Racialicious Announcements and Updates [Letter from the Editrix]

by Latoya Peterson


Note: This is all Racialicious internal business, feel free to skip this one. – LDP

Okay, so there are tons of changes afoot, so it’s about time for an update.

My Public Media Corps Engagement is in the final two months – after that, I plan to return to the blog full time. I haven’t posted as many updates as I had hoped, despite learning tons about race and class mobility, communities of color and mobile technology, GIS Mapping, and such. This is because I opened my big mouth and ended up stuck redesigning the PMC blogs, in addition to creating an SMS-based interactive platform. And I want to experiment with augmented reality before I lose this institutional/tech support. Regular readers may remember when I first got on this blog, I barely knew HTML and needed help making headers – oh, how the times have changed.

Arturo and I are hard at work on Addicted to Race 2.0 – we’ve already recorded one interview, and scheduled a few more, while we are still tweaking the format. However, just like everything else in life, an opportunity arose and threw a wrench in the plan. The funny thing is that’s been happening this whole year. Back in May, we finalized the plans to monetize the site (when New Demographic folded, all the biz things went too) – and then I got slammed with a lot of great opportunities. I ended up doing some contract work for NPR, Wikipedia, and the Poynter Institute, in addition to my work at the Public Media Corps, with one more super cool project that I can’t announce yet. I’ll talk a bit more about what I learned on those projects next week. But that had the result of delaying all Racialicious work for about six months.

Then, Arturo and I planned to relaunch Addicted to Race by mid-September. The wrench came in the form of an offer to guest host the Michael Eric Dyson show for two weeks.

More on changes to the website, how I got on the Dyson show and what we are covering, accessibility hacks, the site wide survey, the fund raising drive, and the other projects in the hopper after the jump.

So, a few weeks ago, I did a segment on gaming with Dr. Dyson in studio. (You can listen to the show here.) The awesome production staff really liked what I had to say, and they are fans of Racialicious, so they asked if I was available when Dr. Dyson went on book leave. I agreed, so here I am, hosting a radio show. Yesterday was the first full day. They intro’ed me here. What made this opportunity special is that we eventually want to turn the Addicted to Race podcast into a radio show – so the experience here is invaluable. I have to admit, it’s a lot harder to be hosting a show than a guest. To be a guest, you just have to be yourself. But to be a host, you have to hold the audience’s attention more. After they gave me some pointers, I realized that most newscasters and radio personalities do put their stress and emphasis on strange words. You can’t let your voice drop at the end of a sentence, and you have to make sure you modulate your voice enough to keep the listener engaged through the whole sentence. It’s a lot to remember.

But the cool thing is that I got to put together a wish list of guests to have on the show. I just went all over the place. Here are the people I recommended:

General

* Condoleeza Rice – She has a new memoir out
* James Zogby – new book on “the Arab world”
* Fatemeh Fakhraie – editor of Muslimahmediawatch.org, good counterpoint/addition to Zogby*
* Edwidge Danticat – New essay collection on Haitian Diaspora
* Zadie Smith – Interesting piece in the New Yorker on money and wealth
* Victor Corral – Runs the Insight Center focusing People of Color and Wealth*
* Rinku Sen – Director of the Applied Research Center, launched a new “Drop the I Word” campaign about the term “illegal” and its use in media*
* Junot Diaz – Awesome writer, would love to talk about literature of color
* Shanti Das, author of a new book on women working in the hip hop industry
* Tricia Rose, scholar in hip hop, could be good addition
* Ava DuVernay, director of women’s hip hop documentary My Mic Sounds Nice, recently aired on BET
* Jean Grae/Invincible/Psalm One – Hip Hop Artists
* V.S. Naipaul – The Masque Of Africa, new book on belief and culture and how it shapes the African Continent
* Melissa Harris Perry (formerly Harris Lacewell) – political pundit and college professor, generally interesting to speak to*
* David Brooks, the 4th Letter blog, POC in Comics*
* Cheryl Lynn, digitalfemme.com, Ormes Society, black comic illustrators*
* Jeff Yang & Raymond Chow, Secret Identities, second anthology on Asian American Superheroes coming out*
* Erica Williams, Center for American Progress, great political pundit

Addiction Series (This series is planned to take place all this week and next)

No new ideas here, happy to speak to whomever, because I have lots of questions.

Immigration Series (This was planned before I got here – they have a lot of guests already scheduled so I threw these folks into the mix)

* Megan La Mala, VivirLatino*
* Nezua, the Unapologetic Mexican*
* Jenn Fang, Reappropriate.com*
* Roberto Lavato, Presente.org*
* Konrad Ng, Smithsonian APA Interim Director
* Rinku Sen (see above)
* Kadian Pow* – writer I know, recently moved to the UK with her partner because of the US immigration and marriage laws

Digital/Mobile (They know I have a strong interest in digital/mobile stuff, so we’re going to try to work some of these segments in)

* Matt Thompson, NPR’s Argo Project*
* Leif Utne, eco-digital activist
* David Wood, Symbian, creator of an Augmented Reality CV (http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2010/oct/08/augmented-reality-cv) (this is soooo cool)
* Jonathan Gosier, Appfrica Labs, creates mobile applications for the African continent
* Rose Shuman, Question Box, http://questionbox.org/, does great things with bridging literacy and language divides online
* Jenny 8. Lee, Knight Foundation, digital innovations in journalism
* danah boyd, Microsoft, privacy, technology, and teens
* AnaRC, founder of LAtism (Latinos in Social Media)

Who knows what will actually shake out, but it’s been a lot of fun. I got to interview Spencer Overton on voter disenfranchisement, which is something we should really cover here, and the rest of the guests (as far as I know) are equally fascinating. I have a lot of reading this weekend – I am interviewing Eugene Robinson on his book Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America – on Monday, so I have got to get pushing.

But anyway, enough about Dyson.

So, I’ve honed in on the new look and theme of the website. Sadly, we have to get a new logo – the person who designed the one that’s in the header is long gone and unreachable, and no one has the file for it. I heard the last round of suggestions and will make sure to keep the clean, easy to navigate look on the new site. We hope the fully redone site will launch in January 2011.

Now both the ATR reboot and the site redesign have made clear something that we didn’t have a policy on, but will going forward – making sure the new site is accessible to most people with disabilities. I’m really proud of Addicted to Race, but we have hundreds of shows with no transcripts. So, moving forward, all shows will have a transcript. Videos that we did not create is another stick point – creating transcripts for those often takes more time than we have, but is a valuable service, both to those who cannot hear and those who are at work. We’ve compromised by including video summaries, but would like to have full on transcripts soon, probably after I return to the blog full time.

To do this, we need to return to the site wide survey. Carmen did one a few years back, and it’s really helped to shape the direction of the site. However, the last survey is from 2007 , and we’ve grown five fold since then – I’m not sure it still applies. This time, we’ll be more specific, and ask more questions about how you access the site.

Next week, we’re also going to launch the fund raising drive, our first ever (and to be honest, hopefully the last_. Initially, we weren’t going to do one, but conversations on Twitter reminded us that money we don’t have to invoice/beg for could only help – especially when I got a glance at the legal bills.

Finally, there’s a big project close to my heart that I’ve decided to make a blog carnival. You will see more when we launch it, but it is designed to create a space for people of color to write about love, sex, dating – any and everything. Again, more details when we launch the carnival, but I hope this will be live in November.

So, that’s where we are. Things are going to be even more sporadic than usual while this Dyson thing is going on, but we’re getting closer to our new normal. We’ll also announce more fun stuff during the fun raising drive, so stay tuned. And thanks, as always, for your support.

-LDP