India Vincent Exposed the Risks and Rewards of Copyright

Whether you’re a potential First Lady speaking to millions of people, or a club president borrowing choice words for the organization’s newsletter, it’s a good idea to exercise caution before appropriating printed information as your own.

This was the advice of India Vincent, speaking to Alabama Media Professionals members and guests August 11 at the Homewood Library.  

“Copyright protects the expression of an idea, not the idea itself,” she told her audience.  Ms. Vincent handles cases involving copyright law for Birmingham’s Burr & Forman law firm.

Investigate and obtain permission from the person who owns the copyright to material you plan to use, Vincent advised.  Then obtain written permission to use it.  “The copyright holder may let you use it free, free with permission, or say ‘Pay me!’” she said.  (summary provided by AMP Member Sandra Bearden)

Ike Piggot Presented an Energetic Future Glimpse at the July Meeting

Ike Piggot shared an entertaining multi media presentation that made us think differently about the future of media. 

With "pub hub" centralized layout and design for area newspapers, the future of the media profession is again changing. 

"Alabama Power frequently hires freelancers for content creation that presents quality of life issues for their many customers," Ike told the group on Thursday.

He gave insight on writing for the web, sharing tips on design of the article, size issues, as well as focusing on content marketing and creating the story behind the product.

Full details will be available on our upcoming Members Page.

We hope to see you at a future meeting!

May Mtg: The Power of Digital Storytelling

Wade Kwon says: “Marketing has evolved rapidly with the rise of digital outlets. But what can cut through the din of commercials and crass come-ons? Stories. We are natural storytellers, but we must strive to improve our skills for our online audiences.”

Kwon is the conference director for Y'all Connect Presented by Alabama Power. His presentation for AMP will provide bloggers, journalists and marketers the options and strategies behind compelling storytelling. His work as a writer, journalist and storyteller has helped companies reach audiences quickly and effectively. His work as a writer, journalist and storyteller has helped companies reach audiences quickly and effectively.

Three questions that will transform your brand's story into a saga worth sharing. 

See the summary of the meeting for details by visiting the Facebook Page. 


2016 AMP Award Winners Revealed by Mark Mayfield at April's Awards Luncheon

Mark Mayfield, an early editor of USA Today and author, served as our emcee.

All those who won in the state level are eligible to compete in the 2016 NFPW Communications Contest.

CONGRATULATIONS to the winners. 

News Story - Online Publication

1st Mary Wimberley, “Flipped classroom concept gets traction at Samford”

2nd Mary Wimberley, “Children’s of Alabama, Samford Pharmacy researchers study data to help serve patients”

 Editorial / Opinion - Magazine, newsletter, or other non-newspaper print publication

 1st Meredith Cummings, “Here’s to you, YouTube”

 Feature story - Magazine, newsletter, or other non-newspaper print publication

 1st Olivia Grider, “The road to redemption”

2nd Meredith Cummings, “Past and present hit”

3rd Tie: Meredith Cummings, “Restoring history”

3rd Tie: Jane Henry, “Keeping dad’s legacy alive”

HM Nancy Dorman-Hickson, “Dolphins in the wind”

 Feature story - online publication

 1st Solomon Crenshaw Jr. “there’s nothing like tailgating at the Magic City Classic”

2nd Mary Wimberley, “Samford students learn much from Jan Term experience”

 Personality profile - 500 words or fewer

 1st Nancy Dorman-Hickson, “She wrote the book”

 Personality profile - More than 500 words

 1st Solomon Crenshaw Jr., “Preston Goldfarb: This has been one of the greatest loves of my life … Now it’s time to move on”

2nd Kathryne McDorman, “Visionary talent”

3rd Olivia Grider, “Drawing on the past”

 Specialty articles - Agriculture, Agribusiness, Aquaculture

 1st Nancy Dorman-Hickson, “Counting sheep and blessings; apples blossom in North Carolina”

