Evelyn Tipacti's blog listings. Feed Zend_Feed_Writer 1.10.8 (http://framework.zend.com) http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti Skills Journalism Students Need to Learn On Tuesday, Feb. 9, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "Skills Journalism Students Need to Learn," with our guest Kelley Callaway, president of the College Media Association and director of student publications at Rice University.

Kelley discussed the importance of knowing social media, what media outlets are looking for in job candidates, professional newsrooms compared to student media and a lot of other topics student journalists need to learn.

In this recap we've also included tweets from #ConnectChat participants who gave helpful information.

Please follow @ProfNet and @ProfNetMedia on Twitter for more information on future chats or check back right here on ProfNet Connect for details.


What are the biggest misconceptions students have about working in a professional newsroom?

The amount of work involved. Working on multiple projects at a time. Importance of actually meeting deadlines.

Do many think the real world is like a college newsroom?

I hope they don't! I think most college journalists expect the professional world to be harder than college.

@comminternships: Journalism is definitely a complex skills set that requires hands-on practice to master. You can’t learn it from a book.

Besides professional skills, what about actual interviewing skills for when they’re looking for a job?

Students need to learn how to talk positively about themselves when they are being interviewed. They also need to do a lot of research about the company they are hoping to work for. They also need to be able to articulate their vision and how they think they can achieve that vision while contributing.

@chuckmoran7: For journalism students, I recommend finding a good mentor too. Find someone who can help guide you as you enter a newsroom.

@dailysuitcase: Key for interviews--ask questions. Even though employer is interviewing you, don't make it all about you. Be engaged and ask away.

What’s the reality with regards to workload in a professional newsroom?

There’s definitely more work in the professional world, but you don’t have class anymore! So learn to multitask in college.

@comminternships: Newsrooms across the board are evolving at a rapid rate. Your skills set must be more diverse than ever to stand out.

Are all students expected to be well-versed in social media?

Oh, heck, yeah! Not only should they be well-versed, they should be able to predict the next big thing. Employers look to students and recent grads for technical know-how, social media savvy. Employers want young people to have fresh ideas and out-of-the-box thinking so students have to develop these skills.

Should students have social media accounts and is basic knowledge enough these days?

Yes, but they need to manage them well. Avoid politics, etc. Realize they brand themselves through social media. They need to manage multiple accounts. Not just the most popular. Learn how to tell stories through Snapchat, brand their pub through Instagram. Go beyond the obvious. Yes! The more they know, the more marketable they are!

@comminternships: Social media skills are vital. Not just current platforms, but students need to be able to identify the next big thing. Students should understand SEO, tagging, Ad Words, analytics, pretty much all web metrics.

@chuckmoran7: Twitter for example is a good tool to follow sources and engage readers.

Some of our guests have mentioned writing and grammar skills. If these skills aren't as strong as they should be can they still get a job in a newsroom?

@comminternships: Skills numbers one and two: Excellent written and oral communications skills, which means impeccable grammar skills.

@chuckmoran7: Important skills -- highly recommend listening skills and research skills for those just getting started.

They can in college, but it's going to be much harder in the professional world. As professional newsrooms shrink and pros are asked to do more with less, new professionals need to be prepared from day one.

What other things should students be proficient in as they start looking for their first job? What do future employers want to see?

Employers want to see applicants that have stepped outside their comfort zones. They need to do a little bit of everything. Writers need to shoot video. Broadcasters need to write. Need to understand the business side. Need to understand marketing.

@comminternships: Employers want tech skills, yes, but you must still be able to tell a compelling story. That's a top skill many students lack.

@chuckmoran7: Outside of skills they need to be open to moving to get that first job & probably not be paid as much as they'd like.

@dailysuitcase: They should also know how to do original reporting...and not just tracking things down on the Internet.

We know from reports like Poynter’s “Core Skills for the Future of Journalism" that there’s a gap between what media professionals and college professors think are the most important journalism skills for students to learn. I’m interested in hearing from folks about how they respond to students who reject feedback from either party (pros or faculty), claiming one or the other is “right," and who we might try to reconcile the differences.

We need to expose students to different viewpoints. Both sides are right. There is great value in learning the basics and traditions of good journalism. And students need to be aware of what employers are looking for. But they also need to love media for media’s sake. Not just a grade or a paycheck.

