It’s not too early to start thinking about the UNITY Journalists of Color Convention in Las Vegas next year! Save the date for Aug. 1-4, 2012. This will be the place to find a job in journalism, get the most innovative training in journalism and connect with your fellow Asian American, Hispanic and Native American journalists. Come find us at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention Center. To stay in the loop, join our Facebook group UNITY Convention 2012: Las Vegas.
— Sunny Wu
You are unpacking from your AAJA experience in Detroit. You have tips on all things journalism, job leads, a stack of business cards and the desire to stay connected to your journalism peers.
In the last several hours, I read several e-mails from AAJA Ford Fellows who wished they had all met at the convention together and cultivated relationships.
So I created a Facebook Group for the fellows and we now have nearly 30 fellows eager to network and discuss their AAJA experiences.
Here are some tips to nurture your new and established relationships:
- Social Media Meet Ups: Develop your relationships virtually. The world is a global village. Join the Facebook Ford Fellows group. http://on.fb.me/nJmBjg
- Take Notes: As the days go by, you are likely to forget some or many of the conversations you had with your journalism peers. If you’ve scribbled on business cards and stickies, now is the time to transfer them and highlight the important conversations for follow-ups.
- Thank You Notes: If anyone has made an impression on you, offered to help in any way, please say “Thank You.” It’s an under-utilized gesture and one that helps to make you stand out from the crowd.
- Pick Up the Phone: Take your virtual conversations off-line. There’s nothing like hearing someone’s voice or seeing them on the other end of the communication line. Whether you use a mobile device, a traditional phone or Skype, make human contact.
— Furhana Afrid
How are you going to scale your website? What’s your revenue model? How much overhead does your startup have?
These were just a few questions and issues that were thrown out during Friday’s panel, “Journalists As Entrepreneurs: A Pitchfest.” (While I didn’t attend that morning’s “Funding Innovative Ideas Workshop,” one person who attended both said they were very similar.)
It’s notable just how panels at the AAJA convention continue to evolve and change. When I attended my first AAJA conference, panels were just starting to address the multimedia landscape. Last week, there were two panels dedicated to entrepreneurial journalists or former journalists who are focusing on their own startups.
So what kind of programming does AAJA (or Unity) need at its next convention?
How about a panel that addresses what those startup/Internet buzzwords mean: scale, VCs, angels, series a and b, etc.
How about a panel that coaches attendees how to pitch their ideas.
How about a panel that talks about how first-time entrepreneurs can connect with venture capitalists, angel investors and firms.
How about a networking opportunity with investors or firms who have already invested and launched media/journalism startups.
Those are just a few ideas as AAJA and the convention continues to stay current with the industry and times.
At the very least, the panels should make us sound better than these guys.
-Sunny Wu @skdub | @sportsandfood
Though I’ve been a journalist for nearly half my life, this is my first year joining AAJA and my first convention. I wished I’d found my way to you sooner.
The incredible support, friendship, mentoring and fellowship I discovered here at my first AAJA convention felt like a homecoming of sorts. I’m new to AAJA but old timers and newbies alike made me feel welcomed, and being among you felt more like a rediscovery of a favorite memory than an initiation.
And I learned from all of you: storytellers of all different levels, ethnic backgrounds, media, and geographic locations.
Whether it was ap-by-ap tactics on speedwriting for multiple platforms or the soft skills of how some finesse awkward sitches of stereotyping into narrative gold, by talking and connecting with a body of peeps who embraced our differences through a common goal, I felt inspired and often humbled.
It reinforced my love of the craft, galvanized my sense of why I love to tell stories, but what’s more, it’s was a fruitful reminder of the smart, fun-loving and committed friends from all walks of life and gene pools that I have in my fellow journalists. I feel honored for the inclusion of this event.
The recession has hit most of us hard and I’m no exception. As a writer, I’d always considered myself as a lone wolf. Being a first generation Korean-Canadian immigrant to the US during the worst downturn in 80 years of US history only reinforced this sense.
But here, I understood the joy of connecting and contributing to a chorus of hardworking storytellers not just in the blues but in the refrain of hopes and things to come. This year, AAJA has been a lifeline in keeping me from becoming jaded or discouraged - or going into another field altogether. But that would be too easy of a story.
And great stories defy expectation, give us a sliver of redemption and always offer an ending of a memorable connection or disconnection. I chose to connect.
So thank you, AAJA, for allowing a verdant space in which to embrace and connect with all the differences and freakiness my Asian American background brings and leaving post-it notes for me on how to channel them into narrative gold.
So, thank you to the Ford Foundation for giving me the breathing space to fully dive into this week because without your support, I’d be squirreled away in my room at nights, barfing out copy and pitching stories, to be able to be here. Instead, I was listening. Questioning. Learning. And singing along to karoke.
Most of all, thank you, AAJA, the Ford Foundation, sponsors, my fellow delegates, and my chapter in beautiful Chicago for investing in the time and support in me — and really, all of us — as storytellers to be able to contribute to a richer, chunkier and funkier sense of the human experience through our chosen practice of writing.
I miss you all already.
— Susan Oh
David Hunke, president and publisher of USA Today, was the keynote speaker at AAJA’s gala Saturday night.
Hunke gave an impassioned speech about journalism’s core principles: justice, integrity, dignity, truth. He shared a story from his youth, when a young girl decided to “draw the line in the sand” against bullies. It seemed to resonate with all the attendees, who gave him a standing ovation at the end.
But during the speech, I thought about tweeting, “Wonder where Gannett drew the line in the last round of layoffs?”
But I decided it was unfair and snarky, especially without context.
But with a little more room in a blog post, I think it’s a valid question to ask: how will journalism be “all right” — Hunke’s words — if corporations and their executives and boards don’t draw the lines themselves?
— Just this past June Gannett laid off 700 people, many of them journalists at its community newspapers.
— Gannett has cut 20,000 jobs since Craig Dubow became its CEO in 2005
— Yet, Gannett executives were granted millions in bonuses earlier this year.
Yes, this issue is more complex than what one blog post can address. Yes, public, for-profit companies must answer to stockholders and Wall Street. Yes, journalism isn’t the only industry affected by the down economy.
But let’s not sit in a ballroom and listen to a feel-good speech and not acknowledge that Gannett has angered and alienated many journalists. It has also ended many journalism careers.
Journalism will always be “all right” because there are so many passionate journalists who value information, accountability and the truth. They’re just doing it in different ways — as non-profits, startups, bloggers, entrepreneurs.
They are drawing the line in the sand every day.
What about Gannett? If they did, that would be worth a real standing ovation.
- Sunny Wu @skdub | @sportsandfood
I spent my last day at the AAJA convention attending the “Through the Lens: Vincent Chin’’ photo exhibit and screening at the Chinese American Community Center in Madison Heights.
We were whisked from the hotel to the community center by a fleet of cars from Buick. Pretty impressive and (as my teens would say) cool. And, even more cool was the fact that right before the screening we were fed a delicious Dim Sum brunch.
It was a very informative documentary and even though I knew a lot about the Vincent Chin case it opened my eyes even wider. I am planning to find the film “Who Killed Vincent Chin?’’ so I can view it.
I came back to the hotel and took a long walk (and some well-needed exercise) around Hart Plaza. I couldn’t believe how it had expanded. In fact, downtown Detroit is so different from when I worked at the Detroit Free Press 23 years ago.
