2340 Pine Ridge Road, Naples, FL
NAPLES — About 50 people - including Naples Daily News Editor Phil Lewis - sipped exotic blends of coffee with names like "Snickerdoodle" and "Jamaican Me Crazy," nibbled on homemade pastry and mingled with more than a dozen staff members at Coffee & Community #12, held at Sunburst Cafe Wednesday evening.
The event, the latest in a monthly series of meet-and-greets sponsored by the Naples Daily News, seeks to teach community members how to get their stories, photos, videos and more into the paper. Attendees also get to meet staff members, ask questions about the newspaper and learn the best way to engage with journalists on a one-to-one basis.
"For creative people, like artists and performers, it is always good to meet more people because you just never know when you're going to connect with somebody, and where it could lead," said Alan Kenny-Rudolph, writer-director of "The Driskell Defense," a short film which just finished shooting at Barrington Terrace in Naples.
Every attendee at a Coffee & Community event leaves with a set of instructions on sending materials to the Community section, uploading stories, photos and videos to the Participate section of naplesnews.com and contact information for a half-dozen staff members who sort, edit and publish content from community members each day. Attendees frequently become contributors - and see their work in the pages of the Naples Daily News.
Previous events have been held around Naples - at Books-a-Million, indie java joint Jojoka Coffee, the former NONA art gallery and Starbucks Coffee on Central Avenue. A March event at the Marco I-Net Cafe drew more than 70 people. Sunburst Cafe will also host next month's event, on Wednesday, August 18, 2010, from 6-7:30 p.m.
Community members say that the events have deepened their understanding of how the newspaper functions - as well as made them more aware of the work of the staff members they meet.
"After you meet a journalist, photographer or social media person, you're much more aware of their work, whether in print or online," said Dr. Marian Dolan, founding artistic director of The Choir Project. "Now I'm also very aware of the person who is covering that story, shooting that video or photo or posting the online news item."
Sunburst Cafe is located at 2340 Pine Ridge Road, in the Target Plaza at the corner of Pine Ridge Road and Airport-Pulling Road in North Naples. For more information about Coffee & Community, call 239-435-3442, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go online to naplesnews.com/coffee.