2nd Elaine Hobson Miller, “St. Clair ranch home to head-turning Longhorns; Shel-Clair Farms: Cattle drives and scenic trails”

 Specialty articles - Arts and entertainment

 1st Mary Eloise Leake, “Rising Up”

 Specialty articles - Business

 2nd Olivia Grider, “Tastes like a brighter future; Discreet Distinction”

 Specialty articles - Education

 1st Olivia Grider, “Coping power; CollegeFirst”

2nd Nancy Dorman-Hickson, “Cut ‘em down, swathers; saddle up”

 Specialty articles - Food

 1st Nancy Dorman-Hickson, “What lies below; an epicure perspective:”

 Specialty articles - History

 1st Kathryne McDorman, “Hallowed beauty; more than meets the eye”

 Specialty articles - Social issues

 1st Nancy Dorman-Hickson, “A crying shame; saints of lunatics”

2nd Olivia Grider, “LIFT; Social work students go to Washington”

 Specialty articles - Sports

 1st Solomon Crenshaw Jr. “Lee-Montgomery’s 6-foot-9 Tommy Burton Jr. stood tallest when he helped his ailing mother; Mortimer Jordan volunteer assistant coach fights back from partial paralysis”

 Columns - General

2nd Allison Adams, “Lake Living column: Embracing Independence; Jumping the moon”

 Publications regularly edited by entrant - Magazine, newsletter, or other non-newspaper publication

 1st Olivia Grider, “Lookout Alabama magazine Fall 2015 and Spring 2015 issues”

 Page design - Magazine, newsletter, or other non-newspaper publication

 1st Olivia Grider, Visionary Talent; Lovely Lula”


1st Meredith Cummings, “Peaceful perch”

2nd Olivia Grider, “Bee Smart”

3rd Meredith Cummings, “Grape Expectations”

 On-the-scene report (news, features, sports) - Radio

1st Donna Francavilla, “Alabama BBQ”

 Prepared report (news, features, sports, or opinion) - Radio

 1st Donna Francavilla, “Brawl at City Hall”

 Special programming - Radio

 1st Donna Francavilla, “Confederate flag comes down”

 Interview (Radio or television show)

 1st Donna Francavilla, “Charles Barkley with Donna Francavilla on the Richard Dixon show”

 Talk show (radio or television)

1st Donna Francavilla, “Radio talk show hosting”

 Blogs - Personal

 1st Allison Adams, Explore Alabama’s Back Roads, Happy National Realtor Day

2nd Williesha Morris, Nerdy-Thirty Something

3rd Meredith Cummings, Why Alabama’s Homecoming still matters to me; A bridge is not far enough: Teaching my daughter the truth about Selma”

HM Tie: Elaine Hobson Miller, Rock Growing; Denali and the Name Game

HM Tie: Williesha Morris, My Freelance Life

 Web site edited or managed by entrant - nonprofit, government or educational

1st Tina Tidmore, OMF website redesign

 Web site edited or managed by entrant - corporate or for-profit

1st Tina Tidmore, Paige Patterson website

3rd Tina Tidmore, ACE Plumbing Services website

 Social Media Campaign - Corporate or for-profit

 1st Lauren Lockhart, B-Metro’s Social Media Roadblock: 2015 Fall Community Showcase

2nd Lauren Lockhart, Michelson Mondays

Videos for Website - Nonprofit, government, or educational

1st Tina Tidmore, OMF Video

 Videos for Website - Corporate or for-profit

HM Tina Tidmore, Shel-Clair video for website and social media

 Radio and television advertising - Radio

3rd: Donna Francavilla, BBQ at the Zoo

 Community, institutional or internal relations

HM: Tina Tidmore, AMP Reunion


1st Nancy Dorman-Hickson, Jennifer Walker Journey & Jane Ehrhardt~ UAB Public Health, Fall 2015

2nd Nancy Dorman-Hickson, Jennifer Walker Journey & Jane Ehrhardt~ UAB Public Health, Winter 2015

