Evelyn Tipacti

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    • Title:Community Editor
    • Organization:ProfNet Connect (PR Newswire)
    • Area of Expertise:Media Relations, Hispanic Media
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    Media 411: Can game design and journalism work together?

    Thursday, January 22, 2015, 4:23 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Did you ever think that computer games and journalism could somehow work together?

    There are already two distinguished media outlets figuring out a way to do this -- The New York Times and Pro Publica. The American University School of Communication is also taking notice of this possibility by creating a program for creating leaders in media via game design theory.

    The Columbia Journalism Review has written a very informative piece on this unique development title "What Game Design Can Do for Journalism," and it's one that allows us to see into the crystal ball that may tell us how journalism could change in the future.

    *****************************************************************************

    As journalism is increasingly experimenting with innovative platforms and tools, some news media have started noticing the potential of computer games to tackle real-life issues in an engaging way. The New York Times and ProPublica are already designing digital games that integrate journalistic reporting.

    To explore this potential, the American University School of Communication has selected three fellows for a new program aimed at developing leadership in media and journalism through game design theory. The JoLT program, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, builds on the university’s new Master’s of Game Design, which trains students to develop digital games that deal with larger societal issues. The three JoLT fellows, Joyce Rice, Kelli Dunlap, and Cherisse Datu, will be taking MA classes in addition to other projects aimed at studying games as an integral part of modern media, including digital, journalistic storytelling.

    CJR got Rice, Dunlap, and Datu together during their second, busy week as JoLT fellows to talk about what game design has to do with journalism and how the two can enrich one another.

    Tell us a bit about your backgrounds and what motivated you to apply to the fellowship?

    Joyce Rice: I’ve been working for the past two years on Symbolia, which is an interactive comics journalism magazine. I think game design principles have a lot to bring to new media, and I’m interested in ways that we can use those in more accessible, universal ways.  

    Kelli Dunlap: Before this program, I graduated with a PsyD in clinical psychology, and my research interests have pretty much always been in digital content and bringing those kinds of tools either into the therapy room or using them to talk about mental health issues. I primarily joined this program so that I can start to carve out that niche.

    Cherisse Datu: I hail from Al Jazeera English and America’s social media program “The Stream,” where I’ve been lead editor for about two to three years.

    I want to break the usual narrative of video games. And I’ve noticed, as someone who’s worked in journalism, and as a gamer, many gamers don’t really tend to follow the news. So I figured: Why not bring the news story into the video games?

    What can computer games bring to the news media?

    Rice: I’m interested in seeing the new ways that game design can bring a new perspective to news media that are having a lot of problems right now with decreasing engagement. A lot of legacy publications are dangerously tied to an aging subscriber pool. Something is going to have to change about the way we are sharing and telling stories.

    Dunlap: Games are masters of engagement, or there wouldn’t be 600 million people worldwide playing video games. Games hook you. So, is there a way to take that hook and channel that to other industries?

    To continue reading and see the complete article, please click here.

    SPOTLIGHT: George Putic, Voice of America

    Friday, January 16, 2015, 11:23 AM [Spotlight]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Welcome to our SPOTLIGHT feature, where we highlight a journalist and ProfNet user to share their personal story and insight with you.

    This SPOTLIGHT belongs to George Putic, a science and technology reporter for Voice of America. 

    We hope you find SPOTLIGHT both enjoyable and informative.

    (If you're a journalist who uses ProfNet's query service and would like to be featured in our 'Spotlight' series, please contact Evelyn Tipacti, evelyn.tipacti@prnewswire.com)


    George, you have a degree in dramaturgy – was journalism your first dream or did you originally want a career in the theater?

    Theater was attractive as a career but I soon found out that I’m much better in explaining things than developing plots and characters so I refocused my interest to television. It was more accessible it was faster and offered instant gratification.

    Can you tell us about your first job as a professional journalist?

