NOTE: This issue of 10 looks back at Quill’s May 2006 interview with Kai Ryssdal, host of the popular “Marketplace” from American Public Media. Ryssdal was a featured keynote speaker at the Excellence in Journalism Conference, Aug. 24-26 in Anaheim, Calif.
As the push to market SPJ’s new Freelancer Directory continues, we are learning more about how to make it better in terms of functionality and visibility. Editors to whom we market (about 46,000 in late June alone) have taken the time to let us know when the search works for them, what functions would ease its use, and their frustrations when they can’t find what they are seeking.
John Allen, Vatican correspondent National Catholic Reporter and CNN Q: What’s it like living abroad and writing for an American news outlet? A: The mainstream American press generally doesn’t take religion, let alone the Vatican, terribly seriously as a news beat, so it can sometimes be difficult to get the attention of American editors and producers for stories you may think are important.
In early March, I had my first taste of using audio in the hopes of creating a podcast. I was using SPJ’s iPod Video with digital voice recording, and hopefully the results will be posted to SPJ.org soon, assuming the quality is good enough.
Ten went on the road this month to Anniston, Ala., where former New York Times national correspondent, Pulitzer Prize-winning feature writer and bestselling author Rick Bragg shared his advice about storytelling to a group of reporters from newspapers across the southeast.
Jim Amoss and his staff of the New Orleans Times-Picayune faced one of the greatest hardships in the history of journalism after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city in 2005. But along the way, they also discovered the important role of their paper in a community that struggles to rebuild.
Chris Nolan of Spot-On.com has worked in her share of newsrooms on both coasts. While many in the news business are left scratching their heads and wringing their hands over loss of readers and revenue, this self-described “stand-alone journalist” is excited about the future of news.
Q: What’s the Pulitzer experience like? It was great. Here in the newsroom, there were so many wonderful people who were supportive of what I’d done. I was flooded with mail from four-star generals and little old ladies thanking me for what I’d done.
The phrase “work smarter, not harder” is a cliché. But never is it more true than in the world of freelance writing. With a limited number of hours in a week, the need to be self-motivated and the financial necessity to reach as many high-paying markets as possible, freelance writers have to make the most of their time, their productivity and their marketing.
Lester Holt has reported from the world’s hot spots, covering war, politics and even the Olympics. As co-anchor of NBC Today, he uses all his anchor muscles to switch from the day’s breaking news to the best way to roast a chicken.
Recently I was invited to speak at an annual creative-writing workshop on the business of freelancing, something I’ve done many times before. Only this audience was a bit different in that it consisted largely of novelists, short-story writers and poets. They were eager to learn how they could use their talent for writing and get paid.
Q: How did you get into journalism? I studied communication, English and mathematics at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. I would’ve been a math major, but I was working hard to get As and Bs, and math majors didn’t have to work hard for those grades.
A fair amount of successful freelance writing involves good salesmanship. While that may be anathema to the newsroom journalist, it’s not as far-fetched as you may think. “Sales” in this case involves selling both your ideas and your ability to execute those ideas in the written and reported form.
Q: How did you get into journalism? What inspired you to enter the profession? (I’ve) just always written for fun, ever since I was a little girl. Growing up in the Middle East, I did not feel lot of press freedom.
Q: What’s the origin of your name? It seems unusual for a broadcast name? Did anyone ever suggest you change it? A: It’s Norwegian. My dad was born there, and no one suggested I change it probably because I was in my mid-30s before I began broadcasting.
One year ago this month, Vatican analyst John Allen Jr. was a staple on CNN, covering the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI. He combines intelligence and skepticism and a bit of faith while covering one of the least understood institutions in the world.