“The Current Road Trip” stops at the Mankato Coffee Hag with Roma di Luna

On November 11, the Coffee Hag was packed with Minnesota Public Radio’s The Current’s listeners to see the band featured in this month’s Current Road Trip, Roma di Luna.

The Current started the road trip in order to reach it’s ever-expanding audience.  The MPR’s station’s radio signals are reaching more places than ever such as Mankato, Rochester, Austin and Hastings and, consequently, drawing in more listeners. 

“People in Greater Minnesota are listening to the Current and since they can’t always come to us, we should be bringing the great shows to them,” said the Current’s morning show host, Jill Riley.

Steve Seel, the morning co-host, who was also along for the road trip says they decided to come to Mankato because they “wanted to reach out to Greater Minnesota.”

Coffee Hag staff had to start turning people away when the standing-room-only venue was at full capacity. 

Owner Jenn Melby said she had extra employees on for the night to make sure they were prepared for a big crowd. 

It wasn’t just the radio station’s popularity that drew in the large crowd though.  Roma di Luna’s lead singer Channy Moon Casselle and guitarist Alexei Moon Casselle had the shoulder-to-shoulder audience listening intently to their heartfelt music. 

The couple, who usually travels with their full band, revealed a more intimate performance to the Coffee Hag audience without the other members.

Channy said it would be a special performance to them and the audience because, with just the two of them, “it’s more stripped down so it’s always a little bit more vulnerable.” 

Their music takes on a different style and sound without the other band members. 

“When it’s just the two of us it pretty much just has like a folk sound,” said Alexei.

Their most recent album, “Then the Morning Came” is now available on their website, along with their other two albums and a new Christmas album.


Visual CV

Check out my Visual CV!

Legal and ethical issues for online journalists

After reading about the linking law in chapter 11 of our text-book, I found myself completely overwhelmed and confused about what is legal and what isn’t when it comes to online linking.

Rules regarding deep linking, incline linking, framing, associative linking and linking illegal material are all discussed in the chapter, but just have me more scared than confident of my online linking knowledge.

After contemplating about how I will ever link again without the fear of getting in trouble for something that I didn’t even know existed, I decided that, although knowing the law is very important, trusting my gut instincts and ethics will get me much farther.

I think the biggest mistake of online journalists is becoming consumed by the freedom the web gives them and forgetting the basic code of ethics they would carry out if writing for print publications.

It would probably be less confusing if people just treated it in the same way.

Links should be researched carefully to determine credibility, just as a source would be for a printed news story.

Yeah, some people have a problem with putting restrictions on the Internet because they think it should be a place where anything goes, but then what good is it really.

People search the Internet for answers knowing to be weary of bogus ones and what is the point of looking for answers in a place you can’t entirely trust.

I think we could trust the internet more if people weren’t under the impression that the Internet is a place to say whatever the hell you want.

It isn’t that way and it shouldn’t be.  So, as online journalists, let’s think before we link and remember our ethics to make the Internet a better place.

My Google Map

I’m not sure why this wasn’t posted on my blog earlier because I had it done on time, but here it is.
View Favorite Restaurants in Mankato in a larger map

Flip video users still need to learn basic video making skills

Flip video camcorders have made it easy for anyone to shoot video.  At $150 to $200, the average person can afford to buy a Flip video camera and use it with ease.  Its portable size has also made it easy for journalists to make a news story with video on the fly. 

Unfortunately, since it is so easy for us to be our own camera crew, the quality of videos is lost.

Now, I can’t exactly speak from experience because I have never used a Flip camcorder, but I do know a bad video story from a good one. 

This particular PR week video of fashion week breaks a lot of the basic guidelines we learned in class and is not at all interesting to watch because of it. 

One thing that really bothered me about this video was the fast panning.  The person taking this video panned the camera way to fast and practically throughout the entire video.  It actually made me dizzy while I watched it.  We learned to avoid panning in videos, and if it’s absolutely necessary, to pan slow and steady. 

Zooming was another obvious problem of this video.  We also learned to avoid zooming for the same problems panning causes.  Too much zooming made this video busy and obnoxious.

The biggest problem, by far, was how shaky the footage was.  I don’t think the camera was held still once throughout the video.  It was distracting and took away from what the people were saying in the interviews.  

Individually, these things made the video hard to watch, but together it made it almost unbearable.  I had to force myself to watch it to the end in order to critique it for the assignment.

For our video news story assignment, I plan on using the tips I learned in class with the Flip camera.  Simple techniques can make all the difference, you just have to know and practice them.

News Release Assignment

For immediate release

Ann Wahlstrom
PR Consultant

Organic farming: a growing trend in Minnesota

Organic farming gives Minnesota farmers more opportunities

ST. PAUL, MN–(November 2, 2010)  According to a recent report by the Minnesota Department of Agricultureorganic farming in Minnesota has increased from under 400 organic farms in 2000 to about 650 in 2010.

The report says in 2008 there was 154,136 acres of certified organic farmland in Minnesota, 88 percent more acres than in 2000.

Survey data shows Minnesota organic farmers are optimistic about the future of organic farming.

Despite the recession in early 2009, 97 percent of organic farmers surveyed said they planned on either maintaining or increasing their organic production.

Meg Moynihan, organic and diversification specialist at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, says “They [organic farmers] really see opportunities for the future.”

She said Minnesota farmers are switching to organic farming in stages.  “The really seasoned ones, when they give advise to new-comers they say, ‘Don’t go cold turkey and try to concert your whole farm at once.'” said Moynihan.

Although strides have been made, organic farming still only makes up less than 1 percent of all farming in Minnesota.

Lynn Brakke grows blue corn, soybeans and alfalfa and raises beef on an organic farm by Moorhead.  As a member of the Minnesota Organic Advisory Task Force, he said he is concerned that the effects of the recession have not been completely felt yet.


Organic farming, organic farmers, Minnesota organic farmers

James O’Keefe gives guerrilla journalism a bad name

CNN’s documentary ”Right On the Edge” that aired on October 2, 2010 sparked my interest in guerrilla, or citizen, journalism, and the man who changed my mind about it, conservative activist, James O’Keefe.

James O’Keefe, in my opinion, is the worst excuse for a journalist that I have ever heard of.

He is best known for his string of undercover ACORN prostitution investigation videos where he attempts to scam the government-funded organization , Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), he used to work for.

More recently, O’Keefe planned to embarrass CNN correspondent Abbie Bourdreau ,during an interview that was set up for “Right On The Edge”, by secretly filming it on a boat he set up with sexually explicit objects.

Fortunately, he ended up only embarrassing himself and exposing the truth behind his elaborate schemes.

I think citizen journalism, if used correctly, is an effective way to uncover truths about things that would otherwise never be seen.

But to set up a cast, as if it were a play, and editing the material in a bias way, as O’Keefe does, is completely unethical.  Rachel Maddow uncovers some of the unedited material from the prostitution investigation on her show.

Citizen journalism’s purpose should be to inform the people and help the greater good, not get publicity in order to boost your ego. 

I think O’Keefe’s ego drives his “journalism” more than anything else.  His attempt at fame can be seen again in a Fox interview where he comes dressed up in the ridiculous pimp outfit he supposedly wore for the prostitute investigation.

No wonder this kind of journalism has a bad name.  It’s because of frauds like this.  What do you think?