The fabulous banquet and gala was the highlight of my day. Sitting in the audience taking in all the awards and all the merriment made me realize how much journalism is an important part of my life and how AAJA is really my extended family.
As I continue to pound the pavement looking for a job I really hope I can find a way back into the industry full time. I would be very sad and really would hate to walk away from AAJA and a relationship that I have spent 23 years cultivating and nurturing.
Happy 30th anniversary AAJA! I am glad I was able to be a part of this celebration.
A special thanks to the Ford Foundation, without my grant I would not have been able to attend the convention.
— Carol Reynolds-Srot
Hi folks. Theodore Kim here. To all of our faithful Ford Foundation bloggers: Kudos to all of you for taking the time to blog about your thoughts and experiences. Many of your posts were thoughtful and illuminating.
We encourage you to consider cultivating your own blogs as it always seems to get the creative juices flowing. I’ll make one last sweep of our Tumblr inbox tonight, so if you have any final thoughts you wanted to share, send them in today.
Thanks again, and I’ll see you online!
— Theodore Kim | @TheoTypes
Over the course of several days at the AAJA convention in Detroit, I attended six different workshops, reunited with old colleagues, developed new relationships, received some career advice and even found time to spend a few hours in Canada for the first time in my life.
Yet as I reflect on my convention experience from my home in Minneapolis, I have to say that I feel a renewed sense of passion for the profession I chose.
I’ve been unemployed since January. Yes, I’ve done some occasional freelance work, but nothing that would allow me to make a living. Needless to say, the past few months have been discouraging as I’ve struggled to find a full time job. But after talking with people at the Detroit convention — people who still have the burning desire to tell stories and act as watchdogs in their communities despite the current status of the industry — I not only have a renewed sense of optimism, but I’ve also been reminded that journalism is not just a job, but an important public service. And with this newfound sense of optimism, I can safely say that a career change won’t be in the cards for me anytime soon (despite the warnings of some people during the workshops I attended about how journalism is a dying industry with a broken business model).
So once again, I thank AAJA and the Ford Foundation for making my trip to Detroit possible.
I look forward to seeing some old and new faces next year at UNITY in Las Vegas.
— Delane Cleveland, AAJA Minnesota
So folks are filtering back to homes, jobs and schools, and I have a couple more hours to spend at the RenCen before hopping a flight back to Sacramento. If you’re a little younger, like me, and leaving one of your first conventions, you might need to take a few minutes to wrap your head around everything you did and learned. Here are a few suggestions about things to do post-convention (after you get some sleep, and maybe regain your hearing from karaoke) to make sure the experience carries over, courtesy of Bobby Calvan, a veteran newspaper reporter and AAJA National Board rep from the Sacramento chapter:
- Think back on everyone you talked to, go through the business cards you collected, and reflect on those conversations. Jot down a few notes on what you talked about and the advice that was offered, while it’s still fresh.
- Reconnect with the people you met, whether by email or Facebook. For those who really went out of their way to share their expertise, or gave advice that really hit home for you, write them a thank-you note.
- Make use of the stuff you learned in workshops and seminars by putting it to use. If you’re a print reporter who went to an audio session, for example, try using an audio element in an online package, or something that will let you experiment with the new skills you acquired.
- Email the other members of your chapter, who weren’t able to attend, to let them know what workshops you did and that they can contact you if they want to learn more about what you learned. Or gather your notes, and whatever handouts and links were provided, and email those out.
- Reflect on why events like this are important – reminding you about how joyful it is being part of a community within journalism.
This being my second convention, that last part really resonated with me. It was good seeing a lot of the same people from last year in addition to meeting new ones. Detroit was great (“authentic,” as it was described at the gala last night, was a well-chosen word). And thanks again to the Ford Foundation for allowing me to attend.
— Matt Kawahara, AAJA Sacramento
Storyboard prior to shooting
Know the story you’re going to tell first
Avoid newspaper writing approach of stating the most important thing first - with video, build up to a climax and let it come down naturally. Answer questions by the end.
Don’t give away the story right away. Build up the surprise and interest early, add mystery, raise questions, and then wow them!
Good videos have great sequencing, content, and audio
Audio is of utmost important. Build audio story first!
If the story doesn’t make sense with the audio alone, it won’t make sense when adding in video
Get plenty of details shots
Remember to gather ambient sound and room tone
Go through your interviews, look for the best opening and ending quotes
Sequencing is the key to video!
Watch Hollywood filming for naturally flowing sequences, i.e. wide to tight, tight to tight, medium to wide, etc.
Work on the audio, then visual, then fine tune it all at the end
— Florence Low, AAJA Sacramento Chapter
On Thursday, I also attended a workshop on watchdog journalism. I initially thought the session would discuss the ethics of watchdog and investigative journalism in a digital age. Instead, a reporter, editor and executive from The Detroit Free Press presented a how-101 class.
Jeff Taylor, a senior managing editor, said that even in an age where celebrity gossip generates thousands of hits on a news site, well-written investigative stories, too, draw high readership and high reader interaction.
Investigative journalism doesn’t only mean watching City Hall. It could also include partnerships between a seasoned investigative reporter and one with an expertise in the arts and nonprofits.
Journalists often say they don’t have the time to do watchdog. Taylor said despite writing daily news, journalists must also be creative and carve out the time to stay relevant to their community. You can chip away at a story, one find at a time, he said.
For Jennifer Dixon, investigative reporter, one story led to another. She started with a basic minimal story on how much pensions were costing the city, which led to articles on middle men hired to pitch deals that fell apart, the deal on the pension lawyer and a follow-up story one year later on how pensions ultimately cost the city $480 million. Her relentless pursuit of the issue led to another infamous one about Mayor Kilpatrick taking bribes.
In honor of keeping watchdog journalism alive, the Detroit Free Press offers a yearly $5,000 award for original watchdog and digital innovation stories, open to all.
— Dominique Fong
I really enjoyed the session, “Working Abroad in Asia or Middle East,” because panelists openly shared personal, lengthy stories about cultural experiences in another country.
Panelists emphasized, first of all, that being a good correspondent means knowing the logistics of working in a rural combat zone: how to dig a latrine, building a fire with no matches, making sure you don’t step in the wrong puddles to avoid cholera.
Beyond dealing with the physical risks of working in a different country, reporters must also balance their reporting with political implications. It can be a moral, ethical and professional dilemma, panelists said. Sometimes, there are road blocks, literally, with child soldiers holding Ak-47s. Other times, being an American during tense political situations can help you across borders or land you in jail.
Then, once you get around to writing the story, often it takes extra effort to stay relevant to American readers. For example, most Americans can relate to a story about China’s emerging middle class. What could be fascinating to a correspondent could also drive away American audiences. Occasionally, however, the news value will trump that fear.
News organizations are looking for people who are culturally aware, bilingual (without an accent) and ready to sacrifice much of a personal life to remain committed to the job.
Even better, said Tomoko Hosaka, a reporter with the Associated Press, go to the country and establish yourself there rather than wait for a news organization to send you, since it’s less expensive for them if you’re already settled.
And surprisingly, foreign correspondence, though cut from many newspaper budgets, is a growing area of journalism.
“If you have those skills, it’s a booming market,” Hosaka said.
