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Tag Archive: communications


JD Pitching 1 I was in Fort Worth this past weekend with J.D. at TCU for a baseball camp. We were driving from one field to another and were driving down W. Berry from TCU. Coming down the hill, I spotted a man and a woman waving from a concrete platform that turned out to be the entrance to a church. They were not waving “come here” like parking attendants, but they were using a modified princess wave. Unfortunately, their signage was not sufficient for me to see the name quickly as I drove by. And time did not permit stopping to take a picture.

As I told J.D. later, if we hadn’t been on a schedule, I would have stopped and attended their service. But while I couldn’t stop, it was a bright spot in the morning. It was over 100 degrees for most of the weekend and J.D. had already played two games (albeit short games). In the picture, J.D. is the pitcher. It was a showcase camp before coaches and recruiters from numerous colleges and some major league teams. It was a high intensity weekend, which made the smiles and the waves all the more important.

When I saw them and realized it was a church, I said to J.D., “so simple, but effective. How cool is that?” I happen to be on the communications committee of our church. It was certainly a Jesus moment in which life is briefly in the background and God’s light shines like a beacon in the wilderness. One of those moments that reminds us that life may be tough at times, but something better awaits us.

Peace be with you.

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The Religion Communicators Council (RCC) National Convention was held this past Thursday through Saturday in Philadelphia at the Philadelphia Airport Marriot. While there was a showing of the movie, Waging Peace: Muslim and Christian Alternatives, on Wednesday evening for those who arrived early, the convention did not officially begin until the opening plenary at 1:30 on Thursday afternoon on “The In[ter]dependence of Faith and Government.” After the panel discussion, the attendees had a choice of four workshops.

My plane was scheduled to arrive at 1:20, so I knew I would be at least a few minutes late to the plenary. The hotel and the airport were connected by a skybridge just one terminal away from my arrival terminal, which helped, but it was still after 1:30 when I walked down the stairs to the lobby of the hotel. I will get back to the plenary and other convention activities in following posts.

The main event of the day was the DeRose-Hinkhouse Awards Dinner at 6:30 p.m. I am a member of RCC as a writer and representative of Christ UMC (Farmers Branch, Tx) and the communications committee. The church entered an article I had written for the church newspaper, and I entered this blog in the new Social Media category of the awards. When I was  informed that I won, I did not know which of the two was the winning entry. However, since I was winner, the church funded my trip to the convention.

As it turned out, I won a Certificate of Merit for Chasing After Wind. The .pdf of the awards program may be found here. Social Media is a new category, so it is at the end if you  happen to be looking for my award. In the picture you can see the slide they showed when they announced my award. The other picture is of the attendees from the DFW Chapter of the RCC. From left to right: Cherrie Graham (United Methodist Reporter), Debbie Tull (Patheos), myself, and Deb Christian (also UMR). Mary Jacobs, UMR reporter, was preparing for a writing workshop she was leading and was not available for the picture. Debbie and I both needed to catch our flights home.

The judging for the DeRose-Hinkhouse awards was done by “colleagues at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.” All of the entrants received the judges’ evaluation forms after the awards program. Entrants not at the convention received their evaluations by mail.

Be that as it may, the judges had some suggestions for improving the blog. Ironically, my room was in a black hole of the hotel and I could not even boot up my computer – much less access my blog. So there will be changes to Chasing After Wind over the next week or so. Hopefully, the changes will make for a more pleasing visit to the blog, easier to comment, like, follow, and so forth, and there will be more interactive qualities.

Feel free to let me know of any suggestions or comments you may have pertaining to my blog. I try to respond to comments and visitors as soon as possible.

Peace be with you.

David Sedeno

Dallas-Fort Worth RCC members, in lieu of the March meeting, are invited to attend one of three keynote sessions at “Communicating Through the Clutter”, a conference sponsored by UMR Communications. The presentations are planned to help you cut through the clutter and focus on some best practices for communicators

Choices are:

Finding Your Niche Markets Where They Live, led by David Sedeno, Executive Editor of the Texas Catholic at 12 noon on Thursday, March 22 at the Presbyterian Mission Center, 6100 Colwell Blvd, Irving, TX.

Jake Batsell

Converging Lanes of Communication, Jake Batsell, Assistant Professor of Journalism at SMU, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 22 at the Hyatt Place Hotel, 5455 Green Park Drive, Irving, TX

Is Print Green?, Joe Polanco, President of Printing and Imaging Association of Mid-America, 12:15 p.m. Friday, March 23 at the Presbyterian Mission Center, 6100 Colwell Blvd, Irving, TX.

Joe Polanco

RCC members and others interested can attend any one of the keynotes for $15 (payable at the event, check or cash) which includes the meal. Please email or call for reservations or more information, Deb Christian, dchristian@umr.org, 214.630.6495 x147 by Friday, March 16. More information about the UMR conference is available at www.umportal.org, choose Communicators Conference on the left.

If you want to attend the entire conference or other parts of it, let me know and we’ll work out some arrangement.

