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New Audio: Interviewing My Neighbors for “The Green Door to the Future”

May 1, 2012

Prompted by the Third Coast & Everyblock ShortDocs challenge, I made this radio story about my neighbors in the Village Trailer Park. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment!

Check out other great stories that were made for the festival here.

“Let’s Do This, LA!” I’m one of @Soundcloud’s Heroes Organizing Local Meetups

April 18, 2012

(If you’re using Firefox and can’t see the player above, click here)
Read more here: Meet Los Angeles SoundCloud Hero: Will Coley

Audio via @CNMSoCal: Content is King – What Medium is Best for Your Message?

March 24, 2012

I curated this panel for the Center for Nonprofit Management’s Social Media Day on March 19.

Once you’ve set up the Facebook, the Twitter, etc. what are you going to say with them? Social media requires a constant diet of fresh content. What’s the most effective and easiest for your organization to make? Our esteemed panelists will argue why their media of choice is the best for building support for your organization. Read more…

“Blogging like a DJ” Presentation for @Techsoup #NPLive chat

March 22, 2012

Here’s what I presented yesterday during the live web chat (click on image):

Tune in on March 21 for my livestream interview with @Techsoup’s #NPLive

March 17, 2012

On Wednesday March 21, I’m participating in this live video chat with TechSoup:

Here at TechSoup, we’re big on empowering nonprofits and libraries to make smart do-it-yourself technology choices since we know time, staff, and money are all limited resources.

This month, we’re examining the landscape of DIY blogging. Join us for this very exciting Nonprofits Live on March 21 at 11:00am PST, where we will feature nonprofit technology guests sharing their unique perspectives on everything from blog set up and effective strategies, to maintenance and growth best practices over time.

In this live, interactive event, experts and peers will answer your questions and share tips in a talk-show format. No high tech skills are necessary to participate: just a decent internet connection and your curiosity! RSVP to join the live show

Join me at @CNMSoCal’s Social Media Day training for Nonprofits #NPLA

March 16, 2012

I’m “curating” a panel on content creation at this great event that lasts from 8:30 – 4:30pm.

Location: Antioch University, 400 Corporate Pointe Culver City, CA 90230

Read more about the program and/or register at

Registration includes free parking and lunch.

Thanks @DetentionWatch for the shoutout!

February 1, 2012

From Detention Watch Network’s January 31, 2012 e-newsletter:

On behalf of DWN members and staff, I cannot begin to find the words to express our thanks and gratitude for all the hours, energy and creativity that our own DWN member Will Coley has graciously contributed to get DWN online and out into the social media world.
Will singlehandedly launched DWN into the 20th century by setting up our My Space page (remember My Space?) and after that he introduced us to the 21st century with a Facebook page, Twitter account (yes, DWN tweets #DWN) and the DWN blog.  We even have a YouTube channel for all the great videos our members (and Will) have created.
Through Will’s persistence and media savvy, DWN now has over 4,000 on Twitter, 2704 active fans on Facebook, and DWN’s blog is viewed on average 112 times per day or roughly 3,000 times per month.
While continuing on as a DWN member, Will is stepping down from his uber-volunteer role to devote more time to his thriving media consulting business.  I am sure we have not heard the last from Will or his late night emails about the next “new thing” in social media.
Will, thank you for keeping us connected and expanding our outreach to members and supporters in our collective efforts to fundamentally transform the immigration detention and deportation system.
Andrea Black
Executive Director, DWN

My video for @ACLU_SoCal: ICE tries to deport US Citizen

December 14, 2011

Immigration authorities held Antonio Montejano in jail for days even though he is a US citizen. Learn more about how Secure Communities affects U.S. citizens at

Videography by Loris Guzzetta. Production and editing by me.

Audio: Creating #Radiostory – Reporting Back from the @Transom_org Workshop

December 7, 2011

Below is an audio piece I created as part of the excellent Transom Story workshop.