    By chance in 1978 I got hired by the BBC’s External Service as a Program Assistant for, at that time Yugoslav Section. I started as translator and anchor but soon started producing a weekly Technical Magazine about trends in technology. It became very popular with listeners in our target area and I got hooked.

    What news do you currently cover?

    After many years covering topical stuff I am again doing Science and Technology and enjoying it very much.

    Are your stories usually assigned or do you make suggestions as to what you cover?

    Sometimes they are assigned but mostly I monitor what’s going on in Science and Technology and pitch ideas to my editors.

    What stories do you like covering the most?

    Space explorations, robotics and cars are my favorite subjects. But it does not mean that I would reject other subjects such as medical technology or geosciences.

    Is there something in particular you like the most about what you do?

    I do video editing myself and I very much enjoy slowly building the story out of the pile of individual shots.

    What advice do you have for PR professionals who want to pitch you?

    Give me stuff that moves the science and technology forward and looks visually interesting.

    What should someone pitching you never do?

    Never pitch as if you’re trying to sell a product.

    Always do?

    Keep in mind that VOA’s audience is very international and that something interesting for the US audience may be less interesting for viewers in Africa or South-East Asia.

    How can someone reach out to you to start a good working relationship?

    E-mail is the best.

    Do you have advice for members who respond to ProfNet queries?

    If you can, invest in a good web camera and find a place with a nice backdrop where you can sit at your laptop. As many of the interviews are done via Skype you’d want to look good on screen.

    What type of experts do you prefer to work with?

    Not too verbose. TV is a fast-paced medium so two-minute answers to questions create a lot of headache for reporters. 

    Can you tell us about your most memorable story you’ve covered?

    Humanoid robot developed at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab, in Maryland. The artificial hands they built are now used by a double amputee who controls them with his mind. It is absolutely awesome.

    How do you use social media in your job?

    Not much, I must say. I simply do not have time for that.

    What has changed from when you began your career?

    The most important thing is the change in the professional TV technology. Smaller and cheaper equipment and much better resolution make TV journalist’s life much easier.

    If someone starting their journalism career is reading this, what advice would you offer them?

    Learn how to write short and interesting stories and try not to repeat yourself.

    Finally, what do you like to do when you’re not working?

    I like to cook and tinker in my workshop.

     About George Putic

    George Putic was born in Belgrade, Serbia and received his BS in dramaturgy, at Belgrade University’s School of Dramatic Arts.

    His first stint in journalism was in 1978 as a program assistant with BBC World Service’s Yugoslav section in London where he was the anchor of  “Technical Magazine.”

    In 1982 he was the chief of the video production studio for Belgrade’s Studio B radio station, writing and producing TV commercials and infomercials.

    In March 1989 George joined VOA’s Yugoslav Service where he authored and produced over 1,000 two-minute tech news segments for radio. Later he produced numerous science and technology reports for Serbian Service’s TV show.

    Since December 2013 he has been the science and technology reporter for Voice of America's central newsroom.

    Media 411: Predictions for 2015

    Thursday, January 15, 2015, 12:52 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    At the end of every year, people make predictions for the upcoming year about their profession and industry and it’s no different for those who work in the media.

    We all have an opinion as to what we would like to see, but do any of those wishes come true?

    Several outlets have published their predictions and perhaps at the end of 2015 we can look back and review these and see which ones were right on. Let’s see what the experts have to say.

    Here’s a list of links with their own predictions:

    What are your predictions for the news industry for 2015?

    (Photo by seanmcgrath/Flickr; used under CC by 2.0)

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    Media 411: Keeping Safe on a High-Risk Job

    Thursday, January 8, 2015, 1:07 PM [Media 411]
    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    The events that took place yesterday in Paris have left people in the media community and all over the world stunned, angry and sad. My usual Media 411 column would have focused on new technology, advice on how to do something better or simply commenting on some new media trend. This week, the first column of 2015, I’ll skip that and instead offer some advice via Poynter on staying safe if you’re a journalist working in an area of conflict. 

