Member Type(s): Content Publisher
Media - Freelancer
Media - Broadcast
Media - Print Journalist
Media - Student Journalist
Media - Web-only/Blogger
Media - Other
Organization:ProfNet Connect (PR Newswire)
Area of Expertise:Media Relations, Hispanic Media
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We can probably all agree that freelancing online is not easy. Although easier for some, it’s equally harder for others. Are you a full-time freelancer or are you a part timer? Each makes a difference along with several other factors. The financial strain of freelancing for online outlets is real and some writers are able to manage, thrive and make a decent living. We often read about the struggles freelance writers face, but what about those who do well? It’s incredibly motivating when we can also read those stories. So here’s one…
The Columbia Journalism Review has this great story written by Michael Meyer called, “Survival strategies of an online freelancer,” which highlights the experience of Kyle Chayka, a young freelance writer who quit his job to become a full-time freelancer. While it wasn’t easy at the onset of his decision, he surpassed the fear and made it his mission to work for himself. Here’s his inspiring story:
Kyle Chayka comes off as more practical than driven—capable of knowing his goals, reading an environment, and deciding what his next steps should be without a lot of emotion.
A 26-year-old freelancer who makes his living writing online, Chayka’s preternatural calm sets him apart from a crowd balancing the competitive pressure of writing for some of the best-known publications on the internet with the financial uncertainty of piecing together a living in a medium where flat fees often replace word rates. In the chaotic ecosystem of digital journalism, reported material commonly fetches the same price as a lightly researched “take,” and even blue-chip publications pay embarrassingly little for a story. Yet Chayka will tell you that making a living this way is totally possible, that there is not only money but value in this line of work.
“People constantly express shock that I’m a full-time freelance journalist writing on the internet,” he told me when I approached him to ask about his career. “Someone’s got to do a story about how it’s not that bad.”
For Chayka and other winners in this economy, freelancing is both a career in its own right and a calculated risk, a bet wagered in the hopes of winning something better—whether that something is a staff job, a book deal, a larger professional network, a more prestigious beat, or some other means of advancement. The gamble is whether you can make enough money to survive in the near-term while producing work that’s strong enough to significantly improve your professional standing. The task of today’s digital freelancer is to build a business and grow as a writer in an environment where pay rates don’t seem to amount to a living wage.
Chayka has placed his bet. His end game is more about rising in the profession than it is about money. He is hardly the first young journalist to take the popular notion that writers should be a brand and a business seriously. It’s his degree of comfort with the equation that makes him notable.
To continue reading, please click here to access the original piece in the Columbia Journalism Review.
The job of an investigative freelance journalist has always been difficult, but today it’s more complicated and more dangerous than ever.
Columbia Journalism Review has an excellent article called. “New survey reveals everything you think about freelancing is true,” which discusses the challenges they face, including lower wages and an overpopulated labor market.
David Uberti writes a clear breakdown of the complex issues affecting investigative freelance journalists:
Freelance reporters face a double-edged sword. Media outlets’ massive staff cuts have led many to bemoan newsrooms’ reduced capacity for investigative journalism. Despite this perceived decrease in supply, it’s harder than ever for freelancers to fill that hole — or at least do so and make a living.
The upshot is that freelancers have abandoned at least several hundred investigations over the past five years due to a lack of resources, according to a new survey conducted by the advocacy group Project Word. The industry’s overcrowded labor market, coupled with economic changes wrought by the internet, have driven down wages to the point that independent reporters often subsidize their own investigations. Overworked editors and cash-strapped media outlets, meanwhile, face increasing difficulty in providing freelancers the editorial and legal support they need to effectively hold institutions accountable.
“This is a public good,” said Laird Townsend, a longtime freelance reporter who heads Project Word, which is sponsored by the nonprofit Investigative Reporters and Editors. “If the market is not rewarding it, some other means have to emerge to support it. Or, everyone needs to make a conscious choice that this species, within this landscape, is not worthwhile. I disagree.”
Freelance reporters have a long history of uncovering wrongdoing...
To continue reading, please click here for a link to the original article.
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 Kasia Fejklowicz, an associate editor at Consumers Digest where she covers automobiles, consumer scams, health and wellness, shopping, travel, new products and technologies, scientific breakthroughs and more.
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,firstname.lastname@example.org)
Did you always want to be a journalist?
