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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    Meet the Media: Medical/Health Reporters

    Monday, December 7, 2015, 5:03 PM [Media 411]
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    The Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing Society of Greater New York held a panel discussion at Lenox Hill Hospital with medical/health care reporters and producers to teach marketers and public relations professionals about the beats they cover, how they choose certain stories, the best ways to work with them, get in touch and much more.

    Agata Blaszczak-Boxe, Freelance Science Reporter, Live Science/New Scientist


    • Her stories get syndicated by other outlets.
    • She focuses on new research, health, and medical.
    • Looking for experts to comment. Usually needs doctors that same day so she needs people who will respond quickly and are reliable.
    • She’ll respond right away if you have a good pitch.
    • She doesn’t travel.
    • Email is best, no phone calls.
    • Contact: agata.boxe@gmail.com
    • Twitter: @agataboxe

    Fred Mogul, Healthcare and Medicine Reporter, WNYC

    • “Only Human” podcast – digs into cost on physical and emotional level, social and economic trends.
    • Interested in individual stories, wants to deal with the frontline or the doctors, caregiving, government policy.
    • Not looking for the basic sunscreen or hay fever stories.
    • Feel free to give him ideas but prefers to work with those who give access to doctors, patients, medical students.
    • Likes to work researchers and scientists.
    • Recommends you always have an e-signature in your email.
    • Visual elements are good to include in pitches even though they may not get used.
    • He can travel locally or regionally.
    • Succinct subject lines are best.
    • Give him a day or so to respond.
    • With regards to social media, looking to be tagged by a doctor instead of an institution.
    • Contact: fmogul@wnyc.org
    • Twitter: @fredmogul

    Dr. Ivan Oransky, VP and Global Editorial Director, Medpage Today


    • News feature investigative site for doctors.
    • Reaches 700,000 practicing physicians in United States.
    • They share resources with Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Vice.com, North Carolina Health News, etc.
    • Cover studies, clinical trials, conferences – attend approximately 80 conferences a year so staff will travel for a story.
    • Likes to profile doctors who are struggling in some way.
    • Getting their attention requires data – audience is made up of doctors
    • Prefers to have a relationship with the person pitching.
    • Will disclose where data is coming from, will provide credit.
    • Information from an infographic you send may be used but they may produce their own with that info and provide credit.
    • They shoot video.
    • Contact: mpt_editorial@everydayhealthinc.com
    • Twitter: @ivanoransky

    Heather Won Tesoriero, Medical Producer, CBS Evening News

    • Eight million viewers per night.      
    • Newscast does most medical pieces out of the other evening newscasts.
    • Major studies would be considered their bread and butter.
    • Enterprise features.
    • Please no blind pitches of an expert with whom she’s never worked.
    • Studies are vetted.
    • Pitch a story – not a product.
    • In your pitch, give specifics, provide names of doctors and patients, what I will have access to.
    • Usually stay away from early stage clinical work.
    • Include your email or phone number in signature and even voicemail. Makes it easier to reach you when a story has to be done with quick turnaround.
    • Uses content produced by third party but will always be transparent and provide credit to tell viewers where it’s from.
    • Will check YouTube or hospital site to see how someone appears on video.
    • Contact: tesorieroh@cbsnews.com

    Sumathi Reddy, Health Columnist, The Wall Street Journal

    • Writes “Your Health” column in the Personal Journal section which runs on Tuesdays.
    • Not behind the paywall, always accessible.
    • Has a layman audience.
    • Looking for stories to which people can relate.
    • Writes about studies but not healthcare, financial, drugs and pharmaceuticals.
    • Never pitch a story that appears in The New York Times or that will appear there.
    • Don’t pitch the same story to other reporters.
    • Not interested in “awareness” month stories.
    • Looking for exclusivity, seasonal ideas, and contacts.
    • Wants to get out of the office so give her a story where she can follow a doctor or patient.
    • Needs a week to get back to you.
    • Shoots own video and will not use anything produced by agencies, etc.
    • Is able to travel for a story.
    • She tweets her stories but doesn’t use Twitter too often.
    • Contact: sumathi.reddy@wsj.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

    Understanding Middlemen in Media

    Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 11:15 AM [#ConnectChat]
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    On Tuesday, Dec. 1, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "Understanding Middlemen in Media," with our guest Marina Krakovsky

    Krakovsky discussed the definition of a middleman, the differences between middlemen in journalism and PR, how understanding the middleman economy can make you a more valuable journalist or PR person and much more.

