Generation J Toolbox
Let’s look at social media as just one cylinder in a four-cylinder car engine. Along with other cylinders — creditable sources, fluid time management and great journalism — the vehicle will run smoothly, get great mileage and sustain your journalism career.
News gathering, working sources, getting strangers to open up on camera. Reporters, especially multimedia journalists like myself, have a tall order every day. If you’re anything like me as a one-woman band in TV, not only are you shooting and editing, you need to get information, process it and make it worthwhile to watch.
In a perfect world, your sources will tell you the information you need clearly and truthfully, but in the imperfect world we live in, you might not even get your sources to speak at all. If the clock is ticking, if your word count is nowhere near where you need it to be, and if your source seems to have disappeared out of the blue, here are the steps you can take to solve your dilemma.
Broadcast news, particularly in local television, is going through major changes with technological advances. That’s nothing new. Unfortunately, along with those changes, early career journalists trying or thinking of entering the field are changing too, and sometimes not for the better.
In many stories you do, there will be the one interview known as “the get.” For instance, when news broke about a gunman on the Florida State University campus in December, everyone wanted to hear from the gunman’s family. I got it.
Live reporting in the field should be defined by Murphy’s Law: What can go wrong will go wrong. I cannot count how many times I have been on an active scene and right before a live hit, everything I was going to reference in a walk-and-talk quickly goes away.
Public records and the information and data that come from them can be invaluable to your stories and can take your reporting to the next level. This is true for all journalists, but particularly important for young and early-career reporters trying to make their work stand out.
Journalists are among those professionals expected to know how to write a sentence. Whether in print, online or in a broadcast script, we reporters and editors need to know how to draft sharp, precise copy at a moment’s notice for public consumption.
When I was 24, I landed my first reporter position at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. I was one of the youngest reporters on staff, and I looked even younger. I remember thinking, “Man, I really need to stay on top of my game to prove myself!”
Sheriff: “We have at least two shots fired in the theater.” (five minutes later) Sheriff: “Only one shot was fired and it went through the wife’s hand into her husband’s chest.” (Producer calls) Producer: “We have aerial footage from the chopper in house.
#DIGITALDETOX. This may be the most ironic hashtag ever used, but I found out a lot when I went on a self-imposed digital detox over the Christmas-New Year stretch. I learned about the things I wanted to share, how people interact with media and what news I missed while I stepped out of the digital space.
Video on the Internet has come a long way in the last decade. What was once an hour wait for Real Player to stream five minutes of clumsily shot footage is now instant access to Emmy-winning episodic dramas. David Fincher took home the Emmy for best director for his work on Netflix’s original series “House of Cards.”
Sometimes hearing or just seeing “FOIA” can put you in a tizzy. Yes, the Freedom of Information Act and similar state laws can be hard to work through. And yes, it is a law, which can be intimidating on its own.
Going into work comes with the nail-biting issue of pitching stories. Even though I have been working professionally for six years, the pressure to produce is still there. I try to come in with three hard news stories each day. There are news cycles where my sources have nothing, and I walk in the door empty-handed.
OK. I’m stumped. It’s true. I’m racking my brain to come up with a good lead to this article about writing good leads (or ledes, the official spelling in newspaper speak so it’s not confused with “lead” type). We’ve all been there — or here where I am presently — trying to craft, conjure and contrive a winning hook for a print or broadcast story that will engage the audience and make them hunger for more.
With all of the Facebook posting and Twitter updating (not to mention getting your stories to air or publish and, oh yeah, eating and trying to have a social life), who has time to think about the future? Believe me, I get it.
As I chatted with numerous college students and provided résumé critiques at the Excellence in Journalism 2012 conference, I was shocked by how many were majoring in print journalism. In fact, I’m pretty sure I laughed at the first “print journalism” major I met.
Sometimes it’s obvious why you and a co-worker don’t get along. But what do you do when you and a co-worker have a chilly relationship, and you don’t know why? It’s not always clear what started it. Here are some things to consider if you want to improve a relationship with a difficult co-worker.
Ever been teased for how much you are on your phone? What about for how many apps you download? Most of you probably have, especially if you are one of the younger ones in the newsroom. Our ability to use and adapt to new technology is one of the reasons most “green” journalists are invaluable to a newsroom.
April 2012 marked the end of a daunting job search that lasted more than six months. Goal: Land in a Top 20 Market or stay at my current station and wait for my contract to expire. The challenge was laid out, and it was the longest fight — albeit psychological — in my life.
If you’re a reporter, interviewing a celebrity should be like interviewing an average Joe, right? Well, almost. Although you use the same J-school interviewing techniques, chatting with a famous person — even reality show personalities or D-listers — means dealing with a publicist, time or topic limitations, and possibly your own nerves.
If you’re at all interested in journalism in today’s world, you need a brand. A brand can be many things — it can be your name, or a pen name, or one of your interests. It becomes your Web calling card, and that is something you want to be consistent, strong and presentable.
Embarking on the “broadcast television tour” can evoke excitement and panic. I have always compared it to a game of hopscotch: You can land in any state or country when you make jumps in your career. For this column I’ll assume you’ve landed that first reporting job.
Make beat calls. Pitch three solid stories. Call and set up interviews. Wait for people to call you back to confirm interviews. Drive yourself to interviews. Pick up, carry and set up your own equipment. Take still photographs that represent your story on the Web.
Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about happiness and making major life changes. Perhaps it’s because that’s the kind of thing I’ve been doing lately, so I want to read about other people doing it. Maybe it’s crazy, maybe it’s too abstract to be constructive, but at the same time, most of the books have been written by people at least 10 years older than me.
Lately I’ve been a walking commercial for LinkedIn — because if it weren’t for the professional social networking site, I might never have landed my current magazine job. When I moved to New York City from Rhode Island in December for my husband’s job, I applied to dozens of positions but, alas, received no bites.
It’s no secret that when a newsroom faces an ethical dilemma, the established veteran news manager who has seen it all gets the final say. An ethical guideline never originates from the new hire, or the straight-out-of-school cub reporter. Young, amateur journalists today are increasingly part of the millennial generation —those born after 1979.
It’s the end of yet another year, and as the holiday season begins to consume our lives and singers of the past attempt to entertain (or haunt) us with holiday music downloads, “best of” and “worst of” lists are taking over the radio, television and Internet.
Saying the journalism job market is tough is like saying the Deepwater Horizon oil spill made a little mess: It’s an awesomely gross understatement. It’s hard out there. A small daily paper here in Alabama recently posted an entry-level reporting job on JournalismJobs.com.
With the U.S. economy still in a vulnerable position, more and more journalists are looking for extra work to supplement their incomes. And with so many non-journalists also looking for extra work, it’s easier for those in journalism to find work on the side as a freelancer.
Like most young journalists, I remember Facebook’s infancy. Back then, it was a way to maintain friendships and tag goofy photos of friends. Now, co-workers, superiors and grandparents send me friend requests. Suddenly, that image of me shot-gunning a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon isn’t so funny.
All eyes were on Detroit in the spring when its two hometown papers, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, unveiled a radical plan for saving the newsroom and serving readers. Both papers cut home delivery to the three most popular days of the week —Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays — with single copies available at newsstands every day.