Tag Archives: NPR

Send Helen Your Questions: #AskHelen

Why use a Twitter #hash tag to funnel questions for the legendary Helen Thomas? Because it’s hip, that’s why…and because I’ll have a really enjoyable time trying to explain it to her!

erica-lectureOk ok, I’ll tell you the truth. Last night I spoke at DC Media Makers, a meet up of people who promote peer learning and digital literacy in DC. I talked for a few minutes about my work for MTV  (USTREAM caught it live) and why I needed new and compelling content to take EricaAmerica to the next level.

Helen and I have been friends for almost two years now. We see each other sporadically, normally when I call and ask for a coffee or a drink to catch up. Each time I go prepared with a list of questions spanning topics of history, war and peace, working in Washington and being the first woman in the Press Corp. In short, I don’t want to waste her time. So I am always trying to make the most of those meetings. (Check this piece out I wrote about an evening with Helen.)

So here I am, now working on a project to capture some of her thoughts, her experience and her wisdom for the Web 2.0 community. Through this video series, I hope to open up a new side for the world to see of Helen, a side that wants to explain, educate and describe what she saw over the last 60 years in Washington.

After I showed the video to the group at DC Media Makers, they had a ton of substantive ideas for me. From production to lighting to ways to crowd-source the Internet for questions, the conversation was dynamic. I always enjoy those meetings and walked away with some great ideas. Thanks to @acarvin, I am now using the #AskHelen hash tag on Twtiter to encourage people to shout out their quesitons. If you are new to the hash tag or twitter, all you need to do is include #AskHelen after your question in your Tweet. It will be funnelled into a page on Twitter that will group all of the questions together.

Let’s see if it works!


NPR To Inaugural Bloggers: Max Out the Towers!

Yesterday one of my friends sent me a link from Google Reader. The story: “Help NPR Plan Our Social Media Activities for the Inauguration.” Read on to find out how you can help – or just be part of a colosso, Y2-Obama-K, power failure that will trash DC’s cell phone towers on Inauguration weekend.

Now, NPR – and Andy Carvin, Senior Product Manager in the Digital Media department, are on to something different. To add on to what they did for the Election (VoteReport), they have two techies building iPhone Applications for the Inauguration — so that people can post audio, text (and maybe even video?) online. I will definitley take part and text updates from @ericaamerica to NPR. If you are a DC Local, use the tag #inaug09. If you are coming from somewhere else, use the tag #dctrip09.

With all the early reports of cell phone towers being stretched with an estimated 2 million out-of-town visitors, it is safe to assume this project, though smart and ambitious, will have problems. But how do you cover such an event through social media — when technology and towers will be so seriously challenged?

If the towers fail us all – which would be tragic considered how connected we are – watch out for me on my little red rider, biking back and forth to my media station in Dupont to upload, tag and blog. Then, I’ll be back again on the streets. It’ll be like a little post-Street Team reporting marathon. 🙂

**If you are an iPhone App guru, or have any other ideas for NPR’s social media coverage, contact Andy via Twitter. (@acarvin)