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


    What is a middleman? 

    Although everybody knows that a middleman is a person between two others, I want to suggest a more useful definition. A *good* middleman is a person in a network who connects other nodes in the network to increase the value of the network. So it's all about adding value through the in-between position. Middlemen who fail to do that are the ones we resent or scorn.

    How are journalists middlemen?

    We're merchants of information--we offer our audiences access to information from our sources. For example, journalists are often scouting out information, story ideas, sources, etc. -- that's what Certifiers do. And when we put our name on the byline, we are staking our reputation on the quality of what we put out to our readers. 

    How are those who work in PR middlemen?

    In a way, publicists are merchants of information, too—but their primary loyalty is to their clients, not to journalists. And that means journalists can't be mere conduits for what the publicists offer them—we must filter, and verify, and package. 

    Journalists' gatekeeping means that the most effective publicists give journalists good information in the first place. The best publicists think like journalists, and can put themselves in the journalists' shoes so as to give them what they need. 

    In general, effective middlemen usually find a way to provide value to both sides—to both the buyer and the seller.

    Do people typically think of themselves as a middleman? 

    Most people don't—the word “middleman” has such strong negative connotations in English that most of us think of middlemen as other people.

    So journalists sometimes see publicists as gatekeeping middlemen between the journalist and a hard-to-reach interview source. While publicists often see journalists as gatekeeping middlemen between themselves and the broader public. 

    So we're probably more likely to see others as middlemen than to recognize that we are middlemen, too.

    For a journalist, how is understanding other people's roles as middlemen in other industries vital?  

    Much of our complex modern economy works because of middlemen. A supply chain is a series of middlemen. So any industry you cover will have middlemen playing key roles—brokers, agents, dealers, retailers, venture capitalists, etc. 

    At the heart of the so-called “peer-to-peer economy” is also a bunch of middlemen (Airbnb, Uber, TaskRabbit, and the like). Seeing these people as middlemen simplifies matters greatly, helping you quickly get to the heart of what all these people do or what they SHOULD be doing, and for whom.

    What about for those who work in PR? 

    It's the same idea: your client is either a middleman or must partner with middlemen. 

    What happens when you finally figure out that you are a middleman?

    That's when you can decide what problems you're able to solve for your partners—because that's what effective middlemen do. For example, some middlemen solve the problem of accountability -- these Enforcers are able to keep both sides honest. The classic way a journalist might play the Enforcer role is to do investigative/watchdog reporting.

    Scouting out and vetting sources is part of what I call the Certifier role, solving the problem of quality uncertainty. Many journalists solve the problem of information overload. There's this myth that because the Internet is full of information.

    Everyone can do it all themselves—but information takes time to process. The “Concierge” can do it for you more quickly. Science writers play this Concierge role through explanatory journalism.

    For PR pros, an important role is solving the problem of self-advocacy: it's hard for most people to toot their own horn. A publicist can play that “Insulator” role. But to do it credibly, the publicist needs to cultivate a reputation for honesty.

    Why is having this big-picture perspective a good thing? 

     It just helps you get to the crux of the issue more quickly, so you don't get mired in the non-essential details. It's not that details aren't important—but you want to be able to see the forest for the trees.

    Can understanding the middleman economy make you a more successful reporter or PR person?

    I certainly think it can make you a more valuable one. Alas, whether the market recognizes your value is another matter.

    How can anybody recognize who is a middleman and who isn’t?  

    I think it's pretty obvious—whenever someone is connecting people in some way, they're a middleman. The question is whether they're a good one—are they solving problems (facilitating commerce) or are they just standing there?

    What are three things you can do to immediately be a better middleman in media? 

    1) Figure out whom you want to serve. 2) Decide what to specialize in--be selective. 3) Read my book! Seriously.

    Reporters and publicists will find inspiration from seeing how middlemen in other industries deal with the same core issues.

    Can you please tell us about your book?

