The Rumors are True! Shawn Smith Now Unemployed!

by Shawn Smith on June 5, 2009

Well, not exactly unemployed. Starting today, I’m self-employed :-P

Today is my last day serving as senior producer for

My video explainer (turn your volume all the way up – sorry about that)


Since 2007 I’ve been working on my own internet marketing group with three others. We started by building websites for small and medium-sized businesses, and that grew into other things, like search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click marketing (PPC) and social media marketing.

This year, we’ve far exceeded our goals, and we have the confidence to start making this a real gig.

My full-time “job” will be internet marketing for my own crew – Optimal Webworks!


No. I’m not.

I’m going after a dream of mine that I think I have a real shot at achieving.

In the meantime, I’ll still be talking at universities about the new landscape for journalism and I’ll hopefully have more time to share ideas here for using new media to improve journalism.


YES … if the project is right. Contact me through this blog or @shawnsmith or through


It’s been awesome to get to know many of you through this blog and conferences and working relationships. You really helped push me forward and think in new directions.

To my friends at MLive: You all are awesome. It’s incredible to look at what we accomplished in the four years I spent with you despite numerous limitations. Thank you Eric Braun for hiring me and encouraging me. Thank you Mark Hauptschein for keeping me on a upward track and your advice. Thank You Bill Emkow for listening to me, believing in me, and pushing me to do what was necessary – for MLive and myself. Thank you Justin Rogers for filling all the holes I ignored and balancing my madness. Thank you Mike Schiller for being a good friend. Thank you Christine Lasek and Tim Agne for putting up with me and helping me learn how to lead. Thank you Mike Itchue and Jonathan Oosting for hearing me, challenging me and finally taking the reigns. Thank you Kevin Nichols for making me feel welcome. Thank you James Schmehl and Phil Zaroo for some of the best shares in the office. Thanks to everyone who helped me succeed.

To my friends at Advance Internet: I can’t thank you enough for all the opportunities you’ve given me. From sending me to New Orleans during the Katrina aftermath to shooting the shit at ONA conferences to encouraging me to push the envelop at MLive – you guys really gave me a chance to explore and grow. As my time winded down at MLive I realized what an incredible family Advance is. For all the cursing I did in the beginning :), I don’t think there would have been a better place for me to be employed. Getting hired and embraced into the Advance Internet family was one of the best things I could have ever asked for. Thank you Scott Brodeur for engaging with me and encouraging me from the start – even before you were at Advance. Thank you John Hassell for inspiring my Twitter effort and your support. Thank you Joe Territo for giving me an ear. Thank you Steven Ibanez for shooting the shit with me and asking my input.

And thank you newspaper friends I made. You all helped me become a better teacher and a better listener. There’s big success on the horizon. And I know it may not seem like it sometimes, but your efforts really are moving things in a positive direction for journalism and the company.


To people looking for jobs: If you want a job in the internet world, you have to be passionate about the web and show examples of your passion. In the new new journalism, it goes 1) online 2) mobile 3-tie) dead-tree print & tv. If this isn’t how you think, then don’t apply to work for a website.

If you want some real opportunities to try things online, look no further than Advance Internet.

And another thing, if you don’t have a blog, facebook, twitter, youtube, delicious, digg, stumbleupon and reddit account, get it now or you don’t even meet the status quo. No one is going to teach you. You have to learn it yourself …. that is until I publish an e-book this summer :)


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Creative directions for self-directed journalists « Ink-Drained Kvetch
June 5, 2009 at 1:13 pm