Calling all AAJA Seattle entrepreneurs!

Posted on by sbhatt

Have you launched your own company recently? Do you have a story to share about your media company?

Our AAJA Seattle membership has many talents, and more and more of them are pursuing their passions as a business. These entrepreneurs are working day and night, seven days a week, to get their ventures off the ground and achieve profitability.

It’s time for them to be recognized for taking a risk and trying to create a new product, service or adventure they can call their own.

Let’s meet three of them.

Calvin Tang, AtlasOmega

Calvin founded social media news web site Newsvine.com in 2005. Two years later, MSNBC bought Newsvine for an undisclosed sum, marking its first acquisition ever. He continued to serve as chief operating officer of Newsvine for the next three years.

From 2005 to 2010, Newsvine grew to over 4 million users, 15 million monthly pageviews and came to power virtually all of interactive features across the MSNBC Digital Network family of brands, including properties such as the NBC Nightly News, TODAY Show and The Rachel Maddow Show.

He also is founder of the Northwest Dive Club, a passion that turned into his next career move.

Earlier this year Calvin left MSNBC to launch AtlasOmega.

Here’s how the site describes its value:

“As we enter the virtual age of ‘the real-time web,’ where stories are packaged into successfully smaller sound-byte sized units, repurposed and republished with little value added – AtlasOmega swims against that current, by producing original, feature quality stories and images about the wildest and least known parts of the world.”

“All of our explorers and adventurers spend enormous amounts of time and energy in the nitty-gritty details of preparation, equipment selection, technique and safety. Yet, these critical aspects are oftentimes never known by the person who enjoys the final result, be it an in-depth story about a pioneering expedition or a stunning set of images that bring to life a lesser known part of the world.”

“AtlasOmega tells the story behind the story, and sets out to answer the question, ‘How did they do that?'”

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Caroline Li, EarthWalkers

Caroline is founder of social media travel web site Earthwalkersmag.com and its print edition, Earthwalkers Magazine. She is also vice president of events for AAJA Seattle, freelances stories and works for TD Wang Advertising Group, a full-service marketing agency that helps companies reach the Asian-American market.

Here’s what Caroline says about her venture:

“I started Earthwalkers because of my love for journalism, travel and international issues. It’s also my answer/vision to next generation journalism.”

“Earthwalkers Magazine and the Earthwalker Community were created so that travelers could make the most out of their travel experiences and continue learning when not traveling. Earthwalkers’ mission is to educate and inform readers about the world through in-depth features and first person stories from the Earthwalker Community. We’re not only building a network for travelers, but a magazine that writers and local bloggers can call their own.”

“The website is a hybrid of user generated content and social network where members are encouraged to share their appreciation for travel by sharing their stories, joining groups and being available to other like-minded travelers around the world.”

“The content on the Earthwalkers website and in the print edition is written by members of the social network. Most stories are written by Earthwalkers that are local bloggers and travel writers while more in-depth features are written by freelance journalists and our Common Language Project team.”

“Through our travels and the people we meet, we hope to unravel the wonders, the forgotten, the shadows, the beauty and the truth about our world. We believe that the world is about more than trade negotiations, poverty and luxury vacationing, but full of people just like you and me that are celebrating, surfing or struggling through life – because in the end, we are all just passing through.”

Who does Caroline expect will use her site?

Journalists & Bloggers: Earthwalkers Magazine is a platform that bloggers, journalists and travelers can use to promote their writing, photography and video. Your user profile is your writing resume/history with Earthwalkers. Writers also have the opportunity to be published in the print edition of Earthwalkers, receive paid writing assignments, and join our Earthwalkers core reporting team on stories around the world.

Like-minded Travelers: So you’re an Earthwalker. You’re going to visit another country but you don’t know anyone there. You don’t want to do the typical toursist thing while you’re there. Get on Earthwalkers, search for other Earthwalkers around the world and connect with them to get insights, advice or even plan to meet up.

The Curious Learner: Just browsing? The stories on Earthwalkers are insightful, informative and inspiring. Regardless if you are traveling or not, it’s important to be informed about world issues.

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Christine Chen, Chen Communications

CEO, Chen Communications

Christine is founder of Chen Communications and frequently requested moderator of business and community events.

Christine is an 18-year veteran of broadcast journalism, launching shows on FOX and PBS in Seattle. She launched her marketing consulting group in January 2007 and has built an impressive list of clients in a relatively short time, including Microsoft. She was a speaker at the 2010 AAJA National Convention in Los Angeles.

“It’s more important than ever to tell an engaging story, define relevance and pick the right places to share that story,” according to her site.

Christine is in great demand as a moderator of community events. In October 2009, she moderated TechFlash LIVE: Women in Tech, an event that brought together a who’s who of women in technology.

And this past August, Christine moderated the Seattle Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Network Event on the Eastside, an event that drew more than 300 people. The panelists included Kirk Nelson, Washington President of Qwest Communications; Bob Donegan, President of Ivar’s; and Anne Fennessy, Partner at Cocker Fennessy.

Christine says her marketing communications consulting firm specializes in connecting companies and communities for business through strategic thinking, messaging and outreach.

The firm offers these consulting services:

    * product and service key messaging/positioning
    * presentations and media training
    * content production for web, print and video
    * social media messaging/strategy/tactics
    * traditional PR strategy/pitching.

What differentiates her firm from other PR/MarCom consultants?

According to Chen, her firm “fuses traditional and new media approaches at a senior level, with an editorial eye and unique perspective on branding. Practical experience and tactical execution power a virtual team that is called on for projects, as needed, keeping overhead down and passing the savings on to the client. We are able to work with C-level executives as well as larger teams, as an outsourced service provider or as integrative team members.”

She’s also the creator of the blog xboxbride, which catalogs what happens when a non-video gamer weds an avid video gamer.

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I’d like to have AAJA Seattle host a workshop in the not-too-distant future on entrepreneurship.

We led the way in January 2009 by holding the Choppy Waters workshop at the University of Washington in association with its Communication department.

And several of you have joined startups in our area, like Patch.com. We want to hear about your experiences too. Send your story to us.

If you would like to become more involved in new experiments in journalism, you can!

AAJA Seattle participates in Journalism That Matters, which meets once a month to discuss current startup ideas in the region and to support their leaders. If you’d like to participate in JTM, please email me at sbhatt[at]seattletimes.com.

About sbhatt

Sanjay Bhatt jumped into journalism in 1996, landing his first job at The Times Leader, a daily in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. He juggled covering 12 school districts and loved turning out enterprising, investigative pieces. Within a year, he got hired by The Palm Beach Post of West Palm Beach, Fla., where he spent the next six years building a reputation as a top health reporter. The biggest story he covered there was the 2001 anthrax investigation. In 2003, he joined The Seattle Times, where he has examined public schools, neighborhood issues, the economic crisis and local government. He enjoys producing mini-documentaries, trying new ideas online and learning new technologies. View all posts by sbhatt →
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