3rd Olivia Grider, Service Learning Magazine

 Brochures - Corporate or for-profit

 HM: Tina Tidmore, IMC brochure and insert

 Catalogs, manuals and handbooks

 HM: Allison Adams, Bark in the Park

 Sweepstakes Award

 Second place – Nancy Dorman-Hickson

Third place – Meredith Cummings

 Sweepstakes Award Winner

Olivia Grider



March 10 - How to Find the Next Great Job/Client Summary

Twenty attended the March meeting with group discussion and networking at the Homewood Library. Communications professional veterans and novices learned from each other on how to find more and better clients as well as prospective employers. 

It was agreed that organizations such as AMP are a great way to network and be at the right place at the right time. Anywhere these organizations assemble is a legitimate "to do" and an obvious plus as with each meeting you become colleagues and not "job seekers". 

LinkedIn has been proved and a story was shared where it benefited one of our members. 

Depending on the financial need, as shared by a member, "content mill" or freelance referral websites are an opportunity for regular income. As the projects expand the pay can be raised according to skill and clients are willing to comply. 

Forming relationships with other freelancers is a plus. We all understand each others needs and how to work together. Website developers, seminar training professionals, writers, photographers, videographers, broadcast and media professionals all are able to work together for a common goal. 

Make sure to come check us out on the second Thursday of the month at the Homewood Library and see how you can network and propel your career and meet some like-minded creative professionals. 


Producing the 'Bear Bryant Show' & Advertising

Joan Perry, an expert in advertising, will be our February speaker.

February's meeting was a special day with a special speaker. On February 18, AMP members and other communications professionals learned about Joan Perry's production of the "Bear Bryant Show" and it's affect on the show's advertisers.

Perry is the owner and VP of PHP Communications, and produced the show for 12 years. Attendees asked her questions about advertising and found out how she, as one of the first women in Alabama to start her own ad agency, won numerous awards. We also learned some successful branding strategies, as well as some stories of what it was like to work with Bear Bryant.

Fourteen people attended at the Homewood Library. Our March meeting is planned to be a group discussion on how to find a great communications job/client in the local area.

Email Brigette Scott to receive the invitation. Nonmembers may attend by paying a small fee, or you may join AMP for only $26 a year.

Jan 2016 Mtg: Reporting from a Nonprofit Organization

For our first meeting in 2016, we've invited Carol Nunnelley to speak to us about the Alabama Initiative for Independent Journalism, a nonprofit organization that publishes news on the Birmingham Watch website.

  • Can a nonprofit fill the gap in local journalism as for-profit news organizations are struggling?
  • Are there job opportunities with this organization for former print journalists?
  • Why do we need nonprofits to get into the news industry?

Bring your own questions for Carol to the Homewood Library on Thursday, January 14 at 11:30 a.m. and stay until 1 p.m. Go here to find out more.

Reporting in Communist Countries

Anne Ruisi, an AMP member and former Birmingham News employee, was back in town in December and wanted to "see everyone." So we pulled together a Happy Hour mixer on December 17, so Anne could share her experiences as an editor in China. Our VP of Professional Development, Donna Francavilla, also shared her experiences of reporting for Voice of America in Cuba in 2008.

All AMP members, Birmingham journalists and Anne's former workmates were invited. We had about 25 attend and ask our speakers questions at Billy's Sports Grill in English Village.

How to Promote Yourself Shamelessly in 30 Seconds-Without Being Obnoxious

At our November regular meeting, we learned how to effectively network and promote ourselves in face-to-face contacts without being obnoxious. Marlene Wallace is an experienced career counselor in the Birmingham, Alabama area.

Our next meeting will be January 14. Please contact Peggy Gargis if you would like more information on attending.