Can you tell us about the College Media Convention in New York? When is it? 

It's a great place to learn or hone all the skills we've been talking about. It's March 12-15, and it's fabulous. 200 sessions. One Day Innovation Challenge. Film Festival. On-site contests and critiques.

Who should attend?

Everyone! Especially the future leaders of student media outlets. It’s a great place to get energized for the next school year.

How can you register for the conference?

You can register for the spring convention in New York at ow.ly/Y8CYZ

CMA is all about serving advisers and their students. We also offer summer training.

acpcmasummer16.org/ 

Do internships really offer the best view of reality or is there another way journalism students can see what the real world is like?

If a student wants to pursue media professionally, they really need to work for collegiate media. They need to learn more than what is taught in a classroom. Journalism is about doing it. Internships are an excellent step in exposure, but it all depends on the media and the people overseeing the internship. Internships allow students to make contacts and get a taste of professional experience. Student media gives them ownership and a chance to try new things (and fail in a relatively safe environment).

@chuckmoran7: Internships, yes where available. Part-time and stringer work also helps build experience. Students need to think mobile in learning how to be a journalist.

With video being a huge part of all outlets, should students learn how to edit video and know about editing programs?

Absolutely! Students need to at least be able to shoot and edit a simple video. The more skills they acquire, the better. Verify sources. Question everything. Try to talk to folks in person.

What about digital newsgathering?

Students need to learn how to gather news in every fashion possible. And the same care needs to go into that.

Is knowledge of the political system and of the various agencies (local, state, etc.) necessary?

They need to do learn those same things in the professional world. Attend meetings. Read the laws. Talk to the lawmakers.

Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

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Thu, 11 Feb 2016 14:29:24 -0600 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2016/02/11/skills_journalism_students_need_to_learn_ http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2016/02/11/skills_journalism_students_need_to_learn_ On Tuesday, Feb. 9, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "Skills Journalism Students Need to Learn," with our guest Kelley Callaway, president of the College Media Association and director of student publications at Rice University.

Kelley discussed the importance of knowing social media, what media outlets are looking for in job candidates, professional newsrooms compared to student media and a lot of other topics student journalists need to learn.

In this recap we've also included tweets from #ConnectChat participants who gave helpful information.

Please follow @ProfNet and @ProfNetMedia on Twitter for more information on future chats or check back right here on ProfNet Connect for details.


What are the biggest misconceptions students have about working in a professional newsroom?

The amount of work involved. Working on multiple projects at a time. Importance of actually meeting deadlines.

Do many think the real world is like a college newsroom?

I hope they don't! I think most college journalists expect the professional world to be harder than college.

@comminternships: Journalism is definitely a complex skills set that requires hands-on practice to master. You can’t learn it from a book.

Besides professional skills, what about actual interviewing skills for when they’re looking for a job?

Students need to learn how to talk positively about themselves when they are being interviewed. They also need to do a lot of research about the company they are hoping to work for. They also need to be able to articulate their vision and how they think they can achieve that vision while contributing.

@chuckmoran7: For journalism students, I recommend finding a good mentor too. Find someone who can help guide you as you enter a newsroom.

@dailysuitcase: Key for interviews--ask questions. Even though employer is interviewing you, don't make it all about you. Be engaged and ask away.

What’s the reality with regards to workload in a professional newsroom?

There’s definitely more work in the professional world, but you don’t have class anymore! So learn to multitask in college.

@comminternships: Newsrooms across the board are evolving at a rapid rate. Your skills set must be more diverse than ever to stand out.

Are all students expected to be well-versed in social media?

Oh, heck, yeah! Not only should they be well-versed, they should be able to predict the next big thing. Employers look to students and recent grads for technical know-how, social media savvy. Employers want young people to have fresh ideas and out-of-the-box thinking so students have to develop these skills.

Should students have social media accounts and is basic knowledge enough these days?

Yes, but they need to manage them well. Avoid politics, etc. Realize they brand themselves through social media. They need to manage multiple accounts. Not just the most popular. Learn how to tell stories through Snapchat, brand their pub through Instagram. Go beyond the obvious. Yes! The more they know, the more marketable they are!