    It seems the entire world has become a conflict zone and all journalists need to protect themselves when they make the decision to go to an area experiencing any type of strife. Areas we once thought to be safe are obviously not anymore.

    Here are five things you can do to help keep you safe:

    • Don’t go: Obvious, right? What better way to stay safe from the dangers of high-risk reporting than avoiding it in the first place? It’s an extremely effective method for the maintenance of mind, body and soul. Am I joking? Maybe a little. But there’s a serious side to this and that’s to ensure you properly consider whether this type of work is actually what you want to do. Conflict coverage can look enticing through the prism of a well-crafted report. In reality, it’s often dirty, distressing and dispiriting work. Ask yourself why you’re interested. Then consider the potential impact on those closest to you. If you do all that and still feel up for it then great, read on.
    • Train early, train right and keep on training: If you’ve never had hostile environment training, then you’re not as prepared as you should be to work in a hostile environment. Fact: Even if you were born and raised in a war zone, or consider yourself the hardest scribbler in town, this training is a must-do. It’s a poor soul who believes they already know everything about anything. It’s a dangerous colleague who thinks they already know it all about high-risk working. Get on a course as a priority. Embrace and enjoy the chance to learn amongst peers. If you already have some experience, then welcome the opportunity to pass that on and enhance the learning of others. Last, but most importantly, get medical skills. A significant part of such courses is training in basic trauma medicine. It’s life-saving stuff, and if you want to work in dangerous places you owe it to your colleagues to know this. So Hostile Environment First Aid Training (HEFAT) is a must. Do one, practice the skills, build knowledge and experience, refresh it all every three years maximum, and ensure you’re properly prepared. Speaking of being properly prepared.
    • Prepare with the right equipment: Doing high-risk work requires specialist safety kit. I’m talking body armor, head and eye protection, gas masks, medical equipment and survival gear. Know what you need and don’t leave home without it. What you take specifically will depend on the type of coverage and potential threats. But make sure you’ve done that assessment properly and have what’s required to cover all eventualities. Then ensure you’ve kit enough for any drivers or fixers you use, too. People often forget that last point. Generally because they haven’t bothered with tip number four.

    (To read the complete and original article by Toby Woodbridge, please click here.)

    (Photo by Horia Varlan/Flickr; used under CC by 2.0)

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    Best of Spotlight: PR Tips from Media Pros, Part Two

    Friday, December 19, 2014, 4:46 PM [Spotlight]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Our monthly Spotlight series focuses on journalists and opens the door into their lives as members of the media in their respective newsrooms.

    Over the year we’ve gotten some great advice regarding how to best pitch them so we’ve decided to do a year-end roundup of the best responses we’ve received to the questions we’ve asked throughout the second half of 2014.

    (A roundup for the first half of the year was done in July.)

    The journalists featured are:

    • James Pilcher, Investigative Reporter, Cincinnati/Kentucky Enquirer 
    • Amir Khan, Health and Wellness Reporter, U.S. News & World Report 
    • Rachel Weingarten, Lifestyle Writer, Style Columnist & Award-winning Author

    In January we’ll have a brand new interview and we hope you’ll continue to read and enjoy this feature. If you’re a journalist who sends queries via ProfNet and you would like to be featured in our Spotlight series, please let us know below.

    Happy Holidays!

    What advice do you have for PR professionals who want to pitch you? 

    Take a minute or two to actually read something I've written recently. I get so many pitches from PR people who read something I wrote a few years back and pitch very specific stories based on my former columns or business needs. Don't try to cram or reform the same pitch that you've pitched every single other person in your address book. It really helps if you can give me an angle that might work for my particular audience.” (Rachel Weingarten)

    “Pay attention to my coverage. Don’t send me pitches for something that’s far out of my scope of coverage. It only serves to clog up my inbox. Even if we’ve worked together before, if I just get pitch after pitch of stories that aren’t related to my coverage, I’m less likely to work with you in the future.” (Amir Khan)

    “Tell me how this will affect my readers straight off. Make sure that you know that the story is in my coverage area.” (James Pilcher)

    What should a PR person always do and never do? 