Taking Care of Business Freelancers Workshop

Legal and Marketing Guidance for the Indie Communications Professional

Freelancing writers, editors, photographers, public speakers, broadcasters, graphic designers, videographers, website designers and other communications professionals spend much time learning the tools of their trade so they can "take care" of their clients' businesses. But we tend to put off learning what's need to make our own business better. In a half-day workshop in October, we received legal and marketing information so we can "take care" of our own business and make it more profitable.

August Meeting Will Put You in the Movies

Movie Maker is a free program with Windows.

Movie Maker is a free program with Windows.

On Thursday, August 13, AMP President Tina Tidmore gave us a tutorial on creating a promotional video for Facebook or YouTube using MS Windows Movie Maker.

If you have a how-to tip to share, a cause to advocate for, or a product (or service) to sell, you likely have already made use of social media to tell your story. You likely also know that video can enhance your story and take it to a much, much wider audience. But, what if you are unfamiliar with (maybe even insecure about) photo and video programs and possibilities? Tina showed us how.

June Meeting: Dirt & Diamonds of E-Publishing

Sherry Snider, seasoned technical writer and trainer and, for the past several years, also an e-published author, spoke to AMP members on June 11 on the "Dirt and Diamonds in E-Publishing."

Having already plowed the fields of indie publishing, Sherry can helped us winnow out the wheat from the chaff of worthwhile e-publishing sites and tools. She shared tips and a list of resources that helped her put groceries on the table with her e-published books and articles. 

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Lots of Fun at the AMP 35-Year Reunion & Celebration

Lots of Fun at the AMP 35-Year Reunion & Celebration

On April 18, our organization brought together former and current members at The Club in Birmingham to celebrate 35 years of our organization’s history and the 2015 AMP Contest Award winners.

Former member Suzanne Dent came from Atlanta while another former member, Beth Garfrerick, and some college students traveled down from Florence, Alabama to remember good times from the early days of our organization’s activities. The room was filled with laughter and smiles.

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Judge Helen Shores Lee Reveals How Civil Rights Experiences Turned into Book

Judge Helen Shores Lee, who authored a book about her life in Birmingham as a Civil Rights attorney's daughter, told Alabama Media Professionals members she was a defiant child who broke Birmingham's segregation rules. At the our regular monthly meeting in May, she revealed that she purposefully drank from the "whites only" fountain at Loveman's and even shot a gun at some white hooligan boys harassing her and her family.

When her father explained to her that shooting at people was possibly going to land her in jail, and he wouldn't be able to get her out, she decided that Birmingham's injustices were not going to be a good fit for her nature. Lee explained that her temperament was not one of nonviolence at that time. She was only 13 then. So, an opportunity took her to Los Angeles, and later her husband brought her back to Birmingham.

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AMP Celebrates 35 Years and Gives Out Awards

Reunion photo.jpg

On April 18, our organization brought together former and current members at The Club in Birmingham to celebrate 35 years of our organization’s history and the 2015 AMP Contest Award winners.

Former member Suzanne Dent came from Atlanta while another former member, Beth Garfrerick, and some college students traveled down from Florence, Alabama to remember good times from the early days of our organization’s activities. The room was filled with laughter and smiles.

A total of 44 enjoyed watching a slideshow video, flipping through scrapbooks, visiting old friends

National Journalist Randall Pinkston with AMP

National Journalist Randall Pinkston with AMP

Thanks to the efforts of our VP of professional development, Donna Francavilla, our organization benefited from listening to stories of earlier news media days from well-known national reporter, Randall Pinkston. At a special March meeting, which included members of the Birmingham Black Journalists Association, Pinkston told about the struggles he experienced in discovering his unexpected career and his freelancing work today.

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Navigating Today's Media Conference Teaches Many Skills

Thanks to a partnership between AMP, the Birmingham Chapter of the American Marketing Association and the Birmingham Business Resource Center, about 55 individuals learned about social media marketing, other marketing and computer software programs including Joomla!, MS Publisher and WordPress.

One attendee said he'd attended many conferences but this one was the best. He said he got enough from the first speaker to justify the cost of the conference.

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