@comminternships: Social media skills are vital. Not just current platforms, but students need to be able to identify the next big thing. Students should understand SEO, tagging, Ad Words, analytics, pretty much all web metrics.

@chuckmoran7: Twitter for example is a good tool to follow sources and engage readers.

Some of our guests have mentioned writing and grammar skills. If these skills aren't as strong as they should be can they still get a job in a newsroom?

@comminternships: Skills numbers one and two: Excellent written and oral communications skills, which means impeccable grammar skills.

@chuckmoran7: Important skills -- highly recommend listening skills and research skills for those just getting started.

They can in college, but it's going to be much harder in the professional world. As professional newsrooms shrink and pros are asked to do more with less, new professionals need to be prepared from day one.

What other things should students be proficient in as they start looking for their first job? What do future employers want to see?

Employers want to see applicants that have stepped outside their comfort zones. They need to do a little bit of everything. Writers need to shoot video. Broadcasters need to write. Need to understand the business side. Need to understand marketing.

@comminternships: Employers want tech skills, yes, but you must still be able to tell a compelling story. That's a top skill many students lack.

@chuckmoran7: Outside of skills they need to be open to moving to get that first job & probably not be paid as much as they'd like.

@dailysuitcase: They should also know how to do original reporting...and not just tracking things down on the Internet.

We know from reports like Poynter’s “Core Skills for the Future of Journalism" that there’s a gap between what media professionals and college professors think are the most important journalism skills for students to learn. I’m interested in hearing from folks about how they respond to students who reject feedback from either party (pros or faculty), claiming one or the other is “right," and who we might try to reconcile the differences.

We need to expose students to different viewpoints. Both sides are right. There is great value in learning the basics and traditions of good journalism. And students need to be aware of what employers are looking for. But they also need to love media for media’s sake. Not just a grade or a paycheck.

Can you tell us about the College Media Convention in New York? When is it? 

It's a great place to learn or hone all the skills we've been talking about. It's March 12-15, and it's fabulous. 200 sessions. One Day Innovation Challenge. Film Festival. On-site contests and critiques.

Who should attend?

Everyone! Especially the future leaders of student media outlets. It’s a great place to get energized for the next school year.

How can you register for the conference?

You can register for the spring convention in New York at ow.ly/Y8CYZ

CMA is all about serving advisers and their students. We also offer summer training.

acpcmasummer16.org/ 

Do internships really offer the best view of reality or is there another way journalism students can see what the real world is like?

If a student wants to pursue media professionally, they really need to work for collegiate media. They need to learn more than what is taught in a classroom. Journalism is about doing it. Internships are an excellent step in exposure, but it all depends on the media and the people overseeing the internship. Internships allow students to make contacts and get a taste of professional experience. Student media gives them ownership and a chance to try new things (and fail in a relatively safe environment).

@chuckmoran7: Internships, yes where available. Part-time and stringer work also helps build experience. Students need to think mobile in learning how to be a journalist.

With video being a huge part of all outlets, should students learn how to edit video and know about editing programs?

Absolutely! Students need to at least be able to shoot and edit a simple video. The more skills they acquire, the better. Verify sources. Question everything. Try to talk to folks in person.

What about digital newsgathering?

Students need to learn how to gather news in every fashion possible. And the same care needs to go into that.

Is knowledge of the political system and of the various agencies (local, state, etc.) necessary?

They need to do learn those same things in the professional world. Attend meetings. Read the laws. Talk to the lawmakers.

Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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Upcoming #ConnectChat: Skills Journalism Students Need to Learn Our next #ConnectChat, "Skills Journalism Students Need to Learn,” will feature Kelley Callaway, president of the College Media Association. Kelley's been involved in the organization since her graduate school days and used to attend conventions as an undergraduate. She is director of student publications at Rice University in Houston, where she advises The Rice Thresher newspaper and The Campanile yearbook. 

Kelley will discuss what journalism students can expect once they start working in professional newsrooms, what they need to learn before they get there, the differences between working in college media and other news organizations and much more.

The chat will take place Tuesday, Feb. 9 from 3 to 4 p.m. EST.


To submit questions for Kelley in advance, please email profnetconnect@prnewswire.com or tweet your question to @ProfNet or @ProfNetMedia. We'll try to get to as many questions as we can.

