whose known me for a while knows that I’m a big supporter of the Community Blood Bank. In my previous job I conducted dozens of on-air blood drives over the course of a dozen years, with WCTL winning “the Battle of the Broadcasters” at least twice when I was there. I’ve had the privilege to take part in their banquet a couple times, and I’m getting close to my second gallon donated.

That’s why it goes without saying that I’m asking all of my readers, whether they live in the Erie area or not, to give blood this week. If you are here, you need to go to the Community Blood Bank at 26th and Peach Sts. for the Erie Blogs Week II blood drive. It only takes about 45 minutes from entrance to exit and you’ll be so glad you did.

Please make sure you mention Radio Free JoJo when you donate, ok? That would be greatly appreciated! And wear the Band-Aid proudly…you did something great!

Who came up with ‘Dreary Erie’?

After an amazing summer weekend in Northwestern Pennsylvania, I’m thinking that the person who coined the slogan “Dreary Erie, the mistake on the lake” should be certified.

Even with rain, this extended weekend my family is totally embracing some of the excellent resources available to us in this neck of the woods. We spent a couple days camping at Cook Forest State Park, headed to a family graduation party that was really fun, and now have some sun and fun at Waldameer to look forward to before I go back to work. I wanted to attend the Rust Belt Bloggers summit, but it was just too good of a weekend for a getaway.

You don’t need me to give you a laundry list of the wonderful attributes that our region has to offer. But I do want to encourage you to do two things:

First, you need to get your “hugging hands” out and do the Erie, PA embrace. I have to admit that even after living here 41 of my 46 years (I was one of those brain drainers who got out in my 20’s, then came back when the kids started coming), there are many cool things in Erie that I haven’t experienced, like wine tasting in North East, the Firefighter’s museum, an art gallery opening, and I’m ashamed to say, it’s been a really long time since I’ve been to a Playhouse show. It just takes a little creativity and investment of time and sometimes money, and you can experience so much more of the quality of life that you might feel like you are missing. The Erie Times News does a great job of keeping us informed of all of things that are going on from parish festivals to band concerts. You might just find some weird, awesome, random event that totally exemplifies our town.

The other thing you, and I, need to do is not take our town for granted, because so many of the organizations and entities that create cool things in Erie are hanging on by a thread. You see, with very little growth in population and buying power of our fellow residents, and with the rising cost of everything, the organizations that are Erie’s backbone are getting squeezed. Instantly what comes to mind are the Marx Toy Museum and the Joel 2 ministry to the poor. There are just two examples of Erie assets that needed our help and either we didn’t know it or weren’t quick enough to help.

I love the idea that people from Pittsburgh and Youngstown come to our town to vacation. Think about the money they are willing to spend here, and how they embrace the Erie experience! Nothing dreary about that.