    “My biggest complaint is that I get on someone’s list, and I get pitches from that PR rep for all kinds of things, even though it has nothing to do with what I’m covering. I also don’t like pitches over social media. Social means social … so unless I know you personally, I’m not going to pay attention if you tweet at me with a story. Finally, if it is a national push, try to find something that I can tie to my local area.” (James Pilcher)

    “Contact me in the way that I've mentioned that I prefer. I hate being phone stalked by publicists who have tracked my phone number down somehow. I'm fine chatting if we already have a relationship, but please don't call me numerous times if we've never worked together previously. There is no one definitive way to interact with a writer. So taking the time (when possible, we know you're busy too!) to get to know the foibles and quirks of writers will mean that the overall experience will be so much smoother.” (Rachel Weingarten)

    “Always check to make sure your expert is available before pitching to me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone pitch their expert, only to email me back and tell me they’re actually unavailable. Never stalk me. I’ve had PR people email me, then follow up with a call 2 minutes later and then email again if I don’t answer. Give me a little bit of time to respond.” (Amir Khan)

    How should someone in PR start a working relationship with you? 

    Introduce yourself to me first. Don’t just send me a press release and expect me to respond to you right away. A quick paragraph about who you are makes me much more likely to read it.” (Amir Khan)

    “I’ve always believed in the personal touch – a phone call, coffee (if you are in the same area), lunch.” (James Pilcher)

    “Send me an introduction email. Feel free to pitch me a client or product or ask about the stories I'm working on. Bear in mind that I get hundreds of emails each week with similar pitches, so while I might be swamped, I really do try to respond.” (Rachel Weingarten)

    Do you have advice for members who respond to ProfNet queries?  

    Read my request. You'd be amazed at how many PR people will zero in on a single word and then pitch on a topic that has absolutely nothing to do with me or anything I've ever written about. Or worse, they'll pitch completely off topic and try to bring in the most tenuous connection to what I truly seek. Also, I have a specific email address that I've set up for ProfNet, so I know if you've been mining the queries for email addresses. Don't add me to your distribution list just because you can. If I work with a publicist I'll give her my work email or personal email thereby ensuring that I have earlier and easier access to future pitches. And whatever you do, please don't send me a link to an article that's been written about the person you're pitching or a link to their website and tell me to read through for more info. I can easily search on my own, my hope is to connect with experts or resources I might not otherwise have had access to or known about.” (Rachel Weingarten)

    Be sure to provide me with a phone number! If I need something at the last minute, I'm more likely to call someone instead of email.” (Amir Khan)

    "Be respectful of deadlines. We put them there for a reason. Email but then call to follow up. Don’t pitch someone who 'might' work or is ancillary to the story." (James Pilcher)

    What type of experts do you prefer to work with? 

    To me, as long as the person has deep experience in the area either professionally or in an academic setting, it doesn’t matter. People who are used to speaking with the media and perhaps have deeper background on an issue that they can provide.” (James Pilcher)

     “I love quirky people. Anyone who has an interesting background or story or product or niche. I'm not enamored with the blanket message. I love interviewing people who aren't so smooth that they tell the same story to everyone they speak with. I'd rather build a rapport and learn about what makes you or your knowledge or product unique.” (Rachel Weingarten)

    “I prefer to work with doctors who are affiliated with hospitals. I tend to stay away from doctors who are part of weight-loss programs or are selling things.” (Amir Khan)

    What advice would you give to someone who is just beginning their journalism career or for someone who may be considering journalism?