Here’s more on the experience of making the segment (reposted from

After playing this piece at the Listening Event in Woods Hole, the first question I got was “Are you a reporter?” I said no but I did have concerns that the piece had become “newsy”. It wasn’t an intimate first person story but I do see it as the story of a government agency (New Bedford’s police) trying to build a relationship with a community of Central American immigrants. Read more…

My Update from @Transom_org’s #Radiostory Workshop: Getting to the Heart of the Story

November 3, 2011

Transom Story Workshop participants on Halloween (that's me with the ear)

For the month of October and most of November, I’m participating in‘s first-ever Radio Story Workshop. I’ve learned so much from the Transom website; it’s an even greater privilege to learn in person from these visionary radio producers.

“Why radio?” you may ask. Well, throughout my online work, I’m continually reminded that “content is king.” Nonprofits and foundations can set up all the blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts we want, but we still need to have something worthwhile and compelling to say with these tools. I figure that organizations can learn from radio producers about what it takes to craft stories that pull the audience in and create those “driveway moments” (when you can’t get out of the car for fear of missing the end of a great story). I’ve also been struck by the ways in which audio is such a fundamental element to digital media (i.e. videos without good audio are much harder to watch). And finally, I’m also curious about how to teach better storytelling to others. Read more…

End Immigration Mandatory Detention! New Video with Music by @GinaRiggioMusic

October 19, 2011

Special thanks to Gina Riggio for the use of her song “No Guarantee”:

Read more…

10 Tips on Curating Social Media Content for Your Nonprofit or Foundation

September 6, 2011

Installation by Os Gêmeos at MOCA's Art in the Streets Exhibit in Los Angeles

Everyone, including me, needs help sorting through today’s “data tsunami” as Steven Rosenbaum calls it. In his recent book Curation Nation: How to Win in a World Where Consumers are Creators, Rosenbaum writes that

Curation replaces noise with clarity. And it’s the clarity of your choosing; the things that people you trust help you find.

And I would argue that when organizations offer clarity amidst the noise, they build trust among supporters.

I recently realized that I have been curating content for several years now. Not so long ago, many of us used email listserves to share articles and information on specific themes. These days, I’ve made the switch to social media where I regularly find and share relevant content for projects such as the Freedom from Fear Awards and Detention Watch Network. Read more…

5 Lessons from LA’s “Carmageddon” on Effective Media Messaging

July 18, 2011

Even though construction closed a major freeway in Los Angeles this past weekend, “Carmageddon” didn’t happen as everyone feared. When I went running on Friday night, anticipating I’d see a sea of red taillights, I witnessed what looked more like the Rapture instead: near empty streets and the good people nowhere to be seen. Saturday was much the same.

For a state whose theme song should be “Don’t Fence Me In”, it was stunning that intractable Californians had listened to public officials and largely stayed home. The LA Times quoted Mayor Villaraigosa as saying, “We had hoped this would happen. People have answered the call. They have stepped up to the plate in recognizing that the best way to do this is to stay out of their cars.”

Perhaps it takes a massive media machine to get a city like L.A. to listen but I think there’s more to learn here. LA’s experience got me wondering what this can teach nonprofits and activists about effective media messaging. Read more…

20 Tips for Nonprofits Using Twitter via @ChrisTuttle and Friends

July 16, 2011
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I was honored that my friend Chris Tuttle, Senior Internet Solutions Consultant at Blackbaud, asked me and other folks he follows to offer my tips for nonprofits using Twitter. The result is a useful list of twenty recommendations. You can read the full list here.

Below is one of my tips:

Audio: Creating Effective Social Media Campaigns – How #DREAMAct Students Built a Movement

June 30, 2011

Our Netsquared Meetup met last night and here’s some audio from the presentations of the guest speakers.

7 Ways to Write Attention-Grabbing Titles for Social Media Content

April 21, 2011

OK, you just spent spent valuable time creating an excellent blog post, video or audio clip and you want as many people as possible to read, watch or listen to it. But, let’s be honest, if the title fails to grab attention, it can easily get lost in the sea of content that social media users have to choose from each day.