    It's called THE MIDDLEMAN ECONOMY:  How Brokers, Agents, Dealers, and Everyday Matchmakers Create Value and Profit.

    I interviewed a bunch of social scientists and also middlemen from many industries to get at what middlemen do to create value.

    You can learn more about the book at TheMiddlemanEconomy.com  or through the book's Amazon page.

    Did social media and the internet kill the middleman?

    Definitely not! The opposite has happened, and economic data bears this out.

    It's true that social media helps people bypass traditional gatekeepers—but, to reach large audiences in a credible way, there's nothing like a reputable gatekeeper, and look at the new middlemen in social media (social media marketers)--this job didn't exist 20 years ago. Every new network creates demand for a new middleman.

    What did the rise of the internet do to media careers? 

    The answer is complicated because the Internet has had multiple effects, some conflicting. It enabled a service like Craigslist, which killed classified advertising and expedited the demise newspapers. On the other hand, the Internet enabled many other people to become publishers, with thriving media careers as bloggers, podcasters, etc.

    Is there a difference between a reporter as a middleman and an editor as a middleman? 

    At the most obvious level, editors take a bigger-picture view, creating the kind of balanced portfolio that no one reporter can. That also means that editors can be Risk Bearers -- enabling reporters to take bigger risks than they could on their own.

    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

    Upcoming #ConnectChat: Understanding Middlemen in Media

    Saturday, November 28, 2015, 3:51 PM [#ConnectChat]
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    Our next #ConnectChat, "Understanding Middlemen in Media,” will feature Marina Krakovsky (@MarinaKrakovsky), a writer and speaker who focuses on ideas in the social sciences, particularly new research in psychology, sociology, and economics.

    Krakovsky believes that if you’re writing about real estate agents, retailers, meeting planners, brokers, venture capitalists, or other industry leaders, it is critically important to recognize the often misunderstood role that all these professionals share despite their obvious differences.  

    Her expertise as the author of The Middleman Economy provides easy-to-understand insights not only about the people you write about but also about the middleman world that is prominently populated by anyone who is a  publicist or journalist. During the chat, she will reveal ways anyone who serves from the middle-of-it-all can become a more valuable player in his or her chosen industry.

    The chat will take place Tuesday, Dec. 1 from 3 to 4 p.m. EST.

    To submit questions for Marina in advance, please email profnetconnect@prnewswire.com or tweet your question to @ProfNet o@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.

    About Marina Krakovsky

    A Silicon Valley social science/business expert, Marina Krakovsky is the author of THE MIDDLEMAN ECONOMY: HOW BROKERS, AGENTS, DEALERS, AND EVERYDAY MATCHMAKERS CREATE VALUE AND PROFIT (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

    As a speaker, Marina presents to corporate groups that include Google. Her written work has appeared in Discover, the New York Times Magazine, Scientific American and Scientific American Mind, O, The Oprah Magazine, Psychology Today, Slate, Stanford Magazine, the Washington Post, Wired, and other publications.

    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

    Journalist Spotlight: Sean Powers, Georgia Public Broadcasting

    Friday, November 20, 2015, 2:25 PM [Spotlight]
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    Welcome to our SPOTLIGHT feature, where we highlight a journalist and ProfNet user to share their personal story and insight with you.

    Sean Powers is a producer for "On Second Thought"and Georgia Public Broadcasting's "All Things Considered." Powers is a native of the south suburbs of Chicago, and he graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri.

    In 2012, he completed a fellowship at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He moved to Atlanta after working as a reporter for the public radio station in Urbana, Ill.

    His reporting has earned him about a dozen Associated Press awards, two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, and four national PRNDI awards. Powers enjoys covering stories that focus on immigration, education and agriculture.

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

    Did you always know you wanted to be a journalist?

    From when I was 15-year-old, and got involved in my high school’s 1500 Watt student-run radio station. That’s WHFH-FM at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Illinois. My first major assignment in my school’s broadcasting class was to produce a 55 minute radio documentary on teenage pregnancy. After several months of preparation, the program aired without a hitch. I immediately got swept up by the radio bug and the power of strong journalism that can reach out to a community. I’ve never looked back.

    Where was your first job in journalism?