— Dominique Fong
It is a breezy and bright morning for a tour of The Henry Ford Museum. For the first time, I was able to come face-to-face with the chair where Lincoln was assassinated; the original Rosa Park bus (I was able to sit in the very spot!); the White House vehicle where the attempted assassination of President Reagan happened (including the bullet holes); and not to mention…my winning bid to see ‘Dancing with the Stars’ in L.A.!
Thank you to the Ford Foundation and AAJA for the hospitality and growth I have achieved during my time here in Detroit. I made many friendships that will last a lifetime and will carry my new skill-sets with me for the rest of my life!
— Amy Pholphiboun
Here are some highlights:
- Nokia N8 is a good basic camera.
- Google+ is a growing medium as competitor to Facebook.
- Did you know…that you can link Facebook and Twitter to talk to each other?
- To enhance memberships…try a monthly happy hour. D.C. Chapter gains 1 - 2 members per meet-up.
- Adobe Audition is available for $35 for non-profits.
- Resource: http://journalists.org/
- Vietnam War and it’s after effects: http://www.vietnamreportingproject.org.php5-21.dfw1-2.websitetestlink.com/
— Amy Pholphiboun
FRIDAY: Needed a break from technolgy, so dropped in on session on “How to Write & Publish Your First Book.” Minal Hajralwala, author of “Leaving India: My Family’s Journey from Five Villages to Five Continents,” summed up the process in one sentence: It was hard!” All panelists discussed need to be disciplined and to set deadlines. Also a good agent can make all the difference. How to you find an agent? It’s like dating… one of the panelists said. “you just have to go out and meet them and pick the one that feels right.”
— Esther Wu
FRIDAY: At social Media 1: Status Updates, Tweeks and Geo-What? At last a remedial session for dinosaurs like me. Owen Lei from KING-TV, Jewel Gopawani with Detroit Free Press and AllisonLooney, technology recruiter from Gannett gave an overview of Face Book and Twitter. The session was advertised for newies — and they kept their word They explained how Face Book and Twitter work, advantages and disadvantages of each and why. Jewel explained difference between Face Book profile and public pages. Obviously ethnical reporters would not use materials from someone’s Face Book page without verifying and obtaining permission. Unfortunately there are no rules about using material from Face Book. Allison said we are still in “Gray area” and things may change — but in the meantime we just have to trust reporters not to do anything unethnical. (Tell that to Congressman Weiner!) All three panelists reminded us to NEVER post anything you wouldn’t say in public. Also learn to use the privacy settings to control who sees what you want them to see. Lei uses Twitter to help gather information as well as sources. IE: He used CROWDSOURCING to help Military personnel who may be concerned about getting paid during federal budget crunch. He also tweets when his is on assignment, gives updates as available and right before airtime to remind followers to tune in. I can see how Face Book and Twitter can help reporters gather information. But as Owen reminded us, technology is not a replacement for good old shoe leagther reporting— but it is a great way to generate leads.
— Esther Wu
Thursday: Checking out “What’s Next for Journalists After the Newsroom?” Blown away by the number of young people in the room. It does not bode well for the 50-Somethings like me if these 20-Somethings are now thinking about life after the newsroom. Panelists Varon Brown, Katherine Lewis, Jennifer Chung and Moderator Ling Liu shared their stories about why they left the newsroom and what they are doing now. VERY ENCOURAGING! All are very successful, no regrets. Only minor concern was when one panelists admitted that she still thinks of herself as a reporter first.
Each said their journalism skills easily applied to their current jos.
Katherine Lewis, a successful full-time free-lance writer said reporters take their skills sets for granted. One example, Reporters are used to making cold calls. Reporters are natural salesmen — we sell our stories to editors, we pitch sources and we talk about our stories. All valued skills.
So there is life after the newsroom.
The strange and beautiful building where we’re holding the convention this year is the Renaissance Center. This city within a city was designed by John Portman in 1976. GM bought it for less than the cost of construction, and then sank a half billion dollars into it. The effect? AAJAers feel like they’re living in a science fiction movies for four days in 2011.
— Shawn Wen
Imagine journalism with more freedom for ideas and coverage, without the pressures of audience and finance, and a sea of resources at your feet. This is the utopic world of fellowships.
I was so surprised to see such a lack of bleakness in the faces of the panelists as they talked about the opportunities and funding offered by their endowments. Their key tips: Honesty. Write your essays from your own perspective. It will be clear what you think the judges want to hear and what you mean.
One thing I cherish at AAJA conventions is making connections, between skills learned in one workshop to those in another, tightening strands of ideas I’ve been ruminating awhile and then talking them over with friends old and new.
In Friday’s “Google For Journalists,” Sean Carlson showed how multiple data points can be drawn together in all kinds of maps and graphics to share complex information in a way that are easy on the eyes but make a lasting impression.
That got me thinking about a business story I’ve been thinking about regarding a burger chain, and how I could add new dimensions to it by taking advantage of those tools in a different way.
I went back and forth between “Social Media I: Status Updates, Tweets and Geo-What?” and “Facing the Future: A Look at ELP’s Media Demonstration Projects,” trying to get something out of two workshops at the same time.
Owen Lei, a reporter at KING-TV, shared many examples of how he had used Facebook to reach out and make connections with folks in the Seattle area for story ideas and sources. He also gave an overview of how he had set privacy settings and created groups and lists, separating his online personal and professional lives and making his work more efficient.
The ELP Media Demo Projects are exciting in making connections with the ethnic press in Chicago, Arab American youth in Dearborn, Mich., and in the Chinatown community in New York. The “Our Chinatown” project and the “Living Textbook” project in Dearborn are making these connections through emerging technology platforms to advance awareness in the greater community.
We heard directly from experts at Facebook and Linked In during “Social Media II: Becoming a Social Media Maven,” with examples of how a series of posts can become a story in itself and how to find experts with very specific parameters to match exactly who you need for a story.
In “Is Hyperlocal the Future or Just Hype?,” interesting points emerged on models of connecting journalism with advertising - a question few journalists have the luxury of just leaving to someone else to consider anyone.
My night wound down on a sweet note, not just because of the pastries from a Dearborn shop we nibbled on but because I lucked into a quiet conversation one-on-one with Katherine Lewis.
I was only able to catch a bit of her sharing her success stories as a freelancer in “What’s Next for Journalists Affter the Newsroom?” panel because I was in another workshop.
We talked for awhile about what I had learned that day in workshops and how I and a lot of “ronin” journalists are trying to piece together new phases in our careers while trying to make a living to support our families.
It’s clear to me that whatever happens, I always want to be a journalist in some way, getting out the untold stories.
We talked about freelancing as a way to make that happen. She emphasized what she had shared in the panel, about evaluating opportunities by how they might add to one’s journalistic pay, prestige or passion.
Katherine generously offered to keep in touch and lend a hand. I promised to be judicious in what I ask in brainstorming ideas or getting feedback on story pitches.
So many people helped me get started as a freelancer, she said, “I want to pay it forward.”
— Maya Blackmun, Portland Chapter
Reflection can help bring what we experience into focus, but making time for it seems so tough in these times.
That’s why the opportunity - thanks to the Ford Foundation’s support - is so very appreciated for us fellows to attend workshops at AAJA to develop our digital skills and share them with our chapters.