So how do you make your content stand out? Social media users love snazzy titles for the things that they will consume and share. Here are a few ideas to give them just that:

  1. Be conversational. Social media is known for being personal and informal, basically sounding the way that people really talk. Don’t use wonky, jargony or highly technical terms if you don’t have to. Imagine a title that newbies or outsiders to your field (like your parents) would understand. For example, instead of “Coalition of Advocacy Groups Releases Report on the State of Secondary Education and Calls for Immediate Reform“, try “New Report Reveals How Our State is Letting Down High School Students and What We Can Do About It”.
  2. Employ active verbs. It’s difficult to make interesting titles composed of mostly nouns and articles, i.e. “My Summer Vacation“. Instead add an active (not passive) verb: ie. “How my summer vacation rocked!Read more…

In Less Than 30 Minutes, Create an Optimal Youtube Channel for Your Nonprofit (Without Uploading Any Video)

January 15, 2011
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In the recent years, you and your nonprofit have undoubtedly encountered online video as part of your work. You may have been the subject of a video or even started experimenting with making your own. Regardless of where you are in video production, it’s important to optimally set up your organization’s online infrastructure on Youtube.

You don’t even need to have made your own videos in order to have a presence on Youtube. On Google, video search results are now more prominently displayed. This means that if a potential supporter googles the cause or issue you work on, they are more likely to come across videos about your organization… no matter if they’re made by you or by others. Why not take advantage of this attention? An active and fleshed out Youtube channel demonstrates how important this type of digital communication is to your organization.

In less than 30 minutes, you can follow the first three steps below to create an optimal Youtube channel (Steps 4 & 5 take more time). Once all your ducks are in a row, videos about your organization will have more impact. Read more…

Video: Nominate an Unsung Hero for the Freedom from Fear Award

January 13, 2011

Many thanks to everyone who provided photos so I could make this video!

Be sure to nominate folks for the award today!

My video for @AmericaStories: The Impact of an Immigration Raid in Fullerton, CA

November 10, 2010

Above is a video I recently completed for We Are America, a project of the Center for Community Change. This video and others in the series raise “the voice of immigrants in the national dialogue around our country’s broken immigration system.” We Are America seeks to “lift up the personal stories of immigrants across America to put real people and communities back into national discussion on immigration policy.”

This video was a unique storytelling challenge since it was about a group of people. As I met the workers and filmed their testimonies, what emerged was how they were not victims. They responded to the situation and this is changing them, turning them into leaders. With input from the series producers, we decided to see the video as four “acts” showing the junctures where the workers made choices about how to respond. One thing that I remember that didn’t make the final video was one of the workers’ wives saying that she was surprised to see her husband speak up at the press conference and how proud she was of him for standing up for his rights.

Stay tuned for details on how you can support these workers. In the meantime, share this video with others or leave a comment here.

My Experience with “Community Powered Reporting” and Community Gardens

November 5, 2010

I recently wrote a short piece and created a video (above) about “Ten of the Best Community Gardens in Los Angeles County.” The article was commissioned by Spot.Us, a web-based project that is pioneering a new model for “community powered reporting.” The public can commission articles and reporters raise money via the website to carry out the reporting. The project was an interesting one (with lots of driving around L.A.) and I’m planning to do more like this in the near future.

The video is more of an “audio slideshow” since I’ve been experimenting more with audio lately. It’s interesting how many people seem to feel more comfortable with audio-recording than with video. Frequently, I’ve seen folks clam up when I turn on a video camera. With audio, folks often ask “Is that thing on?” (I always tell people when I’m recording them.). Much like video, audio requires lots of “b-roll”, extra footage of sounds to fill out the story. I find that I’m often proudest of the random but representative sounds I find and record. I’ve been using a Zoom H4N and Audio-Technica 8010 mic [Note: this is not product placement but more of sharing tips.]

Check out my posts on either Spot.Us or CurbedLA and leave a comment to let you know what you think!