    Unpaid: WHFH-FM (reporter for my high school’s radio station). Paid: Illinois Public Media (reporter for the NPR affiliate in Urbana, Illinois).

    What stories do you like to write and report about most?

    Stories I can’t relate to from my own personal experiences -- LGBT rights, immigration, HIV/AIDS, homelessness, stories that force me to step outside my comfort zone.

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

    Both.

    What do you like most about your role at GPB?

    It’s a huge change from my other jobs. I’ve been traditionally an on-air public radio reporter, and I’d work very independently. With this job, I’m mostly a talk show producer. So, I have to primarily work behind the scenes as part of a team of producers and a host.  Those changes have been a huge challenge for me, but after a year, I’m finally getting the hang of it.

    What advice to do you have for those in PR or anyone else who may want to pitch you a story idea?

    Localize the pitch. If you send it to a station in Georgia, find a way of connecting it to GA. Is an author going to be in town? Does he or she have a solid connection to the state? If you’re doing a pitch on obesity, find out how Georgia ranks compared to other states. A lot of pitches feel generic and not very appealing.

    What should they always do?

    Follow up if they don’t get a response and LOCALIZE the pitch.

    Never do?

    Send me a generic pitch that has nothing to do with our audience.

    How can someone in PR develop a working relationship with you?

    Set up a time to chat by phone, and get to know me and our audience.

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

    Provide as much detail as possible about why you’d be the right guest or interviewee -- links to related articles, research, opinions, connections to the state or the topic.

    What type of experts do you prefer to work with?

    Ideally people in Georgia, but that’s not a must. Ideally, someone who is well versed on the topic.

    What’s the biggest difference today from when you started your career?

    I’m not working for free anymore.

    How do use social media at work and what do you think is the best aspect of it?

    I use FB and Twitter a lot to find story ideas and sources, but I’m not big on updating my accounts.

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

    I recently volunteered with an Atlanta teen magazine called VOX Teen Communications, which includes high school contributors from all over the Atlanta area. VOX recently did a series on HIV in Atlanta, and I had the pleasure of mentoring two students who produced an audio story. Seeing them get excited about reporting was really cool.

    You have several accolades to your name – recognition from the AP and two prestigious Edward R. Murrow awards. Do you feel more pressure to outdo each story or do you not even think about the awards?

    I used to care about awards, but I’ve done some amazing stories that haven’t been honored and other stories that were honored but probably shouldn’t have been honored, so I’m at the point where I just care  about the community I’m covering. If you get too focused on awards, you end up reporting for the wrong reasons.

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

    Jump into it. Don’t wait to be assigned a story in your journalism class or by an editor. Just get out in the community and start talking to people. That’s where some of the best stories are born.

    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

    Media 411: Fact-Checking Your Work

    Thursday, November 19, 2015, 3:17 PM [Media 411]
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    Journalists are responsible for what they report. Fact-checking and verifying sources are both things every journalist needs to worry about. Not ensuring the information you put out there is correct and thruthful can become a huge problem for your company and for you.

    In an article written last year by Laura Varley on Business 2 Community, we have some great information that is still relevant and very helpful:

    One of the most important parts of editing is fact-checking. If you write something, and not everything in it ends up being totally accurate, people will notice and you will be called out on it. It’s an easy way to damage your reputation and stop readers from coming to your site. So, in order to prevent this, you need to learn how to fact-check.

    There’s far more to fact checking than just Googling something to double-check it’s right though, so here’s a journalist’s guide on how to verify your content is correct.


    Know what needs to be fact-checked

    When reading through and editing someone’s article, there are a number of things you should look out for to double-check. Dates are an important one, whether you’re talking about what year the Great War began or when an upcoming family event is taking place. It will only take a quick search to confirm whether the date of a big, important event is correct, but for smaller events you’ll need to check the original source. Another thing to get right is periods of time. You don’t want to mention a certain date and then claim it was the Victorian period, when it was in fact the Edwardian.

    People’s names are vital to get right. Imagine if someone got your name wrong, you’d be pretty annoyed, and if you’re a journalist, it can cost you an important contact – so get it right. Many names are shared between the sexes, so it can be easy to refer to someone as “he” when actually, they’re a “she”. It doesn’t take two minutes to look this up, so make sure you check before hitting publish.