    “Do as many internships as you can. I did three throughout my college career, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. Media outlets are looking for experience, they don’t want someone they have to train. Internships are the best way to make contacts in the industry, get clips, and land a job out of college.” (Amir Khan)

    “The two most important abilities remain the ability to report and to write. I got into this business because I love to write. But that now takes up only about 20 percent of my time. It’s the gumption to go out and get good stories and ask good questions that separate journalists. And then the ability to synthesize that information quickly in a way that makes it approachable by anyone.” (James Pilcher)

    “I think you have to really know your strengths and weaknesses. If you're a great writer but poor with time management, it won't work for you. If you have a super thin skin you'll have a hard time dealing with potential rejection from editors and outlets. And please, whatever you do, don't accept jobs that don't pay you or underpay you. There's been a horrible downward spiral for far too long in the industry with major players undervaluing skilled writers by either refusing to pay writers or offering them crumbs instead of payment worthy of their talents. New writers are made to believe that it's worth trading their integrity and talents for exposure. It isn't.” (Rachel Weingarten)

     Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    Media 411: Top 10 Posts of 2014

    Thursday, December 18, 2014, 1:17 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)


    (Photo by Aramil Liadon; used under CC By 2.0)

    Media 411 has become a regular feature on ProfNet Connect and I hope to continue providing information of interest to members of the media in the coming year.

    Thank you for supporting it by reading and sharing the posts on social media and elsewhere. If you have any suggestions in regards to what you’d like to see, please let me know in the comments section below.

    I leave you here on this last entry of the year, with the top ten Media 411 posts of 2014. Here’s wishing you a very happy holiday season and a wonderful 2015!

    To see all Media 411 posts from this year, please click here.

    Media 411: Ways Journalists Can Use Twitter

    Media 411: 5 Tools for Social Media Monitoring

    Media 411: Fact-checking 

    Media 411: How Journalists Can Avoid Conflicts of Interest

    Media 411: Avoiding Clichés

    Media 411: Top Apps for Journalists

    Media 411: Journalists Using Instagram

    Media 411: Avoid These Beginner Journalist Mistakes

    Media 411: Ways Journalists Can Use Facebook

    Media 411: Focusing on Journalism Skills

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    Media 411: Facebook’s Most Discussed Topics of 2014

    Thursday, December 11, 2014, 3:13 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Did you watch the World Cup or participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge? If you use Facebook, you’re likely to have commented about one of these two things which happen to be on Facebook's list of most discussed topics of the year. 

    Barbara Ortutay of the Associated Press wrote about the list which was released by Facebook early this week. Some of the items on the list don’t come as a shock while others may have not have been on your radar at all.

    Ortutay writes, “The list Facebook released Tuesday is a testament to its global reach, given that more than 80 percent of Facebook users live outside the U.S. and Canada. Worldwide topics — the World Cup soccer tournament and the Ebola outbreak — occupied the top two spots. But No. 3 was the presidential election in Brazil. Facebook says some 48 million people had 674 million interactions — status updates, photos, videos, comments and likes — about the highly contested event. That made it the most talked-about election of 2014 — even more than the congressional midterms in the U.S.”

    To continue reading, please click here.

    Is there an item you're surprised did not make this list?

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    Media 411: Best Ads of 2014

    Thursday, December 4, 2014, 12:52 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    We’re almost at the end of 2014 which means the “top” and “best” of the year lists start to appear. This week I’m focusing on the best ads of 2014, some of which are funny, moving or completely in your face with painful reality.

    Adweek compiled this list and you’ve probably seen a couple on television while the rest may be new to you. Grab some tissues to wipe the tears away and please note that one of them, #8, is probably NSFW. 

    Tim Nudd writes, “Plenty of campaigns—in all sorts of styles, themes and textures—found the perfect formula of idea and execution to produce something brilliantly compelling in 2014. But it was Droga5 and Newcastle Brown Ale's meta takedown of the industry, and its biggest night, that represented the pinnacle of ad creativity this year.

    Droga5's Under Armour campaign also makes our top 10 list this year—the only agency with two entries. And in fact, it was a strong year for sports advertising generally—largely thanks to the World Cup, from which we've included our favorite execution.