Deb Christian, Secretary, Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter RCC

—————-

Peace be with you.

Jake Batsell, Assistant Professor in the Journalism department at SMU, discussed media convergence and the importance of maintaining a presence in, or on, various media, including social media, at the January meeting of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Chapter of the RCC on January 26. He is also faculty adviser for the student media websites, combined at smudailycampus.com, including the SMU Daily Mustang, a multi-platform news site produced by journalism students, and SMU-TV. Entitled “Media Outreach During Turbulent Times for the News Business,” Batsell’s presentation included results of the longitudinal study of media convergence that he, his colleagues, and students have been conducting.

They began the  study by asking a central research question: To what extent has convergence journalism taken hold in U.S. newsrooms over the past decade, and to what extent have these cross-platform partnerships endured? Newspaper and TV managers in the top 200 U.S. media markets were surveyed in 2002-‘03 (Phase 1), 2004-‘05 (Phase 2), and again in 2011 (Phase 3). Batsell and his colleagues are currently studying the results of phase 3. The results indicate challenges and opportunities for media outreach.

“The bad news is that traditional newsrooms are short-staffed, making cultivating relationships with reporters difficult. When you do interact with reporters, they’ll have less time to absorb your story than they used to.”

The good news, particularly for religion communicators, is that there are more non-traditional ways to get the message out. “Press releases that used to be ignored now might spark a blog post, which can be amplified through social media.” Suggested links to background information during an interview are likely to be included in the story. Alternate media outlets are plentiful, such as NeighborsGo and DallasSouthNews, as well as Pegasus News and Advocate Magazine, in the Dallas area.

Current results of the study show that news managers are focusing on developing interactive relationships with readers and viewers, primarily through social media. Which includes multimedia (both staff-generated and user-generated), news as conversation (blogs, comments, live chats, etc.), and engagement via social media platforms. “Today, news is a two way conversation” between newsrooms of all media and their readers. As religion communicators, we need to join the conversation. In an online world of “likes”, links, blogs, comments, and re-sending articles, and posts, good content and internet interaction are key to delivering our message to more people.

Peace be with you.

The monthly meeting of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Chapter of the Religion Communicators Council (RCC) will be held on Thursday, September 22, at Christ United Methodist Church in Farmers Branch. Alice Dykeman APR, principal with Dykeman Associates, Public Relations Consultants, (and charter member of the chapter) will talk about how to establish and operate a successful intern training program. She is a seasoned veteran in Public Relations and is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America in Public Relations.

Dykeman has mentored many young people who desired to learn the art, practice, ethics and business of Public Relations. She will share where she finds interns, what and how she teaches them and give some ideas of how others can do the same. Dykeman Associates was established in 1974 and is a full service advertising, public relations and marketing firm. Services include crisis planning, video production, media relations, media and presentation training.

The meeting will be held from 12 – 1:30 p.m. and the $15 fee includes both lunch and presentation. Please RSVP to Deb Christian, dchristian@umr.org (214.630.6495 x147) by close of business on Wednesday, Sept. 21. The Religion Communicators Council is an interfaith association of more than 500 religion communicators working in print and electronic communication, advertising and public relations. Recent meetings have been held at the Biblical Arts Museum and the Holocaust Museum.

Peace be with you.

The Communications Conference 2011, presented by UMR Communications, parent company of the United Methodist Reporter, was held at the Presbyterian Ministry Center in Irving on Thursday, February 24th, and Friday, the 25th. The event was previously called the Editor’s Conference – for editors of faith-based publications. Realizing that communicators often wear many hats, the UMR staff changed the title to the Communicators Conference.

The conference opened on Thursday with a luncheon followed by a keynote address by Rev. Tim McLemore, associate director in the Office of Public Affairs at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology, that set the tone for the conference. The conference was attended by communicators from the United Methodist Church and other denominations in various areas of the country. Workshops provided tips on organization, communication plans, branding, media choices, photos and Photoshop, volunteer optimization, financing for communications, writing skills, and online tips, tools, and tricks.

Tim McLemore

Presenters from the staff of UMR included Liz Applegate, New Media Associate, Erika Dorsey, Design and Production Manager, Cherrie Graham, Advertising Manager, and Mary Jacobs, Staff Writer. Other presenters included John Greenberger, COO for ReTransform (former CFO of UMR), Samantha Naeyaert, founder of Muddle Management (an organizing and efficiency company), Patrick Steil, owner of ChurchBuzz, and Patrick Shownes, Communications Coordinator for the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Steil also gave the closing keynote address, giving attendees online tools they could put into action upon their return home.

As one of the communicators in attendance, representing Christ United Methodist Church in Farmers Branch and the Communications Committee, I can say that the conference was an enjoyable time of fellowship with fellow communicators. The conference is one of the few times some of us get to meet in person. The conference was also a chance share the problems we face as communicators. I’m already looking forward to next year.

See Mallory McCall’s article on the event in the UM Reporter. More pictures below.

Peace be with you.

Sam Hodges and Deb Christian

Liz Applegate

Tim McLemore

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