    Make sure you get brand names right too, especially in terms of capitalisation. For example, the Sony brand PlayStation needs an uppercase ‘s’, not a lowercase one. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but a gaming website would look very unprofessional if they got such a thing wrong. Brands can be very particular about the way their names are spelled, spaced and capitalised, and getting it wrong might cause some upset, as well as make you look foolish.

    With quotes, you need to ensure that no words are missing, or the quote hasn’t been cut to change its original meaning. Mis-quoting someone will not only anger them, it can also potentially become a legal issue.

    All facts, figures, percentages, and monetary amounts also need to be verified by you, the editor. It’s all too easy to accidentally add a zero to seven and therefore change an entire news story.

    Lastly, if the article mentions “the late Joe Bloggs”, make sure Mr Bloggs has actually passed away. At the same time, if someone is talking about someone as if they are alive, but you suspect they are not, trust your instincts and look it up.

    Double-check everything, even if you think it’s right

    Although it’s good to think like a journalist and trust your instincts, you shouldn’t rely on them completely. You might think you know how to spell a certain actor’s name, but you should always double-check just in case you’ve got it wrong. Spending a couple of minutes looking something up is going to be far easier than dealing with angry phone calls and emails when you get something wrong. Even if you didn’t write the original piece, the editor holds just as much responsibility for whatever’s published, so bear that in mind.

    Fact-checking news stories

    When fact-checking news stories, the best way to begin is to find the original sources used by the journalist or writer. Double-check to see...

    The complete article, A Journalist’s Guide to Fact Checking, can be read here

    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

    Media 411: Digital Tools for Journalists

    Friday, November 13, 2015, 2:20 PM [Media 411]
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    Journalists today do their jobs with a plethora of tools and gadgets, unlike days past where all that was needed were a notepad, pen and maybe a 35 mm camera.

    But the wonderful thing is that today, because of those tools, there are incredible ways to cover a story, to create a visual and aural masterpiece unlike ever before. Audiences can feel like part of the story and journalists can be unique storytellers.

    The following are links which share some of the tools that you should be using as a journalist. Even if these tools aren't used on a regular basis in your newsroom, learn about them and immerse yourself in the future of journalism. 

    One day these tools will also be considered as archaic as the notepad and pen, but for now, these are the things you should know about and use.

    Poynter

    Medium

    International Center for Journalists

    International Journalism Film Festival

    MediaShift

    Knight Foundation

    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

    Should Journalists Consider Grad School? A Conversation on Continuing Education (Recap)

    Monday, November 2, 2015, 4:01 PM [General]
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    Returning to school to get a graduate degree isn’t for everyone and there are several things to consider including cost, time commitments, working while getting a degree and other life events. How do you know it it’s the right thing for you?

    Last week ProfNet hosted a webinar called "Should Journalists Consider Grad School? A Conversation on Continuing Education" that may guide you and point you in the right direction if attending graduate school for journalism is on your mind.

    Our guest was Kevin M. Lerner who serves as an Assistant Professor of Communication/Journalism at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. He teaches American press history, media law, narrative journalism, news editing, and reporting and writing integrating contemporary technology and social media tools.

    Lerner discussed the questions to ask yourself when considering a graduate program, what to expect when you step foot in the classroom after several years, how to make use of your degree and much more.

    What follows is a recap of the webinar with a link here to the complete presentation. The recap provides highlights but watching or listening to the webinar is highly recommended to fully grasp the information presented.

    What’s the first question you should ask yourself if you’re thinking of attending grad school?

    Why are you doing it? Have a clear idea why you’re going for any reason. Don’t do it if you have no other idea what to do. You need to be clear with regards to the goals you want to accomplish. Spend some time planning and researching programs before applying.

    In the eyes of the hiring manager, does it make a difference whether you get your graduate degree immediately after finishing undergraduate studies versus years after receiving a bachelor’s degree? Or is it better to work a few years and then return to school?

    There’s not one answer to that since the students and hiring managers come from so many backgrounds. However, it may be better for most to have a few years of experience so you understand what the world of professional journalism is like before considering a professional degree.

