Rising Tide 7: Media Mayhem and Parenting Predicaments

On Saturday, September 22, Rising Tide: A Conference On The Future Of New Orleans returns for its seventh year. It’s only a week away so GET YOUR TICKETS now!

This year’s hot topic is the local media – the unexpected and enormous changes at The Times Picayune, as well as the rise and struggles of local digital news media. Black and White and Red All Over: The Digital Future of the New Orleans Media Market features panelists that include Kevin Allman, Editor at weekly newspaper The Gambit, Robert Morris, News Director of neighborhood online news site Uptown Messenger, James O’Byrne, Editor and Reporter for The Times Picayune and Nola.com for over 30 years, Katy Reckdahl, Staff Reporter for The Times Picayune, and Jason B. Berry, writer of popular investigative blog American Zombie. The panel will be moderated by Peter Athas, Rising Tide’s veteran organizer and political blogger at First Draft.

There’s also two panels of specific interest to parents in New Orleans this year: Education and Parenting.

The Education Experiment: Petri Dish Reform in New Orleans and Louisiana will discuss the controversial topics of charter schools, vouchers, the future of public schools, and the experimental nature of our post-Katrina education system. Moderated by The Lens’ education reporter, Jessica Williams, panelists include Brian Beabout, an Assistant Professor of Education at UNO, Elizabeth Walters, writer, editor, and high-school teacher in St. Bernard Parish, Zack Kopplin, a student at Rice University working to make sure Louisiana kids will be able to get jobs after they graduate, Dr. Lance Hill, Executive Director of the Southern Institute for Education and Research, and Caroline Roemer Shirley, Executive Director Louisiana Association of Charter Schools.

This will be the first time Rising Tide is doing a parenting panel. Mardi Gras Moms & Who Dat Dads will feature Keith Spera of The Times Picayune’s The Paternity Test, Ashley Bond of NolaParent.com, and Andrea Dewenter of Pistolette.net. Moderator Bart Everson of b.rox.com will lead a discussion of the unique problems and benefits of raising children in New Orleans.

Other panels and speakers for 2012 include:

•    Lawrence Powell, “The Accidental History of an Accidental Book: How the author stumbled into the 18th century and post-Katrina New Orleans through the lens of her colonial past.”
•    Lolis Eric Elie: “At War With Ourselves: New Orleans Culture at the Crossroads… Again… And Again… And… ”
•    Oil & Water: Can Louisiana save its coastline and have a thriving oil industry at the same time?
•    Community or Commodity?: Is profiting from our culture also stifling its evolution?
•    Take This Job and Love It: What it takes to own a business in New Orleans.

The Rising Tide conference was created on the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by the local blogging community to respond to the massive social, political, and cultural changes our city was – and still is – experiencing. Every year since it has addressed the complex issues facing New Orleans through prominent speakers and engaging discussion panels. Learn more about the history of Rising Tide.

BUY YOUR TICKETS now. See you there!

Rising Tide: website | facebook | twitter

Blogger Profile: Katy Monnot of Bird On The Street

Today we’re profiling Katy Monnot of Bird On The Street blog. Katy describes herself as “a Metry Girl”.  She attended St. Martin’s Espiscopal for elementary school and Dominican for High School. She went to LSU for college where she met her husband. He served in the Air Force for five years and they lived in Texas and Arkansas,moving back to the New Orleans area in 2007.  Katy is a stay at home mom of infant twin boys and their older special needs brother.

Katy, when and why did you start blogging?

I started blogging in late 2005 on a whim. Shortly after, my husband deployed to the Middle East for four months. Blogging became an outlet for me to interact with others and share my experiences. After my son was born in 2007, I realized I needed blogs to give me a first-hand experience that couldn’t be found anywhere else.

Do you consider yourself a “mommy blogger”? And what does that label mean to you?

I do consider myself a “mommy blogger” even though I was blogging for a while before I became a mom. I prefer the term “parenting blogger” because I think that’s what I actually blog about: parenting, specifically, parenting a child with special needs. Mommy is job title and lots of moms blog and never mention their kids. So yeah, I’m a mom blogger, a parenting blogger, but also what some people call a memoir-style blogger.

Are you trying to connect with a specific demographic?

Yes and no. I consider my main audience to be people who are raising children with special needs. Specifically, I want to provide them with hope and a positive view of what that life can be. As my blog has grown, however, I have discovered that there is a second audience–people who wish to support those with special needs. So I find that I am also writing for them these days.

Why did you choose BlogHer as your blogging platform?

Well, Blogher is just my advertising network. I applied on whim and it was probably years before they contacted me about joining. I control the rest of the site myself.

What do you think are the benefits of utilizing BlogHer over an independent blog?

The greatest thing, from my perspective is the exposure. Once a week, my post’s title appears on other blogs in the Network. It’s a nice way to find new readers. Also, I don’t think I was ever going to solicit my own advertising for the site, and Blogher ads  provide a (very) small about of revenue for essentially zero effort.

I know you are the creator of The Louisiana Bloggers Network. Tell us why you started it and what you hope to accomplish.

I’m so glad you asked! The Louisiana Bloggers Network is my attempt to promote, unify, and help bloggers in Louisiana. Right now it’s just getting started, but we’ve already had a Baton Rouge and New Orleans meetup, and we’ve put together a panel for the Rising Tide Conference. My ultimate goal is to have it become a hub of collaboration and assistance. Bloggers can share information, stories, goal. They can band together to seek advertising and sponsorship. They can plan road trips to conferences.

Katy, tell us a little bit about your involvement in the Rising Tide Conference.

Mallory Whitfield organized Rising Tide’s new addition this year: Tech School. She asked me to participate as a representative of The Louisiana Bloggers Network. I was completely intrigued by RT, so I started attending the planning meetings. I wasn’t able to do as much as I would have liked since I had my twins in the middle of June, but I was able to organize a panel on Photography and Graphic Design for your blog. I also live-tweeted Tech School and made some vegan red beans and rice for vegan attendees. Next year I hope to do even more. Rising Tide was created and is organized by old-school bloggers: not people looking to make a buck, but people with something to say. That is still my favorite type of blogger, and I’ll do anything I can to keep that aspect of blogging alive. Don’t get me wrong, I think bloggers can and should make money for their time and energy, but I really love people who do it regardless.

Are you involved in any other online endeavors you’d like to share?

Nothing I can think of, but you never know what project I’ll be up to next!

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Katy’s links:

Bird On The Street

Louisiana Bloggers Network

Louisiana Bloggers Network on FaceBook