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Inside Web Lab Issue 4.0 September 11, l999
Our Slogan of the Month: ALS: It's a lovefest already! + + + + Contents American Love Stories Site Launches American Love Stories Dialogue Groups Open American Love Stories In the News American Love Stories Feedback Open Call for Web Development Fund Partners Sightings Job Opening - Development Director + + + + American Love Stories Site Launches At last! Our American Love Stories site has launched to great fanfare. As we're sure you've heard by now, it's a site about negotiating differences of all kinds - race, age, disabilities and many more issues. We've had hundreds of personal stories come in from all over the country, from all kinds of couples. The stories are powerful and moving and we hope will have an impact on both the readers and the tellers of those stories. Small group dialogues are forming and will launch on Monday, September 13 - sign up for registration now if you'd like to participate in a provocative, meaningful exchange about negotiating differences in relationships and the society around us, as well as many other important issues. And keep your eyes peeled for the premiere of "An American Love Story", the 5-part series airing on PBS starting Sunday night (check your local listings for times.) Jennifer Fox's award-winning documentary chronicles the life and family of Bill Sims and Karen Wilson -- a black man and white woman who have struggled for 30 years against the racial stereotypes and societal prejudices that have tried -- sometimes viciously -- to divide them. In the first program, Karen and Bill reflect on their early, difficult years, when their relationship unleashed a firestorm of community outrage. Their daughter Cicily, who is struggling with fellow students -- black and white -- at Colgate University, prepares for a semester abroad in Nigeria. + + + + American Love Stories Dialogue Groups Open Registration has begun for the first round of ALS dialogue groups, based on the remarkably successful model we developed with Reality Check. You can sign up now at: The first groups of 60 or so folks will launch first thing Monday morning, just a few hours after An American Love Story airs, and will meet for 3 weeks. Registrants will choose from among one of three groups: Bridging Differences These groups begin by discussing the topic of bridging differences within relationships. TV Series For people who've seen all or part of the television broadcast and want to talk about it. 25 and Under These groups are composed of people twenty-five and under and start with either topic. We have high expectations for these groups. This will be the largest number of people we have ever hosted using this small group technique, and will be more visible than anything we have done in the past. And if the results are anything like what the preliminary report on Reality Check has revealed, this should be quite an event. Just to give you a taste, in Reality Check: - As many as 30% of the posts contained positive comments directed towards another member, while negative comments were only in 10%. - 40% of those surveyed reported that they felt that most or all of their group were interested in what they thought and half of those surveyed believed that members of their group were interested in understanding people they disagreed with. - 80% of those surveyed reported that they were influenced to post and read messages by a sense of responsibility to their group. To get a taste of the energy and topics ALS members will raise, check out the Featured Posts already on the site, as generated through the gracious group of testers who helped us out last month. Go to: Please tell all your friends and loved ones, and we hope to see you there. And if you would like to keep up-to-date on this dialogue technique, and see a preview of our ongoing evaluation, check out the latest section of the Web Lab site dedicated to this process: + + + + American Love Stories In the News The American Love Stories site is capturing press attention! It has already been listed as a Hot Site in USA Today and featured in the Cutting Edge section of Los Angeles Times. This week, the Chicago Tribune ran a piece describing the site, and Long Island's Newsday prominently mentioned American Love Stories in their two page spread on the series. Working Woman also ran an item in its Coming Events column this month telling readers to check out the site! More to come! + + + + American Love Stories Feedback Did we mention how excited we are about American Love Stories? We could (and have) gone on and on about it, but we thought we'd take a minute to let you know what visitors to the site have had to say: "If all of you have spent some time in other dialogs - you have noticed a negative - rather arrogant stream that usually runs through the discussions. I am happy to say that I do not see that here - LYNN was correct - everyone's personal thoughts are on the line, and although this leads to FANTASTIC conversations, it does leave them vulnerable to insults and such. Thank you all for being such a fun group!" "I love PBS and was curious about the web site. After reading a couple of the love stories, I thought, this is terrific. I get to see a slice of America that isn't out my back door. I work with people who have similar educational experiences, and live in a neighborhood where people have similar incomes. We go to the same churches, shop in the same stores, meet at the same Little League games. Not much diversity. I think this is a really important Site." "Until this PBS dialogue session started, I never realized how naive I am about racial issues that saturate this society. I am grateful for all of the insights and point of views given from everybody. I still have a lot more to learn, as we all do, however, I certainly feel more racially sensitive!" + + + + Open Call for WDF Partners Announcing the Web Development Fund Partnership Program One of Web Lab's first projects -- and probably the one for which we're best known -- is the Web Development Fund, which provides funding and a variety of support services for innovative sites proposed by independent producers. The first two rounds of WDF were done in association with PBS Online, which also hosts the finished sites, provides extensive publicity, etc. We've spent the last several months developing a Partnership Program that will allow a range of organizations -- from foundations, to technology companies that want to be associated with innovation on the Web, to non-profits -- to create "tracks" for special projects. For more information, please go to: + + + + Sightings Our own Marc Weiss went to Hollywood this week to describe Web Lab's experiences with online story-telling and their potential to transform the way people understand who they are, when he participated in a panel discussion on "The Changing Face of Narrative: How the Net Is Changing The Story" at Digital Coast '99, billed as "The Definitive Convergence Event" For more info: Marc is scheduled to make a presentation about the ALS at the September 28 meeting of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the agency that distributes public funding to PBS and NPR. + + + + Job Opening - Development Director We're still on the hunt for a Director of Development! If you are or know somebody perfect, please spread the word. This is a senior level position with a lot of responsibilities. Some of the major duties include: coordinating all fundraising activities; initiating contacts with corporations, foundations, and individuals; researching, editing, and writing grant proposals. Candidates must have: 2 -3 years of development experience, superb writing and editing skills and a general knowledge of Internet, communications, and online issues. It's a fun and demanding work environment located in downtown NYC. For more info: + + + +
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