Our side hustle takes off like a rocket

SkinneePix Selfie USAToday

USAToday’s Jeff Graham took SkinneePix to Venice Beach to see how people like it.

Sue and I have had lots of publicity this week over our new app. Through our business – Pretty Smart Women – we’ve launched a photo app called SkinneePix. And it has taken off.

We are both journalists. We’ve even got a great journalism-based idea that we’re looking for funding for.  But it’s the fun, light photo app that takes off like crazy so far.

It’s been interesting to be on the other end of the publicity machine. Even though we have been very accessible, we’ve been amazed at how many people have written about SkinneePix and lifted quotes from one of us from early stories without giving us a call  (in particular this one from the LA Times: New app SkinneePix makes your selfies a little skinnier).

 

Here are some highlights from the week:

  • USA Today’s tech reporter took the app to the beach and had a little fun. Take 15 lbs off your selfie with new app  
  • Here’s an interview with the two of us on The Wall Street Journal: Shave 15 lbs. off your selfie SkinneePix on the iPhone
  • We’ve had lots of sensational criticism, people calling our  app is ‘evil’ and accusing of us capitalizing on people’s vanity. (for the record, we are not evil):
  • This Guardian piece is one of the better ones in this vein, yet the reporter did not call us: The ugly truth about SkinneePix 
  • And here’s my response to the writer. My comment on the story has had lots of thumbs up from other readers. Many were happy to see me join them in the comments “below the line”:  Hi, Guardian Crew! 
  • AND here’s a local story which takes an angle about local women do good. I hate that video they stuck on top of the story. Am trying to get them to replace it with the USAToday video:  Phoenix Developers’ SkinneePix App Slims Users’ Faces 

Wild and healthy

SkinneePix is fun and came about after years of hearing friends say, ‘Use the skinny lens on this photo.’  In the fall of 2013, we looked at each other and said, ‘Maybe we can make the skinny lens.’
Sue is using the app to lose some weight and get a little more healthy. She’s written about it in Getting Healthy With My Selfie.
So far, this has been wild and fun.  And the app isn’t even a month old yet.  Sue is on her way to New York City, representing Pretty Smart Women in more interviews. We’re not sure where this will take us, but in a few weeks, we’ll turn back to some of the other projects we’ve got in the works.

I am a lesbian journalist. Hear me roar

I originally wrote this article for NLGJA News.

By Robin J. Phillips

Apparently Rachel Maddow is so far out of the closet she’s out of mind.

As the news broke about CNN’s Anderson Cooper formally coming out, Twitter erupted and columnists began posting. Two main narratives took shape quickly: 1. Well, duh! and 2. Is this relevant?

Anderson Cooper on ForbesIn no time, Forbes had a piece up by Jeff Bercovici who wrote, “It’s not often you can make news by telling the world something it already knows.” The Forbes headline was “Anderson Cooper Comes Out As TV’s First Openly Gay Anchor.”

Oh yeah? What about CNN’s Don Lemon? MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts? Or Steve Kornacki who co-hosts at 3 p.m. for MSNBC.

Or what about Jane Velez-Mitchell from Turner’s HLNTV? Or how about MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow?

Later in the day, the headline was changed to add “Prime Time” and a correction on the post was added to point out that the original version omitted Lemon and Roberts. But while it might be simple to change a headline, or offer a correction, it is not so easy to change the original impression that there are no lesbian anchors on Network and Cable television.

SPLITTING HAIRS?

Forbes argues that Maddow isn’t officially designated as an anchor. So I guess she doesn’t count. And they didn’t even mention Velez-Mitchell who CNN calls an anchor.

I get that Cooper is a household name and reporting on what they consider a “First” is more exciting than reporting on the “Fifth” or “Sixth” or “Yet Another”.

I get that discussions about whether journalists should be out (in their newsrooms and the world) are important. And his coming out did lead to a lot of these types of discussions and the impact they have on the way we cover the news. One of the most important things NLGJA can do is help young journalists navigate these waters.

Yet, what does a young LGBT broadcaster learn from the past week? Well, it may just depend on whether that broadcaster is a young woman or a man.

A young gay woman may come away from last week thinking that no matter how hard she works as a journalist, no matter how she proves herself or what job she lands, there is something about her being either a woman or a lesbian that will make her invisible.

We are not invisible, we are here. We are in newsrooms in all positions, from the bottom to the top, running websites, running papers, running newscasts and anchoring them. We want to be counted when big stories break, not discounted. Continue reading

Those who can, teach the teachers

And I’m thrilled to be able to talk about social media to a group of high school teachers who are taking on the task of teaching budding journalists.

I know that schools can be nervous about social media and some school districts don’t have the resources to jump into journalism in the same way they may cover other subjects and activities, but this group of 35+ teachers chose to spend a chunk of their summer in balmy Arizona learning about new tools and tactics from faculty and staff at the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

More power to them.  I’m posting this so they can easily carry these tools home with them.

This presentation was part of that session given to high school journalism teachers, part of the ASNE Reynolds Fellowship in Phoenix in the summer 2012.

Here’s the Social Media for Journalists handout for this class.

And below are some more resources. These are the links that appear on the final slide of the presentation.

I Google+ into Tom Bigler Journalism Conference 2012

Social Media journalist toolkit

Click on the image to learn more about adding social media to your journalism toolkit.

I’m wrapping up a presentation for Wilkes University Tom Bigler Journalism Conference 2012, which is an event for high school students interested in journalism.

This is such a fun event and I’ve never even been in person. Last year, I Skyped in and this year, we’re planning to do a Google+ hangout. I can see the students, they can see me and I can share a presentation or anything I want to show them on my desktop. Ooops. Better clean that desktop.

Click the image or word “presentation” above to see my slides.  The final is full of more places to go learn more about social media and journalism.  Here they are:

• Teaching Online Journalism  – 4-part slideshows by Mindy McAdams

AZ courts social media committee kicks off: A super smart judicial meetup.

I’m a member of the Arizona Courts committee on impact of technology and social media on court proceedings (say that 3 times fast).

Day 1 was fascinating yesterday. We outlined issues – everything from cell phone use in court to safety issues for witnesses, victims, jurors and undercover police officers to people friending rural judges on Facebook.

Arizona Courts committee on technology and social mediaIt was a great conversation led by Arizona Supreme Court Justice Robert Brutinel who did what Supreme Court justices do so well – he asked questions, proposed hypotheticals and acted as devil’s advocate.

The room was filled primarily with judges from around Arizona who recognize that times are changing.

In this photo — I am on the far right in a white jacket. And on the left is David Bodney managing partner in the Phoenix office of Steptoe & Johnson LLP, where he practices media and constitutional law.

David and I are at opposite ends of the spectrum of social media use. But we are both there to add our professional thoughts and keep an eye on the role of journalists in the courtroom.  This is going to be an interesting year.