For me, each day seems to bring a running theme in what I learn and encounter and Thursday’s gems centered on “focus.”
In “The Future of Journalism: Going Mobile” we heard about all kinds of possibilities of getting news to folks wherever they are, the challenges of distribution and how news consumers’ needs, expectations and desires shift with each medium and within their daily lives. Mark Hinojosa, The Detroit News’ interactive media director, talked about bringing a focus to it all by putting out the question some are trying to answer of how to deliver news not just to a consumer’s location but also their state of being.
In “Visual Storytelling II: From What Reporters Need to Shoot Video to What Professionals Need to Get The Job Done,” Conner Jay, a Phoenix multimedia photographer, urged us to focus on one thing at a time to think with our ears and our eyes.
In “Visual Storytelling III: How to Be a Great Backpack Video Journalist,” Harvey Ovshinsky, a man of many hats at The Detroit News, shared that beyond the great visuals and sound, storytellers must show - because seeing is believing - the answers to: “What’s the question?” “What’s at stake?” “What does it mean and why does it matter?”
After the presentation of “In Retrospect: ‘Who Killed Vincent Chin?,’” again thanks to the Ford Foundation, I felt focused in a new way about why it mattered why I was here at AAJA in Detroit in such a key year of reflection for our organization and the nation.
Yes we are here for journalism, but with a special responsibility as Asian Americans. It is by who we are and what we deliver that we bring new understanding.
— Maya Blackmun, AAJA Portland Chapter
At the Daily Grind session today we talked about how to keep long ongoing stories fresh. Since it is a long story it is a good idea to have a timeline of what happens so that it is a constant record easy to access so anyone who picks up the story can follow. Another good idea is to have the boilerplate, which is the basic part of the story.
— Linda Dela Cruz
It’s a question that many people are asking at the Asian American Journalists Association conference this year. What’s next? For newspapers? For myself? That was the question I was set on exploring today. And it seems many others were asking that question, as well.
I started off chatting with Joe Grimm, recruiter extraordinaire, formerly of the Detroit Free Press and now with Michigan State University School of Journalism, among other organizations, for his thoughts on what might come next for me. Joe is a straight-shooter, a clear thinker, and a good man. If someone can offer great advice with the best of intentions, it’s Joe.
I’m a freelance writer. Life circumstances nudged me to stay at home with my daughter and to quit my newspaper job, just a few months before major layoffs and buyouts hit my newspaper in San Antonio. I had some ambivalence about the move, because I had invested so much — 12 years of my life — to a newspaper career. Like many journalists, I had paid my dues, working free in some cases, to build a portfolio. I hopscotched across the nation to parlay experience into more experience, knowledge into more knowledge, and connections into more connections. I had given up a lot to stay home with my daughter. And I grieved those years and the career.
But chatting with Joe Grimm and others formerly — and currently — in the newspaper business buoyed my morale and helped give me a new perspective. Many of us are in the same place, wondering how to parlay years, decades, dozens of years of newspaper experience… into something else. And my colleagues still in newspapers are riding the newspaper wave as far and as long as they can, but working harder, under strained conditions, and wondering when the gig will end.
Joe glanced my resume, my client list, and my work history and said: You’re doing fine. You have autonomy over your life and your schedule. You’re doing what you need to do. Whatever you do, you’ll be fine. It was simple and straightforward. I’m still wondering what I will do next, but Joe’s simple words of encouragement were reassuring. I didn’t get closer to answering some questions — Grad school, law school, business school, no school? for example. But, he helped me come back to a notion that I know intuitively to be true. Do your best every day to do the right thing and come to the right decisions, and everything will be fine.
Later in the day, I attended a workshop that seemed tailor-fit to my circumstance: What’s Next for Journalists After the Newsroom. There were many of us sitting in this workshop, listening to former Time Magazine Hong Kong bureau writer, Ling Woo Liu, as she described her transition to nonprofit director, and then go on to cite some grim statistics. So far this year, 2,005 journalists lost jobs. We seem on track to matching last year’s losses of 3,000 jobs. But, this is significantly better than 2009, when 15,000 people lost their positions, and 2008, when 16,000 journalists were left scrambling for a Plan B.
And while the prospect of losing not just a job, but your career and self-identity, can be a frightening one, Liu and the other panelists — a freelancer, a public relations director, and broadcast communications manager — reassured everybody in the room that life post-journalism can be good and rewarding. Strangely, being in a room with several transitioning journalists at a journalism conference was comforting.
My take-away from the day’s discussions is this: Make the best decisions about your life, your future, your career, and your family at the moment and don’t look back. Just keep going forward.
— Analisa Nazareno
The Friday afternoon session on how to publish a book was truly exciting and insightful, providing me with a big picture of publishing process, how to write the book proposal and how to approach publishing houses. One of the most important keys to become a published author may be finding the right agent for you. There are some authors who wrote the New York Times bestselling books without helps of agent, but all of the authors on the panel emphasized that agents are extremely helpful and you should have one, too. The challenge is to find a right agent, because good agents don’t usually reply to your query letter (the chance of getting a face-to-face meeting is roughly 5%), so you would need to use all your journalist skills to find the right source, by attending book conference, networking with authors and editors. You will also need to approach many agents to find out who is your best match because “it is like a dating” and you need to have the right match in terms of the subject of interest and human chemistry. Also, the authors seem to have had a very clear idea about their target readers segment when approaching agents.
— Koji Takahashi
Until a couple years ago, I had never even heard of a journalism fellowship. I had seen some flyers at previous conventions but never thought to find out more information as I was so focused on attending workshops, networking, and finding a job. On a whim and at the advice of my friend, Brian, I sat in on the “Retool, Rethink, & Recharge with a Journalism Fellowship” panel.
I was fascinated by what I learned and soon realized that a journalism fellowship offers the freedom to work on your own journalism project and receive media training, the chance to meet people from all over the world, and the opportunity to attend classes in any subject of your choosing. Other perks include receiving a generous stipend (some are more than what you would make in a full-time position) and full-assistance with housing and insurance costs. The best part is that you essentially get paid to pursue your dreams and then use the training to find a kick-ass job.
Some fellowships to check out include the Nieman Fellowship program at Harvard University and the Knight-Wallace Fellows program at the University of Michigan.
— Renee Eng, AAJA-LA Member
For those aspiring journalists looking to break into multimedia journalism, Marc Kawanishi, an instructor at Media Mission International, offered some great tips at the Visual Storytelling III workshop.
For those who are just graduating from school, Kawanishi emphasized the importance of a strong GPA. He reminded us that this signifies potential to employers and the ability to problem solve. Even if you are green, you can demonstrate that you have the ability to work hard through your academic performance.
For those looking to transition into the field, Kawanishi noted that it was important to have a portfolio. You will need to show employers some work samples as you apply for jobs. If you don’t have any work samples, Kawanishi suggested looking at your hobbies or activities and writing a piece based on those interests. For example, if you’re an avid surfer, research a story related to surfing. The goal is to create a multimedia story based on your interests and then find a local news editor to edit the piece. This can be used for your portfolio.
Finally, Kawanishi stressed the importance of training. There are a variety of places where you can get multimedia training, including journalism schools such as UC Berkeley.