Yes! Ever since I can remember, I would tell my family and friends that I would one day change the world by writing and exposing the truth. I still feel this way today.
Was your experience in Poland as a child something that helped you make the decision to be a journalist?
I was only 4 years old when I left Poland. Given my background, I always felt it was my duty to speak for those who have been silenced. This is because for decades my family lived through countless wars and oppression. News media was nonexistent under the Soviet Union unless it was approved by the state. People were even arrested for voicing their opinions.
Where was your first “real job” in journalism?
My first “real job” in journalism is the one I have right now. I graduated with my M.A. in Journalism in June 2014.
What type of stories do you like to cover the most?
I really like to cover health. I have a lot of fun finding story ideas and interviewing sources. The Healthy Living items in Consumers Digest are some of my favorite pieces.
Do you make suggestions regarding the stories you cover or are they assigned to you most of the time?
Every issue, I’m in charge of writing 41 items. Of those 41 stories, I’m assigned maybe 1 or 2 story ideas that I must include in the magazine. I pitch the rest to my editor. I think this is the most challenging part of my job. However, it allows me to be creative and write about what I believe is important to our readers.
Is there a best part to being a journalist and having your specific role?
The best part of being a journalist is having the opportunity to inform the public.
What advice to do you have for those in PR or anyone else who may want to pitch you a story idea?
If you want to pitch a story idea, you should make sure that I’m in charge of writing about that particular subject.
What should they always do?
They should always read their pitch and check for grammar mistakes.
They shouldn’t call me unless we’ve arranged an interview.
How can someone in PR get to know you and develop that important connection so that trust can be built?
Someone in PR can get to know me and develop a relationship by reaching out to me via email. Letting me know what types of experts they can put me in touch with is also very helpful.
Do you have advice for members who respond to ProfNet queries?
Members who reach out to me should provide me with their background information, and why they are experts in that particular field.
What type of experts do you prefer to work with?
I prefer to work with experts who are patient and who can explain complex topics in layman’s terms.
Can you tell us about your favorite or most challenging assignment?
My favorite assignment so far has been to come up with a feature pitch idea. All my colleagues told me that nobody ever gets their first pitch approved, but I proved them all wrong! I can’t share any details yet because it’s going to be published this summer.
How do use social media at work?
Actually, I don’t use social media at work, because I’m not in charge of our social media accounts. I wish I had a Twitter account so I could live-tweet while I’m out in the field. That would be a lot of fun!
About Kasia Fejklowicz
Kasia Fejklowicz is an associate editor for Consumers Digest magazine. She was born in southern Poland and immigrated to the United States with her parents at the age of 4.
Kasia attended DePaul University in Chicago where she obtained a B.A. and M.A. in Journalism. While attending DePaul, she was the Opinions Editor for The DePaulia, which won numerous Illinois College Press Association awards during her tenure.
Besides writing, Kasia enjoys traveling outside of her suburban Chicago neighborhood and playing with her beloved pug, Kiwi.
I love doing this column. I learn a lot from the stories and people I write about. I’m always learning something and hope you are too. The more you know the better, right? Part of what I do includes sharing articles written by others that have inspired me and the hope is that you’ll also benefit from that article. So when I went to Poynter’s web site and stumbled on a piece about Erica Palan, the social media strategist at Philly.com sharing her insights on getting your story read, I knew I had to share it with you.
The article on Poynter includes a link to a presentation Palan co-created called, “How to get Your Story Read,” which many were eager to see. Check it out for yourself and you’ll see why journalists wanted to see and save the presentation.
Below is the interview between Melody Kramer of Poynter and Erica Palan of Philly.com:
Part of what I hope to do in this weekly column is highlight fresh ideas and insights from journalists working outside of New York, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. No offense to those three places – I live in one of them – but they get a lot of attention from people who write about the media. I’d like to focus on creative things people are doing elsewhere, because there are people all across the country who are working on really creative, innovative ideas in their own newsrooms that might be helpful for other newsrooms to know about.
I wanted to talk to Erica because she’s not only defining how her publications talk about their content online, but because she has undertaken a concerted effort to train up her coworkers in all sorts of digital skills. Recently, she co-hosted a workshop on “How to Get Your Story Read,” where she talked about how to create and share stories once they’ve been published. She also maintains an open-door policy for her colleagues to ask questions and recommend other workshops that might benefit the entire staff.