Of course, you can also ask your question live during the chat. To help you keep track of the conversation, we’ll use the #connectchat hashtag. Please use that hashtag if you are tweeting a question or participating in the chat.

If you can't make it to the chat, don't worry -- a transcript will be provided on ProfNet Connect the next day.

Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

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Thu, 04 Feb 2016 14:33:04 -0600 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2016/02/04/upcoming_connectchat:_skills_journalism_students_need_to_learn_ http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2016/02/04/upcoming_connectchat:_skills_journalism_students_need_to_learn_ Our next #ConnectChat, "Skills Journalism Students Need to Learn,” will feature Kelley Callaway, president of the College Media Association. Kelley's been involved in the organization since her graduate school days and used to attend conventions as an undergraduate. She is director of student publications at Rice University in Houston, where she advises The Rice Thresher newspaper and The Campanile yearbook. 

Kelley will discuss what journalism students can expect once they start working in professional newsrooms, what they need to learn before they get there, the differences between working in college media and other news organizations and much more.

The chat will take place Tuesday, Feb. 9 from 3 to 4 p.m. EST.


To submit questions for Kelley in advance, please email profnetconnect@prnewswire.com or tweet your question to @ProfNet or @ProfNetMedia. We'll try to get to as many questions as we can.

Of course, you can also ask your question live during the chat. To help you keep track of the conversation, we’ll use the #connectchat hashtag. Please use that hashtag if you are tweeting a question or participating in the chat.

If you can't make it to the chat, don't worry -- a transcript will be provided on ProfNet Connect the next day.

Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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Media 411: The Dreaded Correction

No other word strikes fear in the heart of journalists like the word “CORRECTION.” Ooh, I just got the chills! We all do our best to get the facts straight, but sometimes we make mistakes. We’re human, right? But how can we avoid making errors and avoid that dreadful fix with which no one wants to be associated?

Read on and click on these stories which will provide some insight on this important topic for any journalist:

Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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Fri, 29 Jan 2016 16:54:35 -0600 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2016/01/29/media_411:_the_dreaded_correction http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2016/01/29/media_411:_the_dreaded_correction

No other word strikes fear in the heart of journalists like the word “CORRECTION.” Ooh, I just got the chills! We all do our best to get the facts straight, but sometimes we make mistakes. We’re human, right? But how can we avoid making errors and avoid that dreadful fix with which no one wants to be associated?

Read on and click on these stories which will provide some insight on this important topic for any journalist:

Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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0
Journalist Spotlight: Alex Kasprak, BuzzFeed Welcome to our SPOTLIGHT feature, where we highlight a journalist and ProfNet user to share their personal story and insight with you.

Alex Kasprak is a science writer with experience as both a scientist and as a science communicator. Before turning to writing, he studied fossilized chemicals in ancient rocks in an effort to shed light on dramatic periods of environmental change during mass extinction events.

As a writer, Kasprak has focused on science communication and outreach over traditional journalism. He has written features for NASA’s Visualization Explorer and worked for two years at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as the primary writer and content producer behind three of NASA’s websites geared toward elementary and middle school-aged kids.

Now at BuzzFeed, Kasprak has written hundreds of science stories on topics that range from the realities of human courtship, near-death astronaut experiences in space, flatulence, dinosaurs, booze, marijuana and, obviously, animals. He firmly believes that Pluto should not be a planet.

We hope you find Alex's SPOTLIGHT enjoyable and informative. 

Did you always know you wanted to be a journalist or did you have another plan?

Being a journalist wasn’t really on my radar when I was going through high school and college. Pretty early on as an undergrad at Skidmore College, I decided that I really liked geology and that I would love it if I could teach it someday at a small college like Skidmore. I finished all the coursework and internships needed to get into grad school and was ultimately accepted into a PhD program in geology at Brown University. Academia ended up not being for me, so I took my master's degree and left. In a panic, I looked into other jobs that people with a science background and writing skills could do.  I Googled “science” and “writing” and learned that “science writing” is totally a thing. I applied to one-year science writing program at Johns Hopkins University and was awarded a fellowship to attend. Ever since then I have been writing about science for a living.

Where was your first job in journalism?