— Renee Eng, AAJA-LA Member
It was encouraging to attend the workshop, “From Print to Broadcast: Be Ev,erywhere and Be Successful” and know there is hope for a dyed-in-the-wool newspaper reporter like me , that I can make the transition to working in radio or TV.
Presenter Kim Mullen, who started her career as a freelance writer, was able to parlay her investigative reporting expertise into TV. KIm Bui was a print journalist, but started to experiment with a blog, focusing on fashion, and managed to talk her way into becoming a digital journalist with a public radio station. Niala Boodhoo was a business reporter for a newspaper, and used that expertise to get a job with a public radio project.
So while the description of different aspects of a story may differ from print to broadcast (a lede becomes the intro in radio and the voice over in TV) are different in radio and TV from print, the basic premise is still the same: tell a compelling story.
Mullen urged all those interested in going into TV to acquire the basic skills - “Learn to shoot, learn to edit” - even if it means doing it on your own, and making mistakes along the way.
Bui also noted that the public radio community is very small, so people are very willing to help newcomers learn the ropes. Boodhoo said that many public radio stations offer internships - some paid, some not - but it’s a good way to acquire the skills needed to be successful in radio.
Since this is the digital age, there are also plenty of online sites that provide basic training in working in radio, including starter sound editing programs, such as Audacity.
National Public Radio has also produced online guides to writing for radio, which does differ from print, in that the scripts are written to reflect how people actually speak.
Bui noted that for many job postings in radio, most of the hires meet about 65 percent of the requirements. Mullen observed that while skills such as shooting and editing can be learned on the job, good reporting and writing abilities are not.
Tillie Fong, AAJA-Denver
This morning I attended the general membership meeting. To be honest, I am a new member and it was the first time for me. It was a good opportunity for every new member like me to understand how AAJA worked. We began to know each other , recognized the president of each chapter , understood the challenges we had and the prizes we won. One thing impressed me most is the Broadcast Mentor Program. The friendship between mentor and men-tee is moving ! As a student, I really want to join them. I can image what can I get, the great experience from an professional journalist who is working in my dream industry!
So the thing I have to say, keep eyes open, there are numerous opportunities in the AAJA convention and we have to find them out.
— Xinjuan Deng
From the blog of Analisa Nazareno: http://analisawrites.wordpress.com
For many journalists in transition, navigating new terrain has meant learning to pitch ideas to venture capitalists and book agents.
With skills in cold-calling executives and politicians, communication with people from all walks of life, and with daily experience pitching story ideas, journalists are more adept at making that transition than many other would-be entrepreneurs and book authors. That is what I learned today from two different workshops: the “New U Entrepreneurship Project” and “How to Write & Publish Your First Book.”
Finding your way through a changed media landscape has also meant learning the language and equipment of new and different media. That’s what I learned popping in and out of different workshops in afternoon, including “Tech Trends,” “From Print to Broadcast,” and “Social Media II.”
Yes, I learned about specifics, such as the process going from book idea to proposal to contracting with an agent, or the various tools available on Google and the manner in which journalists could utilize them. But the biggest take-away from today’s workshops is this idea: The ability to communicate is worth money. The ability to synthesize ideas and use words correctly is valuable.
And the same tenacious, can-do attitude that journalists brought to their reporting into the newsroom will serve them well, regardless of the route they take after leaving a newsroom.
— Analisa Nazareno
Becoming a published author has been condensed to 12 easy steps by author Minal Hajratwala. 1. Have a genius idea 2. Initial reporting and research 3. Write a book proposal 4. Write query letter 5. Research literary agents 6. Send query, then proposal to agent(s) 7. Sign on with agent 8. Revise book proposal 9. Agent sends proposal to publishers 10. Get contract; do math—can I quit my job? 11. Write book, sweat blood, etc. 12. I am an author!
— Chris Soriano, San Diego Chapter
Diary of a Digital Dinosaur
Here’s the Dodo Bird Discoveries du jour:
- At the Social Media I workshop, Jewel Gopwani of the Detroit Free Press said pick a short Twitter name so it doesn’t cut off in retweets. In fact, she recommends only tweeting 120 characters so text isn’t cut off when people retweet.
- At Becoming a Social Media Maven, an NPR journalist said he uses LinkedIn often for searches, as a quick verification of what sources say about their credentials. “You can quickly fact check a source,” he said, sussing out false claims about employment or university degrees.
- A moment of intergenerational serendipity came at the workshop What’s Next for Journalists After the Newsroom? It happened that the night before I flew to AAJA, I’d had dinner in Seattle with my daughter, who works at Densho, a Seattle non-profit that’s created an online archive of video interviews with Japanese-American detention camp survivors. She’d been transcribing some interviews and we ended up talking about Fred Korematsu and some of the landmark civil rights lawsuits filed to challenge the laws that rationalized the incarceration of Japanese-Americans. It turned out the moderator for the panel was Ling Woo Liu, director of the Fred Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights. It was a wonderful kismet moment for me to go up to Liu afterward to talk about Densho and our common ground in work that keeps alive the memory of these forebears who make what we do possible.
- Favorite tip from Becoming a Social Media Maven workshop: KSAX, a small TV station in Minnesota, did a Facebook contest to motivate viewers to like their page. They promised when they got to 3,000 likes their meteorologist would get Tazered – the goal was met in no time flat!
— Sarah Eden Wallace
When I saw the topic for the Friday morning plenary I had to get up early and make the session. “Born Across Borders: How Adoption is Reshaping the Asian American Community” hit home for me.
You see, my husband and I have two children who were adopted from Korea. Zachary, 19, was the product of a Korean birthmother and, although his paternity is not clear, we think his birthfather was an American soldier of black and Indian descent. Kelly, 16, was born to a young Korean girl and is full Korean.
The panel offered a variety of panelists: a filmmaker who documented the adoption of a child from China; a past AAJA executive board member who adopted her son from China; a Korean adoptee; and a sister and brother (one from Taiwan and one from Korea) who were adopted into the same family.
The Taiwanese adoptee even wrote a book about her perspective of being adopted and shared revelations she later encountered.
I won’t expound too much on the topic because I am afraid I may not be able to stop myself. I could go on and on because I am very versed about international adoptions.
Needless to say, I really enjoyed the seminar and plan to try and watch the entire documentary done by the filmmaker and I already have the book written by the Taiwanese adoptee on reserve at the library.
I attended both the Social Media I and Social Media II workshops hoping to pick up some tips to sharpen my skills.
Part I was a bit too rudimentary for me but I sat through it anyway. Part II was very informative with panelists from Facebook and LinkedIn. I especially learned a lot of neat new things about LinkedIn and plan to update my account when I get home.
Like facing a buffet table, I couldn’t decide on which seminar to attend at the 3 p.m. time slot. So I tried to do two.
I caught the first half of “Creating a Business Called YOU’’ and got information from some entrepreneurs who took their journalistic skills and retooled and reshaped their careers. The most important thing I learned was that you have to be brave, energetic and persistent.
“Is Hyperlocal the Future or Just Hype’’ had an interesting panel and a lot of interaction with the audience. While the genre is still spreading like wildfire whether or not it takes hold and saves journalism remains to be seen.
