Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Health Care is Big News on Associated Content

As health care reform was signed into United States law by President Barack Obama yesterday, we at Associated Content noticed some incredible news pieces, opinion, analysis and personal perspectives coming from our Contributors. We'd like to highlight a few of our favorites today. Stay tuned for another great opportunity, coming soon to your Assignment Desk, to explore the health care legislation in depth on Associated Content.

Let's get started with one of our favorite earworms--"I'm Just a Bill," from Schoolhouse Rock! Remember listening to this one in a classroom, or hearing it from your kids who came home from school singing? With your Schoolhouse Rock soundtrack playing, check out Steven Bryan's excellent news piece on HR 3590. There's another great bit of nostalgia at the end of the article, too.

One fascinating local perspective on health care reform came from Brad Sylvester, who delved into New Hampshire's Carol Shea Porter and her vote on HR 3590. Will reform opponents endanger Carol Shea Porter's reelection campaign? Brad, as a New Hampshire voter, gives his take.

If you're ready for a personal health insurance story that's by turns tear-jerking and uplifting, look no farther than the latest from Maria Roth on her beautiful daughter's battle with cancer. The Roth family is hoping for some relief from health insurance red tape when HR 3590 takes effect. It could even help to ensure that Audrey will be able to get health coverage as an adult, despite her childhood health woes.

Another local viewpoint comes from Carol Bengle Gilbert, who covered Maryland's congressional delegation and its six votes in favor of the health care reform package. The Maryland delegation also delivered two votes against the bill. Like many states, Maryland is divided on this hot button issue and its representatives' votes may impact their chances of reelection this November.

In Missouri, the controversy surrounding HR 3590 was illustrated by a split vote, described and detailed by William Browning in a well-researched article combining news reporting and opinion. Missouri is a battleground state politically, supporting a Democratic President and a Republican Governor in 2008.

Conservative politico Mark Whittington has weighed in on health care reform throughout the Obama presidency. His latest missive highlights one potentially troubling portion of HR 3590, a provision that Mark says would exempt Capitol Hill staffers from insurance mandates. Is Congress refusing to take "a dose of its own medicine?"

Lastly, this is a great time to take a second look at one of our 2009 People's Media Award winners, "A Widow's View on the US Health Care Debate." B.L. Boitson's article is just as poignant today than it was when she published it on Associated Content last November. No matter where you stand on the reform bill that passed late Sunday night, it's impossible to read this touching story without feeling sympathy for everyone still struggling to afford or to access health care.

Have you read any other inspiring or thought-provoking health care pieces on Associated Content this week? If so, post a link as a comment on this post or Tweet it to us as @acnews on Twitter!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

February 2010 Award Winners

We'd like to congratulate the winners of Associated Content's February 2010 awards!

Best of AC: Crafting, Dating & Relaltionships, Movies

Our monthly Best of AC awards recognize the achievements of Contributors publishing extraordinary content in a wide range of topics. February's winners are:

Best of AC: Crafting -- Maria Merlino
Maria Merlino is a professional designer with extensive experience doing crochet, knitting, cross stitch, embroidery, mosiacs and more. She joined AC in late 2009, and has already climbed to Clout 8 with close to 100 top-notch crafting guides and patterns of her own design. If crafting is a passion and profession for you, as it is for Maria, be sure to read her thoughts on pricing the work you create.

Best of AC: Dating & Relationships -- Ayanna G.
In more than 4 years as an Associated Content Contributor, Ayanna G. has distinguished herself in numerous categories, from Arts & Entertainment to Society. She has published close to 200 Dating & Relationship articles on AC, pulling both from personal experience and keen cultural insight. Check out her take on the effect reality TV has on real-life relationships.

Best of AC: Movies -- Steven Bryan
Steven Bryan has been writing about the entertainment industry for 16 years, and has published more than 150 insightful Arts & Entertainment articles on Associared Content since he joined three years ago. Check out his commentary on last night's Academy Award winners.

Rising Stars

Our Rising Star awards shine a spotlight on some of our most promising new Contributors. February's winners are...

Joyce Carole writes on everything from Arts & Entertainment to Fashion & Shopping (she's a Featured Contributor in that category) to Travel—always with a unique spin. She's already published 146 pieces and has over 40,000 views. Don't miss her review of last weekend's Oscars fashion.