What I like about Erica’s approach is that it was simple to set up, simple to implement and accommodating to the varying schedules in her newsroom. (She ran two workshops and plans to travel to the Inquirer’s bureaus in the future for more hands-on training.)
I also wanted to talk to Erica because she manages social media for three publications with three distinctly different audiences. That seems hard to juggle, and I wanted to find out how she does it so well.
MK: One of the things I admire most about you is your ability to handle social duties for multiple publications with different audiences. How do you differentiate tone and content for philly.com, the Inquirer and the Daily News? Is there a difference?
EP: All three newsrooms have a few things in common when it comes to voice, whether its on social or in website copy or on the cover of a newspaper. They’re all timely, critical and savvy. The Daily News certainly has the freedom to be a bit cheekier than the Inquirer on many issues and like the rest of the internet, Philly.com can sometimes be more playful.
MK: Do you use any tools to make your life easier? How do you manage your Tweetdeck?
On Tuesday, Feb. 17, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "How to Get the Attention of Global Media," with Colleen Pizarev (@cpizarev), vice president of communication strategies at PR Newswire.
Colleen discussed specific strategies in working with journalists in different locations including Asia and Europe, for example. From appropriate times to send a release to language differences and preferences, Colleen addressed topics that will help anyone working with international media outlets.
Please follow @ProfNet and @editorev on Twitter for more information on future chats or check back right here on ProfNet Connect for details.
Can you please tell us about your role at PR Newswire?
What are the biggest differences when reaching out to a global audience?
You must speak to the local audience. Very few 'global' releases work. If you make it too generic it rarely works. Speak to the local audience directly in headline, first paragraph and quote at the very least. Make sure your message shows you're talking to the audience in that country. Mention country name in headline and quote.
Does a news release or communication need to be in a country’s specific language?
Yes. Language is very important for engagement and search. Readers may understand English, but they rarely search in it. Journalists also may understand English, but most write in their own language. Providing a release they can use is clutch. Sending news only in English is considered arrogant in many cultures. If you want coverage, you need to play by their rules. If you want engagement, you must write in the language of your audience. Period.
Language is tricky in the sense that others may find a word or phrase offensive. With what does one need to be most careful so as not to offend?
Check with your local offices, agencies, distributors or a translator to make sure you aren't including anything wrong. It's always a good rule to stay away from colloquial English phrases that are not strictly necessary in press releases. Keep it simple to make it much easier to translate. Global messages that are easy to read and understand do best. Even when sending to the UK you can get in trouble. I like using Google Trends to see what may not work. Simple everyday phrases we use in the US will not work in UK English - they have double meaning or different entirely.
Colleen, can a US-based agency successfully engage with UK media, without using a UK-based agency?
It is possible. Working with UK media is similar to US media, but the message must be tailored to the UK market. Be sure your pitch letters and release make it clear your message is for the readers of the UK publication. Be available during their time of business and don't pitch too late in the day. Be aware of editorial calendars and deadlines. Don't use the same pitch as you do for the US. Look at what is written at the UK pubs and adjust accordingly. Get a good media database and send in the way the journalist wants to receive. Not all like phone calls. Never call and ask a UK journalist if he/she received a release. That is not acceptable.
Are there other tips on pitching UK media?
Keep the UK message and the pitch short - even shorter than here in the US. Make sure any image or infographic is UK oriented. Check spelling on captions and infographic.
Make sure release spellings are UK English. Set spellcheck to UK English and run it, accepting any changes.
What’s a good translation service? People worry they’ll get email from journalists in a language they cannot read.
There are many good translation services. Make sure translators are all located in country. PR Newswire can recommend good translators to you. We have a huge network we use for press releases, and I'm a tough client. If you get email from journalists, have it translated, and then translate your response. You can also respond back in English and see what happens. Sometimes they can read English better than compose. It also depends on the country - some countries it's more acceptable to communicate back and forth in English. If you get a journalist responding to you at all, that is a good thing - having to translate your response is minor issue. Many companies have translators work with them after sending release to handle communication. The secret is finding someone you like and working with them on ongoing communication. I would be happy to recommend some services that I know are good and meet my high standards.
Is a local agency necessary?
