The Bakersfield Californian
I am currently a Senior Product Manager in the New Products group for The Bakersfield Californian. After years at extremely big, powerful media companies, I am having a ball focusing on small, well-defined, local communities. The most recent are Bakotopia.com, Masbakersfield.com and Northwestvoice.com. All three of these sites now run on the homegrown "Bakomatic" platform that I product manage. I should point out that Mas, a publication for second-generation Hispanics, has an entire editorial staff that I only support with the Web site, while they do all the real work. The same is true for Northwestvoice.com. The Northwest Voice was started by Mary Lou Fulton, and I only recently became responsible for the Web operations. However, I'm having fun taking it to the next level by adding things like user profiles and topical interest-based social networking.
Everything we do in the New Products group has two things in common: a) it empowers individuals to contribute content, and b) it's targeted at a specific demographic or psychographic interest group. Our little band of "survy elephants" (as the publisher refers to us) is making waves in the media industry, but not because of anything we do directly. We simply provide tools and a voice to our community members, and they're the ones who make it all work. In this way, I feel like my work at the Californian is the perfect job evolution that leverages all of my earlier experience in both content and community. And I firmly believe that in the future, people will come to see these two sides of the Internet as complementary, if not the same thing. Just try to fit a "blog" into one of these two boxes and you will see what I mean. While I work for the Californian, they let me telecommute from Colorado.
- See Bakotopia.com in action. Feel free to post stuff and create a user profile!
- See Masbakersfield.com, a site and publication for second-generation Hispanics like me!
- See The
Northwest Voice, which started the whole citizen journalism movement in the
AOL's You've Got Pictures
This is America Online's digital picture sharing service. My latest job was to integrate YGP's features across the entire AOL network. We created one picture sharing experience for AOL mail, instant messaging, Member Directory and AOL Journals (Blogs product).
- Go to pictures.aol.com, or AOL at Keyword: Pictures.
- To see product integrations, you must have AOL 9.0 or higher.
People Connection and AOL Chat
People Connection is the home of Chat on both AOL and the Internet, with a reach of 70% of AOL's 28 million members. We redesigned the page to be more relevant to social chatters, featuring chat rooms by time of day and highlighting interesting people in the community.
I also managed an upgrade to the chat advertising system to give advertisers more targeted opportunities.
Groups@AOLThis product offers private and public interactive web pages that let AOL members manage communities for family, friends or activity groups. A Group includes a private message area, photo gallery, shared calendar, buddy list and much more.
When Groups@AOL launched, C|Net declared it one of the "innovative additions to AOL 6.0 ... Groups @ AOL fits nicely with this ISP's online community focus and is the one big draws for both current members and new subscribers."
As the programming director and business manager for AOL, I set the strategy and goals for the product and oversaw the editorial programming. I also managed the product's marketing.
AOL HometownAOL Hometown is America Online's community of personal home pages. It makes it possible for anyone -- even your grandma -- to create a home page without knowing HTML.
As the programming director and business manager, I set the long-term strategy for the product and also manage editorial programming, marketing and promotion. I managed development of the1-2-3 Publish and EasyDesigner tools. By creating simple products and utilizing a targeted marketing plan, we were able to get AOL members to create 10 million home pages in just one year.
Knight Ridder / TribuneOne of my most interesting (and exhausting) jobs was at Knight Ridder Tribune Interactive, where I worked with a team of designers to create highly graphical, multimedia-rich Web packages each day. These mini-sites are distributed to subscribing Web sites, which then install them on their own servers. I spent equal time on researching/writing and design & layout.
Here are a few packages that are still sitting around online. (Note: these live on sites that purchased syndication rights from KRT. The links can and do change often, so please accept my apologies if you encounter a broken link).
- See one Web package we produced that's still online through the Houston Chronicle: Presidential Peccadilloes
Washingtonpost.comI developed my Web legs at washingtonpost.com as a member of the team that built first Digital Ink -- a proprietary service -- and then the popular web site. During that time , I developed a number of sections and features. Here are my favorites:
- Technology Post: This site brought all of The Post's technology coverage into one place for the first time.
- Software Reviews Database: I designed and set up this two-year database of Post software reviews.
- Web Expeditions: These were guided "Web tours." A Web tour is not just a list of links, but more of a living documentary that draws on the Web for material. It combines disparate pieces of information on the Web into one coherent story that has its own unique message. Some examples of Web tours:
- The Web Outfitter: Before Webmonkey, The Web Outfitter was the only real step-by-step guide to help normal people power up their browsers.
- Breaking News: Once a week for a year, I updated 15 of the top news stories of the day and found related content from the Post archives and the Web.
- Heaven's Gate: The story of Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Lu Trousdale, whose UFO religion lead to the suicide deaths of 41 followers. Our live coverage wove together a vast database of hundreds of documents left behind on the cult's own site, which I was able to download before the site crashed. Our coverage was mentioned National Public Radio as a taste of the future of journalism on the Web.
The Denver PostBefore the Web, I made my living as a feature writer and reporter for The Denver Post. Here are a few of my favorite stories:
Wave of Thought
Land on Info-Highway
on the Net, Part 1
on the New, Part 2
- The Booth Sleuths