Since joining Associated Content in November of last year, Thomas Griffin has established his expertise in the field of vocal study and singing techniques by publishing more than 60 terrific pieces, like "How to Sing Better: Expanding Your Vocal Range." His first-hand experience as a singer, instructor and worship leader all inform the content he creates as a Featured Arts & Entertainment Contributor.

Aaron Johnson is a full time student at the University of South Texas, but that hasn't stopped him from sharing his passion for sports and television with Associated Content's readers. He has already published close to 100 pieces, include a helpful and humorous glossary of social networking shorthard.

Wade Souza joined Associated Content in January, and he has already climbed to Clout 7 with nearly 100 articles. His work as a Featured Contributor in Sports and Health & Wellness showcase his experience and insight as a personal trainer. Check out "Transforming Personal Fitness to Improve the World Around Us."

Carnegie Melon grad Michael Strauss is technology expert and a hardcore gamer. From Dungeons & Dragons and classic arcade games to modern consoles and Facebook apps, Michael's passion for gaming comes across clearly in the content he publishes. Be sure to read his take on "Video Games That Revolutionized the Industry."

Congratulations to all of these talented winners!

Monday, March 8, 2010

The People's Media Company

In 2005, Associated Content took its first step into the world of online publishing under a banner that our earliest contributors might remember: The People's Media Company™.

Although our original tagline has been out of rotation for a couple years, we still find that it captures the spirit of our company in an increasingly crowded industry. Now, we are excited to reclaim this identity and shout it from our rooftop:

Although we created our industry’s first-online Assignment Desk - to increase the opportunities available to our Contributors - our focus is empowering individuals to create content on topics that they choose. We use algorithmic technology to monetize content, not to decide story topics for us.

While our core values remain, our platform continues to evolve toward a more engaging content experience for our visitors and a wider range of opportunities for our community. So far this year, we’ve refreshed the look of our site, created enhanced category themes, rolled out new publishing tools and launched Featured Contributor programs in more than 30 categories. Expect many more enhancements and experiments along these lines in 2010, including a local content program and new publishing tools.

Associated Content was created so anyone could share his or her voice, passion and expertise with the world and take part in the new content economy. More than five years later -- with a library of 2 million pieces of content and a community of 350,000 individual contributors -- we are still the publishing platform built for you, and powered by you. Together, we are The People’s Media Company.

-Patrick Keane
CEO, Associated Content

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Guest Contributors on Associated Content

We're excited to launch our Guest Contributor program, which features well-followed and established experts from a variety of disciplines – sports, literature, health, entertainment, business and more.

Our Guests will contribute occasionally to Associated Content, adding their decades of experience and unique perspectives to Associated Content's community of more than 350,000 Contributors.

Among our first Guests:

* Bill Romanowski, a former NFL star and four-time Super Bowl champion, who is now a vocal leader in the health and wellness industry.

* George Rupp, president of the International Rescue Committee, a world relief and aid organization that is heavily involved in Haitian relief efforts.

* Gini Dietrich, CEO of Arment Dietrich, a public relations firm at the forefront of social media expertise.

* Robert Denerstein, film critic for the Rocky Mountain News for 27 years, who is currently blogging, teaching and making short films.

Click here to meet more of our Guest Contributors, and read their perspective on some of the most important issues of the day.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Burn, Baby, Burn!

Is your Associated Content profile on fire? It is if you're one of the 500 Contributors with the highest volume of February 2010 page views!

Earlier this week we rolled out the Hot 100 & Hot 500 badges to the Contributors with the largest audiences, and most engaged readers, viewers and listeners.

The Hot badges will be updated once per month to give Contributors a sense of how their content is performing compared the rest of the AC community.

If your profile didn't catch on fire this time around, be sure to turn up the heat in March... And keep it going! 1000 Contributors with the most annual page views will receive a permanent Top 100 or Top 1000 award at the end of this year.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Two Million and Counting

Today, we have over two million reasons to be thankful to our Contributors!

When we published our two millionth piece of content this morning, we were both stunned and humbled.

It was long-time Contributor Sherry Wight's review of the new Dancing with the Stars lineup that pushed us over the hump. Thanks to Sherry, and our community of more than 350,000 Contributors, for helping us reach this point. We are The People's Media Company™, and this is one of many milestones we look forward to crossing together! Three million, here we come!