An agency isn't always necessary, and it depends on the market. If you have language capability, and don't mind working at different times, you can manage it here. You need a local agency if you are doing events, trade shows, or roadshows and don't have local office. If you have significant sales in a country and no local staff, and agency becomes important. Time zones are also important to agency decision. If you don't want to pitch at 2am, having someone local works best.
Is there really a difference between French and French Canadian?
Oui! The language has evolved differently. There are different phrases used in each country. You can get away with European French in Canadian communication, with a bit of teasing from the journalists. But French media aren't as forgiving. You need European French for France.
I want to send the same release in Mandarin to Hong Kong and China. Was told I can’t. Why?
Mandarin is the spoken language in Taiwan and China. You can't 'translate' a release into that. Simplified Chinese is written language for China and Traditional Chinese is written language for Taiwan. Both speak Mandarin. If you ask for Simplified Chinese instead of Mandarin when requesting translation, you'll get a more positive answer.
Does having imbedded links or #video change international release landscape? Are there countries that restrict them?
Yes, links must go to translated pages for best effect if possible and video needs to be visible in all markets and appropriate. China doesn't get YouTube. Depending on the country and subject, video may need to be adapted to the local market. Look for cultural restrictions in Asia and Middle East. Some videos won't work if banned imagery is used.
I was told by a pub in Dubai they couldn’t run my photo. Why?
There are cultural restrictions in Dubai that can prevent photo usage. Subjects, modesty of dress and caption key words matter. Use of celebrities also can cause problems in image or video in the Middle East. Check with your local office or agency.
What makes a photo have appeal in Asia?
Best photos feature local people in Asia. Audience must relate. Grip and Grins rarely get picked up. Kids and Pets do. Make sure the caption is translated for maximum effect in Asia. Remember China cannot access US based sharing sites, so photos and video needs to be stored in .cn sharing sites.
How about Europe?
Product photos do well in Europe, but it must have local packaging to be effective. Video is very popular in Europe. Can usually use the US video with good engagement.
If I send a release only to the US, will it get picked up all over the world?
Releases sent over @prnewswire have some overseas reach due to our journalist database, and large .com online reach. But for Search, it must be sent in local domain and in local language. Just to US won't give you global exposure.
If I pitch the LA correspondent for the FT, will the story get into the FT worldwide?
It will get into the online version of the FT, but not necessarily the print version. Pitching local journalists works very well.
Is sending a release at 7am in Japan a good idea?
No. Too early. Not all markets like early releases like the US. In Japan, between 9 and 10 am is best. You can get away with earlier in Australia, but most Asian markets need to be after 9am local time for best results. NEVER send a release during an overnight in a target country. Sending globally at 7am ET ensures no one in Asia will see it. Always send releases before deadline in target country. It's OK to stagger a release to morning globally.
What is the best way to do a press kit for an overseas show?
Press kits need to be in language, and in digital format. Paper is thrown away in newsroom. Have press kit in several languages on flash drives and hand those out with giveaways at trade shows. Have some print kits at trade shows for those who want it, but most want digital copies. Easier to pack home.
What is the best way to reach the most people in Africa?
Online posting on local domain websites is best for Africa reach. Mobile is huge there, and Search is important. Posting in English works for much of Southern Africa, but French and Arabic is needed for West and Northern Africa. Be sure to communicate in appropriate language to target market.
If I send a release in India and I don’t have a local staff, will they call me in the middle of the night?
It's possible, but most Indian journalists know they'll just get voicemail, so they will email unless it's breaking news. If your mobile phone is on the contact information, you may get a late call, but since it's for a story, that's a good thing. If a journalist needs to call me in the middle of the night, that's OK, and why I went into PR in the first place.
For journalists on the chat: A reporter may speak English, but writes in German and they only want German releases. How can journalists get PR staff to understand this?
Easy. Stop accepting English copy, and tell the company pitching it to send in German. If you're being nice and allowing English, then you'll get a lot of it. Many journalists are no longer taking EN copy. PR pros get the message if you send it back. @prnewswire recommends sending in local language, and your support helps.
To post a story, journalists need to have an image. Please let everyone know how to give journalists good photos.
Have photo in jpeg or tiff format, high enough density for publication and post photo on as many local domain sites as possible for easy download by local journalists with release.
The past week has been a very difficult one for journalists and staff at CBS News. 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon was killed in an automobile accident in New York City on the evening of Feb. 11 as he rode in a livery cab on the West Side Highway.