My first unpaid gig was an externship with Earth magazine where I pitched and wrote earth science stories while working on my program at JHU. I also got my first paid gig during that program, as a weekly writer for the NASA Visualization Explorer app.

What type of stories do you focus on at BuzzFeed?

I generally cover shorter, lighter science stories or produce sort of “best of” lists of science facts and other science culture stuff for BuzzFeed. I typically don’t cover a single scientific study or breaking science story but focus instead on collections of science stories and facts about a specific topic or theme. Creepy animals, weird phenomena, outlandish ideas about humanity, evolution, consciousness, and stories with a strong visual component are always popular. I don’t have a specific beat per se, but I spend a lot of time writing about space, astronauts, and fossils.

Do you pitch story ideas or are they assigned most of the time?

I pitch almost all of my stories myself. BuzzFeed gives us a great deal of freedom in that regard.

What do you like most about your role at BuzzFeed and is it as fun to work there as it seems? 

I like that BuzzFeed allows me to experiment with bringing more science to their pretty considerable audience. Not only do I get a great deal of freedom on the topics I choose, but also I have the freedom to figure out new and creative ways to convey information or tell a story in a new way. I also have more of an opportunity to inject weird humor into my posts in ways that other outlets might avoid, which is always a hoot.

BuzzFeed is probably is as fun as it looks. Though we don’t have a full-time kitten room for our pitch meetings and we have only a handful dogs in our office at any given time, I am always surrounded by a ton of cool and brilliant people whose interests are all over the place. Everyday is both challenging and fun. Also, one has to imagine that from a probability standpoint, the likelihood of there being a kitten room at BuzzFeed on any given day is probably orders of magnitude higher than most other offices.

What’s your advice for those in PR or anyone else who may want to pitch you?

People pitching stories to me should be familiar with the TYPE of stories that BuzzFeed Science writes — we rarely do single study findings, and most of our stories try to evoke some sort of human emotional response outside of simply “gee wizz, that’s cool.” Also, I will also always reject any pitch that is clearly just an effort to get me to advertise something corporate. That is not my job, and there is a whole other division of BuzzFeed for advertisers anyway.

What should they always do?

A strong pitch to me would involve not only an idea, but also why people on the internet would want to share it with a friend when they are done reading it.

Never do?

Pitch products or corporate campaigns. They should also avoid writing an entire post for me and ask me for my thoughts on it. It’s not a super efficient way of doing things, and BuzzFeed actually has a place for community members to write stories for the site directly.

How can someone in PR/marketing approach you in order to develop some sort of work relationship?

Shoot me an email! Let me know what you have to offer and I can let you know what kinds of pitches are most likely to work on my end.

What advice do you have for members who respond to ProfNet queries?

For me, I can never have too much information about why a given expert is indeed an expert in his or her field. It also helps to see that the expert is good with interviews and, best case scenario, has as good sense of humor as well.

What type of experts do you prefer?

My favorite experts are people who research quirky, specific, and esoteric things but who can also make those weird things appeal to a broader audience. One of my favorite interviews from ProfNet was with a professor of mechanical engineering who had an incredibly detailed knowledge of Star Wars and a very creative way of relating his expertise to that genre. He helped me write a post answering absurd science questions about the Star Wars universe.

How do you use social media and what is the best thing about it?

I use it both to promote my own work as well as keep a pulse on what’s happening in science journalism and with the world in general. The latter is my favorite part about social media.

Can you tell us about one of the most memorable moments you’ve had covering a story?

Without question it was working on a series of stories about retired astronauts. I got to speak with a number of insanely qualified and absurdly brave astronauts and have them tell me all kinds of crazy stuff about almost dying in space, about how gross some aspects of astronaut life were, and different mistakes that can happen, both big and small, while on missions. These were things that they probably couldn’t have said while still employed as astronauts. I could listen to those men and women for hours and not get bored.

What advice do you have for new journalists and even for those who aren’t so new to the field?

I think it’s important to be passionate not just about your own success, but also about some topic that you can really make your own. I got into science writing from science, so I already had a strong interest in fossils and evolution. I think building those specific interests and areas of expertise helps a great deal.

Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
Mon, 25 Jan 2016 14:44:35 -0600 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2016/01/25/journalist_spotlight:_alex_kasprak,_buzzfeed http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2016/01/25/journalist_spotlight:_alex_kasprak,_buzzfeed Welcome to our SPOTLIGHT feature, where we highlight a journalist and ProfNet user to share their personal story and insight with you.

Alex Kasprak is a science writer with experience as both a scientist and as a science communicator. Before turning to writing, he studied fossilized chemicals in ancient rocks in an effort to shed light on dramatic periods of environmental change during mass extinction events.

As a writer, Kasprak has focused on science communication and outreach over traditional journalism. He has written features for NASA’s Visualization Explorer and worked for two years at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as the primary writer and content producer behind three of NASA’s websites geared toward elementary and middle school-aged kids.

Now at BuzzFeed, Kasprak has written hundreds of science stories on topics that range from the realities of human courtship, near-death astronaut experiences in space, flatulence, dinosaurs, booze, marijuana and, obviously, animals. He firmly believes that Pluto should not be a planet.

We hope you find Alex's SPOTLIGHT enjoyable and informative. 

Did you always know you wanted to be a journalist or did you have another plan?

Being a journalist wasn’t really on my radar when I was going through high school and college. Pretty early on as an undergrad at Skidmore College, I decided that I really liked geology and that I would love it if I could teach it someday at a small college like Skidmore. I finished all the coursework and internships needed to get into grad school and was ultimately accepted into a PhD program in geology at Brown University. Academia ended up not being for me, so I took my master's degree and left. In a panic, I looked into other jobs that people with a science background and writing skills could do.  I Googled “science” and “writing” and learned that “science writing” is totally a thing. I applied to one-year science writing program at Johns Hopkins University and was awarded a fellowship to attend. Ever since then I have been writing about science for a living.

Where was your first job in journalism?

My first unpaid gig was an externship with Earth magazine where I pitched and wrote earth science stories while working on my program at JHU. I also got my first paid gig during that program, as a weekly writer for the NASA Visualization Explorer app.

What type of stories do you focus on at BuzzFeed?

I generally cover shorter, lighter science stories or produce sort of “best of” lists of science facts and other science culture stuff for BuzzFeed. I typically don’t cover a single scientific study or breaking science story but focus instead on collections of science stories and facts about a specific topic or theme. Creepy animals, weird phenomena, outlandish ideas about humanity, evolution, consciousness, and stories with a strong visual component are always popular. I don’t have a specific beat per se, but I spend a lot of time writing about space, astronauts, and fossils.

Do you pitch story ideas or are they assigned most of the time?

I pitch almost all of my stories myself. BuzzFeed gives us a great deal of freedom in that regard.

What do you like most about your role at BuzzFeed and is it as fun to work there as it seems? 

I like that BuzzFeed allows me to experiment with bringing more science to their pretty considerable audience. Not only do I get a great deal of freedom on the topics I choose, but also I have the freedom to figure out new and creative ways to convey information or tell a story in a new way. I also have more of an opportunity to inject weird humor into my posts in ways that other outlets might avoid, which is always a hoot.

BuzzFeed is probably is as fun as it looks. Though we don’t have a full-time kitten room for our pitch meetings and we have only a handful dogs in our office at any given time, I am always surrounded by a ton of cool and brilliant people whose interests are all over the place. Everyday is both challenging and fun. Also, one has to imagine that from a probability standpoint, the likelihood of there being a kitten room at BuzzFeed on any given day is probably orders of magnitude higher than most other offices.

What’s your advice for those in PR or anyone else who may want to pitch you?

People pitching stories to me should be familiar with the TYPE of stories that BuzzFeed Science writes — we rarely do single study findings, and most of our stories try to evoke some sort of human emotional response outside of simply “gee wizz, that’s cool.” Also, I will also always reject any pitch that is clearly just an effort to get me to advertise something corporate. That is not my job, and there is a whole other division of BuzzFeed for advertisers anyway.

What should they always do?

A strong pitch to me would involve not only an idea, but also why people on the internet would want to share it with a friend when they are done reading it.

Never do?

Pitch products or corporate campaigns. They should also avoid writing an entire post for me and ask me for my thoughts on it. It’s not a super efficient way of doing things, and BuzzFeed actually has a place for community members to write stories for the site directly.

How can someone in PR/marketing approach you in order to develop some sort of work relationship?