    Elsewhere in our top 10, we have a prank, a food spot, more comedy, a Christmas ad, a short film, a celebration of family and a brutal PSA."

    To continue reading and view the ads, please click here.

    Photo courtesy of bing.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    SPOTLIGHT: James Pilcher, Cincinnati/Kentucky Enquirer

    Friday, November 21, 2014, 1:04 PM [Spotlight]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Welcome to our SPOTLIGHT feature, where we highlight a journalist and ProfNet user to share their personal story and insight with you.

    This SPOTLIGHT belongs to James Pilcher, an investigative reporter for the Cincinnati/Kentucky Enquirer. He's currently the lead reporter looking into government waste and misspending, as well as data work and other issues. Please read more about James below.

    We hope you find SPOTLIGHT both enjoyable and informative.



    Did you always want to be a journalist or did you start your career in a different field?

    No. Actually I thought about being a lawyer or trying to work for the State Department. And my first job out of college was selling  ball bearings and industrial chain.

    But I feel my political science degree helped prepare me in a different way … if you know how things are supposed to work, you can recognize when they aren’t working right or something is wrong.

    Where was your first professional job as a journalist?

    I was a part-time sports stringer/freelance writer here in Cincinnati when I landed a job as an entry-level sportswriter for The Savannah Morning News.

    What type of news do you currently cover?

    I cover the leaders and decision makers and major issues facing Northern Kentucky, a major coverage area for The Enquirer. That includes keeping tabs on area politicians, business leaders and other influential leaders. But I also hold them accountable, and investigate major issues or wrongdoing.

    Do you make suggestions as to what stories you cover or are they mostly assigned?

    Under our new restructuring, I have the freedom to dictate what stories should be covered and to suggest most ideas.

    What stories do you like covering the most?

    Deep dives into complicated subjects that have the potential for affecting just about everyone. I also enjoy data-driven stories.

    Is there something you would consider as being ‘the best’ part of being a journalist?

    Getting to ask those in power tough questions and holding them accountable.

    You worked in marketing for two years – what made you leave journalism and what made you return?

    I’ve actually left The Enquirer twice. Each time was different – the first time was a bit of burnout and an interesting opportunity. I was lured away for the second. But in the end, I feel journalism is a calling; an avocation more than a profession.

    What advice do you have for PR professionals who want to pitch you? 

    Tell me how this will affect my readers straight off. Make sure that you know that the story is in my coverage area. 

    What they always do and never do? 

    My biggest complaint is that I get on someone’s list, and I get pitches from that PR rep for all kinds of things, even though it has nothing to do with what I’m covering.

    I also don’t like pitches over social media. Social means social … so unless I know you personally, I’m not going to pay attention if you tweet at me with a story.

    Finally, if it is a national push, try to find something that I can tie to my local area.

    How should someone in PR start a working relationship with you? 

    I’ve always believed in the personal touch – a phone call, coffee (if you are in the same area), lunch.

    Do you have advice for members who respond to ProfNet queries?  

    1. Be respectful of deadlines. We put them there for a reason.
    2. Email but then call to follow up.
    3. Don’t pitch someone who “might” work or is ancillary to the story.

    What type of experts do you prefer to work with? 

    To me, as long as the person has deep experience in the area either professionally or in an academic setting, it doesn’t matter. People who are used to speaking with the media and perhaps have deeper background on an issue that they can provide.

    Can you tell us about your most memorable or most difficult assignment?

    Wow. That covers a lot. I covered the 1996 Olympics, spending just about every day on the Atlantic Ocean covering the sailing events. I had to knock on the door of the parents’ of Jon Benet Ramsey one afternoon.

    Here in Cincinnati, exposing the dangers of our most traveled bridge, showing the corruption at the local airport board, and diving deep into the Cincinnati city budget and pension crisis.

    Do you use social media as part of your job? 