He was loved by many, not just his colleagues and his family, but by the millions of people he reached with his reports from around the globe. He reported from dangerous locations – Vietnam, the Middle East, etc. -- was imprisoned in Iraq in 1991 for 40 days, survived reporting from war-torn places, but yet a car crash in the city he called home is where his life ended in a way that doesn’t make sense. A man who made it out alive and well from so many precarious and unstable countries, who faced danger over and over again, only to be taken away from us in this manner. How does that make sense? It never will.
His reports were among the best a journalist could produce. He was one of the best writers, a journalist who also had a sense of humor. He was someone you wanted to know, someone you wanted to grab a coffee with and hear him talk for hours about his journalistic experiences. There are many journalists out there but there a handful who make a difference in the profession, the actual craft. He was unquestionably in that group.
He took the time to chat with people, including journalists just starting their careers. To see the humility and humor in his banter and to hear the words of wisdom acquired through decades of experience was something special.
Columbia University posted a brief article, "What It Takes: Bob Simon's Advice to a Young Journalist," which includes a video from 2011 where he speaks to a young journalist and provides him with some suggestions both with humor and a genuine desire to help. That video is below:
Thank you, Mr. Simon. I’m sure you and Walter Cronkite will be spending a lot of time together now. You will be greatly missed.
Our next #ConnectChat, “How to Get the Attention of Global Media" will feature Colleen Pizarev (@cpizarev), vice president of communication strategies at PR Newswire.
Colleen will answer all your questions about making sure your message reaches journalists all over the globe and will discuss specific strategies for each geographic location.
The chat will take place Tuesday, Feb. 17 from 3 to 4:30 p.m, EDT.
To submit questions for Colleen in advance, please email email@example.com or tweet your question to @ProfNet or @editorev.
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.
About Colleen Pizarev
Colleen Pizarev, PR Newswire’s Vice President of Communication Strategies has more than 20 years of experience in consulting in the area of international communications, including creating the perfect press release for specific countries, leveraging global social media, managing communications efforts between multiple agencies and local offices, and establishing or enhancing brand identity in international markets. Pizarev is located in PR Newswire’s San Francisco office.
OK, no, it’s not the holiday season, but it IS really cool AND you get a gift too! It’s time to guess how much candy is in the candy jar!
So why are we asking you to guess how much candy is in the candy jar? Just like last year, we have an extra pass to this year’s ASJA conference in New York and we’re looking to give it away to one lucky journalist!
The journalist who picks the correct number of chocolate peanut butter candies in our ASJA jar (or gets closest to the correct number) gets the free pass. Even better? If you stop by the ProfNet table at the conference, we’ll give you the jar with the candy (in the meantime, we’ll do our best to not eat too much of it…)
You can give us your guess in one of three ways:
Twitter: Tweet your guess, and make sure to tag @ProfNet
Big brother is almost certainly watching, according to investigative journalists. Many believe that their line of work has made them vulnerable to data collection by the United States government and those who report on foreign affairs, national security or the federal government already feel data has been collected regarding their communications, including emails and phone calls.
If you’re an investigative journalist, do you think data has been collected on your activity? Has it ever stopped you from pursuing a story?
Here’s the report:
About two-thirds of investigative journalists surveyed (64%) believe that the U.S. government has probably collected data about their phone calls, emails or online communications, and eight-in-ten believe that being a journalist increases the likelihood that their data will be collected. Those who report on national security, foreign affairs or the federal government are particularly likely to believe the government has already collected data about their electronic communications (71% say this is the case), according to a new survey of members of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) – a nonprofit member organization for journalists – by the Pew Research Center in association with Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism.
Thus far, concerns about surveillance and hacking have mostly fallen short of keeping many journalists from pursuing a story or a source; Just 14% say that in the past 12 months, such concerns have kept them from pursuing a story or reaching out to a particular source, or have led them to consider leaving investigative journalism altogether.
Still, these concerns have led many of these journalists to alter their behavior in the past 12 months. Nearly half (49%) say they have at least somewhat changed the way they store or share sensitive documents, and 29% say the same of the way they communicate with other reporters, editors or producers.
And among the 454 respondents who identify as reporters, 38% say that in the past year they have at least somewhat changed the way they communicate with sources.
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.