Shoot me an email! Let me know what you have to offer and I can let you know what kinds of pitches are most likely to work on my end.

What advice do you have for members who respond to ProfNet queries?

For me, I can never have too much information about why a given expert is indeed an expert in his or her field. It also helps to see that the expert is good with interviews and, best case scenario, has as good sense of humor as well.

What type of experts do you prefer?

My favorite experts are people who research quirky, specific, and esoteric things but who can also make those weird things appeal to a broader audience. One of my favorite interviews from ProfNet was with a professor of mechanical engineering who had an incredibly detailed knowledge of Star Wars and a very creative way of relating his expertise to that genre. He helped me write a post answering absurd science questions about the Star Wars universe.

How do you use social media and what is the best thing about it?

I use it both to promote my own work as well as keep a pulse on what’s happening in science journalism and with the world in general. The latter is my favorite part about social media.

Can you tell us about one of the most memorable moments you’ve had covering a story?

Without question it was working on a series of stories about retired astronauts. I got to speak with a number of insanely qualified and absurdly brave astronauts and have them tell me all kinds of crazy stuff about almost dying in space, about how gross some aspects of astronaut life were, and different mistakes that can happen, both big and small, while on missions. These were things that they probably couldn’t have said while still employed as astronauts. I could listen to those men and women for hours and not get bored.

What advice do you have for new journalists and even for those who aren’t so new to the field?

I think it’s important to be passionate not just about your own success, but also about some topic that you can really make your own. I got into science writing from science, so I already had a strong interest in fossils and evolution. I think building those specific interests and areas of expertise helps a great deal.

Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

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PR 411: Want National Coverage? Pitch Local! Do you struggle to get your clients on national news outlets? Don’t forget your local/smaller news outlets! With many large media outlets scouring local newspapers for story ideas, what might seem like a small opportunity might actually be your ticket to the big leagues.

Colleen Pizarev, a retired PR executive (with PR Newswire, no less!), can attest to this.

Colleen’s cat Spock is a 46-inch, 27-pound Maine Coon who is just 2-1/2 inches smaller than the longest domestic cat on record. Spock loves to watch what’s going on in the outside world, and you can usually find him sitting by the front window of Colleen’s San Jose, Calif., home. 

Unfortunately for Colleen, neighbors and passersby routinely mistook Spock for a wild animal. Some of them even knocked on her door to express concern that there was a lynx being housed in the neighborhood. 

After the article ran in the local paper, the San Jose Mercury News then picked up the story, and it spread like wildfire from there.

“The local ABC affiliate read the story, then called and said they’d be here in 20 minutes,” said Colleen. After that, it was a massive barrage of media requests from outlets in the U.S. and abroad.

“I never pitched this,” said Colleen. “I did the interview with the weekly paper because I was tired of people knocking on my door. I had no idea that a free, local paper with a story on page six would get out of control.”

In her former role, Colleen worked with international clients, advising them on how to get their stories in front of the media and get the coverage they needed. The irony that she built a career helping clients get coverage from the same outlets that were now reaching out to her is not lost on her.

“When it happens to you, you freeze a little bit. It’s different when you’re in the middle of it, especially when you’re a private person,” says Colleen. “Had this happened to a client, I’d be thrilled. The PR person in me is thinking it’s very funny. You really don’t know what it’s like for your clients until you go through it yourself. I think every PR person should go through this to get a taste.”

Spock’s story catapulted from a local story to an international story very quickly. Before Colleen knew it, the story was on “Good Morning America,” CNN, The Huffington Post, The Daily Mail and many others. Spock’s Facebook page went from 100 likes to 800 likes in minutes, and then to 2,000 in five days. Today, the page has more than 6,500 likes.

“A small paper turned international,” said Colleen. “It says a lot about how the Internet is voraciously consuming news.”

Going forward, Colleen said she will tell clients to do things differently.

“I will prep them for the possibility this could grow beyond their control,” she said. “Things will be said that are exaggerated and taken out of context, and I’ll give them my own example.”

Colleen was able to shut down the media frenzy within six days. The way she did it was by giving interviews to major media and was very careful to control the story. "I wasn't afraid to demand the corrections or to insist the inaccuracies included elsewhere were not included in their story. I was careful to only allow photos that I supplied, but some outlets took whatever they could find from the Spock Facebook page and one outlet actually published pictures of a different cat. That was fun trying to get that one corrected," she says, sarcastically.