    Absolutely. It is an integral part of growing our audience, but also for finding out what is going on and for sourcing. I am active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even Instagram.

    How has the industry changed from when you began your career? 

    Obviously the move to digital has been a sea change for the industry. There really are no deadlines anymore – we post when its ready and then worry about print later.

    There is also infinitely more competition for news and for eyeballs – and trying to court an entire generation that has no real attachment or history with print newspapers.

    And we all have to have a lot more skills than just writing and reporting. Taking photos/videos … creating our own graphics, etc.

    What advice would you give to someone who is just beginning their journalism career or for someone who may be considering journalism?

    Despite what I said above, the two most important abilities remain the ability to report and to write. I got into this business because I love to write. But that now takes up only about 20 percent of my time. It’s the gumption to go out and get good stories and ask good questions that separate journalists. And then the ability to synthesize that information quickly in a way that makes it approachable by anyone.

    About James Pilcher

    James Pilcher is an investigative reporter for the Cincinnati/Kentucky Enquirer, and has been a practicing journalist for the past 25 years. He returned to journalism and the Enquirer in 2013 after a two-year stint working in marketing, communications, technical writing and project management for several local tech firms.

    He currently is the lead reporter looking into government waste and misspending, as well as data work and other issues.

    It is actually James’ third stint with the Enquirer, having returned to his true love of journalism.

    James is the immediate past president of the Cincinnati professional Society of Professional Journalists chapter and has previously served on the national board of SPJ as a regional director and national committee member. James also is active in the Investigative Reporters and Editors association and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

    A long-time advocate for the use of technology in the newsroom, James has won numerous journalism awards, including the best business reporter in the state of Ohio in 2006 and several national awards for his coverage of the Brent Spence Bridge.

    He has previously covered the economy, the aviation/airline industry and personal technology for the Enquirer, while also tackling large in-depth projects about business and the Cincinnati area. He is known as one of the nation’s premier aviation reporters, having covered the industry for 10 years.

    Prior to joining the Enquirer in 2000, James worked for The Associated Press in its Atlanta office, served as sports editor for Copley Chicago Newspapers and was the lead Olympics reporter for the Savannah Morning News in the 1990s.

    James is married to Melissa, with three sons and lives in Northern Kentucky. He is an indiscriminate music junkie, and loves basketball, cooking, making beer and cheering for Boston teams.

    Media 411: 5 Ways to Build Your Listening Skills

    Thursday, November 20, 2014, 4:24 PM [Media 411]
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    Photo courtesy of bing.

    As a journalist you are taught to listen but when you cover a story are you really listening or are you simply waiting to respond instead of understanding what the person you’re interviewing is trying to say?

    Falling into a comfort zone can also happen once you’ve been a journalist long enough. However, it’s necessary to improve your skills and learn new ways to get a story and get information. Listening to what’s around you is the key. But how to do that?

    The Local News Lab addressed this very topic written by Josh Stearns. He writes, “Listening is after all not a passive act, but rather an active skill that we can learn and employ strategically. As the examples above make clear there are many different kinds of listening with different goals and outcomes.”

    Stearns maps out five models for listening at the intersection of newsrooms and communities:

    • Listening to sources and interviewees: One of the most fundamental parts of journalism is listening to the sources who make up our stories. Too often, however, we turn to the same voices. Part of listening better will be listening to find new sources and looking for new perspectives. (See for example the SourceOfTheWeekTumblr run by NPR.)
    • Listening for story ideas: Journalists listen to their communities to discover new story ideas. Curious City takes this idea further by not just listening for story ideas but also listening to community priorities. Rather than an editor deciding which story gets covered, the community gets to decide. There is also interesting work happening in social listening at organizations like Upwell.
    • Listening for feedback: Listening shouldn’t stop once a story is published. Newsrooms should actively invite community feedback on stories. This goes beyond having a comment section, to actually creating venues for stakeholders to respond to the reporting in a sustained way. For example, Chalkbeat…

    To read the complete story, please click here


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