— Carol Reynolds-Srot
Trying to branch out a little, I spent part of Friday morning at “NPR’s The Audio Cut.” One of the questions/problems I’ve seen come up in print, when other forms of media enter the conversation, is: How do you put together a video or audio piece in addition to a print story, making sure that it in some way augments the print story? Going into the workshop this morning with very little knowledge about how an audio project is put together, I think the thing that made the biggest impression on me was how much more effective audio can be at conveying emotion.
Obviously, in print, if somebody is starting to choke up during an interview, the only way to share that is to write that they were starting to choke up, which can read awkwardly. And even then, it’s hard to capture the exact feel of the person’s emotional response, or mark the exact moment when it happens. The two NPR panelists this morning played a couple pieces in which the emotion of their subjects came across both in cracking voices and in charged silences. It works to describe a person in print through appearance, personality traits or mannerisms. But I sometimes think actually allowing a reader to hear a subject’s voice, maybe through an audio clip attached to the story or to an accompanying audio slideshow, gives a better sense of that person. Hearing the emotion enter his or her voice, just as it happens, can be really poignant.
Among the basic tips on ensuring good audio for which I was really grateful: Hold the microphone out of your line of eye contact with the subject (for the sake of interaction) and a little away from the subject’s mouth for clean sound. Some of the best sound comes from interviewing in a small, enclosed space. If the interview’s happening in a loud, public place, panelist Hansi Lo Wang said, record a minute of just ambient noise so that transitions between voiceovers and interview aren’t jarring. Keep an eye on sound levels during the interview. And vary the length of “selected cuts” according to the length of the story - 20 seconds at most for a 1-minute news spot and 30 seconds at most for a 4-minute story, according to the NPR handout from the workshop.
From talking to a couple recruiters at the career fair, I got the sense that although it might not be crucial to master audio and video production in addition to reporting and writing stories, it’s important to at least know how to capture quality raw footage or sound. The recruiters described thinking about it simply as another extension of reporting. Get sent out with a recorder or camera, and it’s best to be able to bring something back. I’ll try to take that to heart.
A couple links provided in the NPR handout:
http://airmedia.org/PageInfo.php?PageID=194 (The Association of Independent Radio, Jay Allison, “Interviewing Tips”)
http://www.transom.org (handout says the “Tools” page is a particularly good resource)
http://shop.npr.org/books/sound-reporting/ (NPR’s page on “Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production,” by Jonathan Kern. An excerpt is included at the bottom of the page.)
— Matt Kawahara
A powerful, extremely moving film that spawned an Asian American civil rights movement.
You will walk away from this movie with a deeper sense of pride and appreciation for what it means to be Asian in this country. It’s impossible not to. Christine Choy did an amazing job of directing this film.
During the Q and A session with the panel, Choy explained how she was able to convince Ronald Ebens to talk about the murder of Vincent Chin and why it was in his best interest to do so. After he was acquitted in the trial, Choy congratulated him on the verdict. Like the idiot he is, Ebens was speechless. He didn’t know how to react to an Asian woman congratulating him on becoming a free man.
Over time, Choy was able to build up a repoire with the murderer and racist. It worked just like she planned. She explained to him that she’s going to complete the film whether he talks or not, and that it was in his best interest to tell his side of the story. Ebens concluded that she was right and finally decided to be interviewed.
Ultimately, Ebens was ordered to pay 2-million dollars in a civil trial to Vincent’s mother. Money that she never received before her death. Ebens now spends his time in Nevada, one of the most debt friendly states in the nation.
There’s no question, justice failed Vincent Chin and his family. It’s tragic that it took his death to invoke a national movement for Asian civil rights. But just imagine where we’d be without it.
How can journalists position themselves more effectively in this ever-changing environment? That was one of the topics at the journalism fellowship workshop.
Harvard University, University of Michigan and Stanford University all offer a 10-month journalism fellowship for mid-career and veteran journalists. All of the panelists expressed how important it is for applicants to have strong letters of recommendation. Choose people that you trust and more importantly that you know will give you a glowing recommendation. Birgit Rieck, Assistant Director of Knight-Wallace Fellows, said it isn’t as important that the person giving the recommendation is a big name, but rather that they will give you an accurate description of the type of worker you are and why you would be an asset to the fellowship program.
All three of the prestigious universities are “outside the box” thinkers. They are looking for all kinds of journalists from different backgrounds and different experiences. They stressed that they aren’t looking just for the traditional print journalist or television anchor or reporter. They want people who think creatively and bring something different to the table. Whether it’s developing a new iPhone app or constructing a website that brings immigrant communities together with journalists and provides them a much needed voice.
The 10-month fellowship offers a stipend of between 60-70 thousand dollars, which includes housing and medical benefits. Sounds like a great opportunity. Study at a prestigious university and get paid to do it! And most importantly, bring new thoughts and ideas back to your newsroom.
I spent the day at a combination of Social Media and technology sessions and entrepreneurism.
Key takeaways that resonated for me:
- If you have an idea, write it down. Talk to others about it and get feedback. It can help you identify holes and opportunities.
-Personal passion is important. If you at first fail (and you probably will, based on statistics), you will be more likely to find another way to accomplish your dream if you are passionate.
-Cultivate your contacts. When it comes to seeking investors, “warm introductions” are extremely valuable. It will open doors to opportunities.
-Read, study and seek out mentors who have been there and can offer tips and insights.
—Attitude is important. When faced with a job change (or loss), or some setback, it’s an opportunity.
Most of us who write for a living have thought about writing a book. Hearing from four working journos who have done just that and how they broke down the process makes it seem more like an achievable goal.
Cheryl Lu -Lien Tan, a fashion writer in NYC, came to book idea when she went back to Singapore to learn her late grandmother’s recipe for pineapple tart. Mei-Ling Hopgood took ten years to let the idea of the her book, about meeting her birth family that gave her up for adoption in China, gestate. Monte Reel knew he had a book when everything he knew and wanted to say kept overflowing out of the mag story he was writing.Minal Hajratwala wrote about her family’s journey from India and beyond.
All say it’s a lot harder than they thought it would be; it takes a lot longer than they thought to actually think out what their respective stories would be.
All except Minal repeated the word, discipline, to describe their process. Minal said it was just to keep herself happy and find out what works best for her, like not fighting her tendency to be a night writer and try to write during the day. She keeps a schedule writing from 9pm - 3am.
Like with all partnerships, finding an agent and editor has to be based on trust and a common view of and belief in the book. Many publishers will leave much of the publicity and marketing to the author.
— Susan Oh
Talk to most people who have left a traditional news organization and they’ll tell you that news is a dying business with a dying business model.
Not a rosy outlook for the profession many of us chose.
But at the Friday morning workshop entitled “The New U” Entrepreneur Project: Funding Innovative Ideas Worskshop, the message was clear: Get out now! And, we’ll teach you how to do it.
That’s assuming of course that you have an idea of a new business venture.
The workshop was led by several people who have launched successful (and not so successful) websites. They’ve been through the battles. They know how to secure funding from investors. So with that knowledge and experience, they turned to those gathered in the audience and asked the would-be entrepreneurs to stand in front of the room and perform their entrepreneurial pitch. In other words, the people had to talk about what sort of business they’re trying to launch, and why investors should give them money to make their dream become a reality.
Many of the potential entrepreneurs preferred not to have their ideas made public, but here are a few bits of advice given by the panel of “judges” who critiqued their pitches.