She adds, "Once the outlets I decided to allow to run stories had finished, I stopped giving interviews and stopped allowing minor outlets to take photos from the page telling them this story has reached its end. By the end of Tuesday, the story arc completed and I was thrilled to get back to my regularly scheduled life."

Colleen, who is also an artist, jokes, “I really did try to quit the biz, but it won’t let me quit.”

Maybe now the only arcs she’ll need to focus on are the rainbows she paints on her canvas.

Colleen writes about her adventures with retirement and media attention at www.retireddiva.com.

Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

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Thu, 21 Jan 2016 16:21:58 -0600 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2016/01/21/pr_411:_want_national_coverage_pitch_local! http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2016/01/21/pr_411:_want_national_coverage_pitch_local! Do you struggle to get your clients on national news outlets? Don’t forget your local/smaller news outlets! With many large media outlets scouring local newspapers for story ideas, what might seem like a small opportunity might actually be your ticket to the big leagues.

Colleen Pizarev, a retired PR executive (with PR Newswire, no less!), can attest to this.

Colleen’s cat Spock is a 46-inch, 27-pound Maine Coon who is just 2-1/2 inches smaller than the longest domestic cat on record. Spock loves to watch what’s going on in the outside world, and you can usually find him sitting by the front window of Colleen’s San Jose, Calif., home. 

Unfortunately for Colleen, neighbors and passersby routinely mistook Spock for a wild animal. Some of them even knocked on her door to express concern that there was a lynx being housed in the neighborhood. 

After the article ran in the local paper, the San Jose Mercury News then picked up the story, and it spread like wildfire from there.

“The local ABC affiliate read the story, then called and said they’d be here in 20 minutes,” said Colleen. After that, it was a massive barrage of media requests from outlets in the U.S. and abroad.

“I never pitched this,” said Colleen. “I did the interview with the weekly paper because I was tired of people knocking on my door. I had no idea that a free, local paper with a story on page six would get out of control.”

In her former role, Colleen worked with international clients, advising them on how to get their stories in front of the media and get the coverage they needed. The irony that she built a career helping clients get coverage from the same outlets that were now reaching out to her is not lost on her.

“When it happens to you, you freeze a little bit. It’s different when you’re in the middle of it, especially when you’re a private person,” says Colleen. “Had this happened to a client, I’d be thrilled. The PR person in me is thinking it’s very funny. You really don’t know what it’s like for your clients until you go through it yourself. I think every PR person should go through this to get a taste.”

Spock’s story catapulted from a local story to an international story very quickly. Before Colleen knew it, the story was on “Good Morning America,” CNN, The Huffington Post, The Daily Mail and many others. Spock’s Facebook page went from 100 likes to 800 likes in minutes, and then to 2,000 in five days. Today, the page has more than 6,500 likes.

“A small paper turned international,” said Colleen. “It says a lot about how the Internet is voraciously consuming news.”

Going forward, Colleen said she will tell clients to do things differently.

“I will prep them for the possibility this could grow beyond their control,” she said. “Things will be said that are exaggerated and taken out of context, and I’ll give them my own example.”

Colleen was able to shut down the media frenzy within six days. The way she did it was by giving interviews to major media and was very careful to control the story. "I wasn't afraid to demand the corrections or to insist the inaccuracies included elsewhere were not included in their story. I was careful to only allow photos that I supplied, but some outlets took whatever they could find from the Spock Facebook page and one outlet actually published pictures of a different cat. That was fun trying to get that one corrected," she says, sarcastically.

She adds, "Once the outlets I decided to allow to run stories had finished, I stopped giving interviews and stopped allowing minor outlets to take photos from the page telling them this story has reached its end. By the end of Tuesday, the story arc completed and I was thrilled to get back to my regularly scheduled life."

Colleen, who is also an artist, jokes, “I really did try to quit the biz, but it won’t let me quit.”

Maybe now the only arcs she’ll need to focus on are the rainbows she paints on her canvas.

Colleen writes about her adventures with retirement and media attention at www.retireddiva.com.

Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

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