- If your business does not solve a pressing problem, then who cares?
- If you’re able to reference a similar business that has been successful, that’s a plus during your pitch.
- During your pitch, talk about how your business is going to generate revenue or how you might pull in foundation grants to fund your start-up.
- Mention to the investor how your business will acquire customers.
- If you’re trying to start up a website, talk about how will you get people to develop a habit of going to your site.
- Don’t be afraid to say that you’re going to lose money in the first couple years. Most start-ups do.
- Investors are looking for people who truly have a passion for what they’re doing.
- Saying in your pitch that “it will appeal to everyone” is a bad line to use.
- Never use the term “we are the first ever.” Chances are, something being the “first ever” is rarely the case. Investors will jump at that opportunity to turn you down.
Perhaps the most important thing the judges shared with the group was that would-be entrepreneurs should not be afraid to fail. Most start-ups don’t succeed, but after getting some experience, it will make them better in the long-run.
Now, I just need an idea of my own.
Andrew Humphrey making his entrepreneurial pitch to the panel.
Caroline Li making her pitch to the panel.
— Delane Cleveland, AAJA Minnesota
Thursday: Attended session called Data Visualization: It’s Alive! Data Presentations That Won’t Bore Readers to Death. Fascinating presentation by Sanjay Bhatt with Seattle Times reporter, Matt Stiles, database reporting coordinator, National Public Radio’s State Impact Project and Sha Hwang, Data Visualization with Stamen. Sanjay says visualization is simply a reincarnation of what we used to call “graphics.” Today’s graphics, however, are many times enhanced by the use of technology.
Bhatt says we should think of visuals the same way we think of editorial: Who is involved and whom does it impact; what is the data, when did it happen and where.
Stiles says visuals can incorporate data that matters to journalists and are important because they can:
- Increase transparency and credibility
- Increase audience engagement
- Tells stories in unique ways
- Can be more powerful than text (like a photo)
- Can be used as story reporting tool, not just a presentation tool.
Panelists say many graphic formats available online that can be enhanced/updated by merging additional information. Some examples: Many Eyes, Google fusion tables, Public Data, Batch geo. Intermediate sites include: Google Viz, tableau public.
One graphic or visualization tool Stiles created recently was a map that showed where poor people lived in London. He then merged this graphic with a graphic that showed where all the recent riots took place in London. The resulting graphic showed that many of the riots took place in London’s poorer districts.
Isn’t there a Chinese proverb about one picture tells a thousand stories?
This is precisely why I wanted to attend the AAJA convention: to get exposed to ideas I would never have considered before - like a 10-month fellowship that could help me recharge my batteries and create a new vision pf myself as a journalist.
Phuong Ly, a freelancer, won a fellowship to Stanford which led her to found a non-profit that is getting the attention of major foundations. She says her year of study changed her. Callie Crossley, a Nieman Fellow from Harvard, says she went from being a local TV reporter to an Oscar-nominated documentary maker only because the fellowship opened her eyes to possibilties of what she could create. James Thomas of Detroit Free Press even created an IPad app during his fellowship.
All three of the journalism fellows stressed writing with self-knowing, honesty and passion when it came to the application process. Start early. Get recommendation letters from someone who knows you well and will be your champion. And proof-read and copy edit over and over again.
These yearlong fellowships come with a living-wage stipend, health benefits and study at top universities. Open to all working journalists - freelancers are encouraged to apply -and seem like a great opportunity to advance your passions while contributing to the advancement of the field.
— Susan Oh
Hi folks. Here’s a reminder that your Tumblr posts don’t post immediately. Once you press ‘submit,’ your content is received in our inbox. We’ll post it as soon as we get the chance. Thanks for your patience!
— Theodore Kim | @TheoTypes
Speedwriting for multiple platforms seems contingent on preparation, organizing your time and using the applications that save time and effort.
Sharon Chan’s (Seattle Times) use of analytics to determine when to blog to garner the most eyeballs, she said, also helped organize her day better, while apps like Timely made it easier to schedule tweets so she wasn’t burning out her entire day on Twitter - this is stuff that took her two years to figure out so she could balance enterprise reporting with her multimedia coverage.
And Maggie Leung (CNN Wire) with witty bluntness broke down the process of how to come up with a lengthy piece within minutes: to prewrite as much as possible while waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I loved how Thomas Flauding (The Plain Dealer) reminded us that Twitter is ultimately the most successful in engaging people as part of a conversation. He said journos that fielded live questions from readers about stories they were covering — from the mundane, such as what the accused was wearing at trial, to the personal — saw a spike in traffic.
— Susan Oh
Translations, time stamps, trending searches, oh, my. The Google for Journalists session provided a mother load of new web tools to help with reporting.
The broad range and depth of the translation service was impressive. Who knew the computer engine could help translate documents in so many languages and also initiate interactive chats with people speaking two different languages?
Sean Carlson, a manager for news industry relations, walked the audience through other innovative web tools, including:
YouTube.com/citizentube - a compliation of on-the ground videos
YouTube.com/trends - the “water cooler of the web”
Google.com/publicdata - compilations of trends and data. Google has partnered with several organizations to provide information from mutiple sources, such as the World Bank, retail sales and infectious diseases.
Google.com/trends - shows a list of top topics rising up in search trends. Carlson said that checking out trend searches can yield interesting stories, such as when the Illinois bar examination website broke down - leading to several stories about young lawyers. He noted that trending is not the same as top searchs, though, and sometimes things can repeat later on and be a jumping point for follow-up stories. One example he mentioned was from North Carolina, when an initiative to eliminate a clothing sales tax was a top trend on Monday and again on Friday, when the deal was first announced and later on when people actually get ready to shop on the weekends.
The most simple and nifty trick I learned, however, is a simple formula to create a “time stamp” that cuts directly to a specific section on a YouTube.com video.
Simply type this at the end of the URL
m = minutes
s = seconds
I look forward to fiddling around and learning with these new tools.
— Michelle Lee
At a session geared towards social media newbies, panelists Owen Lei of King-TV, Jewel Gopwani of the Detroit Free Press and Allison Looney of Gannett set a reassuring and encouraging tone.
“You have to educate yourself and take baby steps,” Looney said. “You’ll be going to the next level and then the next one after that. Before you know it, you’ll be educating other people.”
Gopwani advised that when using Twitter, you should limit yourself to 120 characters, even though tweets can be up to 140 characters. “I want to give people the space to retweet,” Gopwani said. “This way they can retweet it and nothing gets left off.”
A wide variety of people, of different ages, races and socioeconomic backgrounds, use Twitter, the panelists said. “Twitter can be a great way to diversify your sources,” Gopwani said.
Lei recommended using search.twitter.com, and then clicking on “advanced search.” He frequently uses this tool to see what people in a certain location are discussing. When the Kinect first came out, Lei utilized Twitter to find a local family who had purchased the gaming system. He interviewed and filmed them for that night’s newscast.
“Use Twitter because it can augment your existing newscast,” Lei said. He also encouraged reporters to thank viewers or readers via Twitter, and to make a habit of sending out a tweet each morning.
— Michele Chan Santos, AAJA Texas
Thursday workshop One of the main things that stuck in my head from this workshop came from Torey Malatia, president and CEO of Chicago Public Media. He said: “What is the key thing that makes you stand out? Whatever it is, it cannot fail.” I thought that was such good advice, because as a journalist, our entire career depends on how credible we are. But ultimately, the workshop was about the future of journalism and how to make it a sustainable business model. The more targeted we can make the content, the more likely the client would pay for the content. “Make the product more relevant to the people it’s going to attract,” Janet Mason, president and general manager of WZZM 13, said. Another great quote came from Marcus Brauchli, executive editor of the Washington Post. He said: “We need to change the way we think about the audience and the way it consumes news.” Pay walls only work for news organizations that have unique content. I also have live random tweets from workshops. Find me on twitter at @lindawrites1
— Linda Park, San Francisco Chapter
Yesterday, I attended the Multiplatform Reporting session with Victoria Lim.
These days like she said, you would be considered a “one-trick pony” if the words “Facebook” or “Twitter” aren’t in your commonplace vocabulary.
What I wanted to know was how do you balance the legacy media, basically what you are contract-wise paid to do, and the new media—where you hope made head way so you can get to where you want to go.
The answer lies in one line of a Bonnie Raitt song, “…let’s give ‘em something to talk about.”
Lim used most of her presentation to show us how she made one story into… well three or four.
“Be your own team coverage,” and “Make you the go-to person”
I liked that. Be your own team coverage.
Now at the smaller market, that means get creative but Facebook and Twitter aren’t foreign sources of material. They are in fact NEW media and the answer was obvious, don’t use legacy media tactics in new media.
The first thing she said was something along the lines of we need not copy and paste anymore.
We have the tools so why not use them?
Really now, Raitt’s song didn’t become a popular Julia Roberts movie for nothing so… really now multiplatform reporting should “…give ‘em something to talk about.”
Now I am off to have my tape ripped apart… catch you in a few.
— Cate Cauguiran
As a video journalist I had the rare opportunity to walk in the shoes of a radio reporter. It happened here at Detroit’s WDET-FM. That’s where NPRs pros held an audio storytelling workshop. My five journalism colleagues and I got great tips, played with gear and then went out the door with an assignment in hand. After a 7-hour day, we each had a nearly complete radio story ready to hit the airwaves.
The experience changed me. I am knee deep in love with radio and itching to do it again and again and again. Here’s why:
- Ambiance: Capture the natural sounds of a story. It takes listeners to familiar and unfamiliar places:
The sound of a waterfall, the beat of a drum, the hubbub in a café, the chant of angry protestors.
- Compelling characters: Identify interesting people who convey passion, emotion, light up a room and strike a chord deep inside you:
There’s very little food to go around in drought-striken Somalia. So a feeble mother tells you she must decide the fate of her children. Who will live or die?
- Narration: Just add color. Work your magic as a writer. Use details to paint a picture. Describe smells, tastes, sights, feelings:
The raisin-speckled cookie with a golden hue is baking to perfection.
- Brevity: Be short, to the point and dedicate each thought to one sentence. People generally lose interest quickly with long-winded writing. After all in this multitasking world you are fighting for a piece of their attention:
The recession continues to pack a powerful punch in many parts of the world.
- Tools: Use a good quality audio recorder that captures clean, crisp sound. Many journalists are on a tight budget. So for now use what you have. But if you heart is set on pursuing radio reporting as a profession, you owe it to yourself and your listeners to invest in the best tool. Don’t compromise on quality. You’ll hear it.
Finally, I am not done. I am just getting started. More golden nuggets of radio reporting are bopping around in my brain at past 2 a.m. this morning. But its time to power down and hit the sack.
I’ll share more radio reporting tips in a future blog in the days ahead.
— Furhana Afrid
I started Thursday at the ”The Future of Journalism: Going Mobile’’ sponsored by Yahoo. I learned about apps vs. websites vs. mobile; flipboard; tagwhat; layr.com. But most of all I learned that I am way behind when it comes to knowledge on the newest technology.
I now have the encyclopedia-size “The Yahoo! Style Guide” and lots of research to do when I get home to TRY and bring myself up to speed. At one point one of the presenters asked “How many of you have Iphones or SmartPhones?’’ Half the people in the audience raised their hands. “How many of you are glazed over and a bit lost?” I raised my hand when he asked the latter. I wasn’t the only person, thank goodness. There were about five of us in an audience of about 20.
My second seminar was “Watchdog Journalism: As Media Evolves, How Can We Protect Journalism’s Core Values?” I listened to a great presentation on Watchdog Journalism. I learned that newspapers had to make sure they had “feet on the street’’ to get the stories. And, that those stories drive web traffic, sell papers, create buzz and reinforce value to the readers.
But I am still left wondering : How can core values be protected and advanced? How does watchdog journalism survive in the new era, and what are the ethical challenges ahead?
After a good lunch in Greektown , at the Pegasus, I attended “Multi-Platform II: Turn Good Reporting Into Great Multi-Platform Stories.” We were shown several ways that stories were presented to subscribers, including Internet and Video Broadcasting.
The presentation was lively and animated and the presenter (shout out to Victoria Lim!) even did a mock press conference and we discussed ways to take that story to different platforms.
Why learn and do different platforms? Job security, of course. Possibility of a promotion, maybe. Most of all, it makes us more marketable as a journalist. Points well taken Victoria!
The most interesting workshop of the day, for me, was “What’s Next for Journalists After the Newsroom?” There were handouts with detailed information on each panelist. There was a list of “How to Make a Living as a Freelance Journalist.’’ (Yes, you may have to take a second job as a receptionist or a bartender to help pay the bills.)
There also was a handout of possible “Alternative Careers for Journalists.’’ The well-attended (I counted 42 people at one point) and well-organized seminar reinforced for me that it is not just what you know, but who you know. (One panelist’s connections definitely helped her get in the door.)
Most importantly, you definitely will have to be brave and take chances and be ready to adapt to a different lifestyle (not necessarily a bad thing!).
After a long day of seminars, and dinner with old friends from Detroit, I headed to the casino to have a little fun only to discover that the festivities had just shut down! BUMMER!
— Carol Reynolds-Srot
As someone who has considered moving to a small market to report TV news, I think the tips below — shared at the Aug. 11 Surviving Small Markets panel – are helpful for TV reporters looking to secure their first or second gig.
SPEAKERS: Priscilla Luong, Morning Reporter, FOX-25, Jam Sardar, TV News Director WLNS; and Maria Hechanova, Morning Reporter, WLNS-TV
• “If it says ‘no phone calls,’ don’t call.”
• If you’re going to call, call in the morning.”
• “Make your stand-ups creative.” Use motion, multi-parting and framing.
TRYING TO GET TO THE NEXT LEVEL
• “Finding the second job is a job in itself”
• “I8 months is when you need to start going through your air-checks”
• “Don’t be in such a rush to get out of your first market.”
• “Wait until the latter part of your contract to start your revised tape.”
• “If you stay in a place for one year, you can jump 40 markets. If you stay for two years, you can jump 80-100 markets.”
• “Pick the job that’s right for you. It’s not the market size.”
• “Don’t be afraid to go for 160’s, 170’s, 180’s [market]”
• “I wouldn’t get too caught up in the market size. If there are going to be good stories and opportunities, it’s a good job.”
• “Don’t be afraid to be in your first market for more than two years. That’s when people know you and trust you and with your stories.”
— Vinita Singla