    Reasons to Attend Grad School

    • Learn a technical skill – Audio, video, digital, etc.
    • Redirect a career path.
    • Learn a specialized content area. Become a specialist in the area you cover.
      1. Economics
      2. Arts
      3. Science
      4. Health
      5. Politics
      6. Etc.
    • Study with a particular person or group of people. Know the program to which you’re applying and do it because it has the people, tools or program in which you’re interested.
    • Learn from experienced editors without daily deadline pressure.

    Does a higher paycheck await with a journalism graduate degree?

    There is no guarantee. You’re not going to know that having this degree will get you more money. It’s not like a degree in engineering or law where it’s a requirement for these jobs. Some of the highest paid journalists never went to graduate school. There’s no requirement. 

    Anyone can do journalism whether or not you’ve gone to journalism school. A degree can attract more prestigious publications and outlets if you have knowledge-based education where you can come in and demonstrate a skill you couldn’t before. Medical and business reporters, for example, can do very well. Be an expert at something.

    Reasons Not to Attend Grad School

    • Cost. It can be very expensive and you can have debt for a long time. Know going in you’ll have to pay as there are few scholarships for professional programs.
    • To secure an entry-level job. If you haven’t been working as a journalist, have no experience and want to put it on a resume, then it may be a reason but not the main one.
    • Because you don’t know what else to do. Go with a purpose.

    Some say experience is more important than a graduate degree. Do you think this is true in some cases?

    Once you get to a certain level of experience, a master’s program in journalism isn’t what you’re looking for. If you’ve been around for 15 years and you’re stuck, you’re better off using your resume. It’s not for everyone.

    Types of Graduate Programs

    • Professional/skills-based programs
    • Knowledge-based programs
    • Entrepreneurial journalism programs
    • Laboratory programs
    • Certificate programs
    • Fellowships

    Graduate Program Alternatives

    • MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course)
    • Webinars
    • Lynda
    • Poynter 
    • Etc.

    What about online programs?

    The programs purely in journalism are very new, few and may be the future but a lot of the benefit is the face to face interaction you have with editors and professors. Since online programs are new, we don’t know the effects of them on career.

    Funding for Graduate School 

    • Federal financial aid (loans)
    • School-based scholarships
    • Outside scholarships
    • Graduate assistantships (rare for professional schools)
    • Parents or spouse
    • Work 

    What should you expect once you step foot in the classroom for the first time after a long absence from an academic setting?

    It may depend on the length of absence. If away for a while you may be surprised how technological classrooms have become. Classes are based in computer labs and pace is more similar to a professional pace than an undergraduate pace. Deadlines move at difference pace. You’re working on a three-month basis for a course instead of a daily or weekly deadline.

    How does a graduate degree help?

    The value lies in the education, not the training. It’s a matter of taking time out from daily career pressures and thinking of what you do as a journalist. You can get a self-awareness you may not get if you’re trying to just please your editor or producer. It’s about trying to make the best quality journalism you can and understand how what you do fits in the world of journalism.

    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

    Should Journalists Consider Grad School? A Conversation on Continuing Education

    Friday, October 23, 2015, 2:59 PM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Going back to school to get a graduate degree is a thought many journalists have from time to time, but is it something to seriously consider?

    If you're pondering the idea, our webinar, "Should Journalists Consider Grad School? A Conversation on Continuing Education," will help guide you through the process.

    Our guest will be Kevin M. Lerner who serves as an Assistant Professor of Communication/Journalism at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. He teaches American press history, media law, narrative journalism, news editing, and reporting and writing integrating contemporary technology and social media tools.

    He earned his doctorate in journalism and media studies from Rutgers University and served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of journalism at Marist College for 2009–2011, and an Affiliate Assistant Professor there from 2011–2014. Previously, he taught journalism at Seton Hall University and LaGuardia Community College of the City University of New York.

    Lerner will discuss the questions to ask yourself to see if you're prepared, what to expect when you step foot in the classroom after several years, how to make use of your degree and much more.

    The webinar will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 11 a.m. and will last no longer than one hour.

    It's FREE and all you have to do is register here: bit.ly/1028webinar

    Join us!

    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

    Journalist Spotlight: Daniel Pearson, Canby Herald

    Wednesday, October 21, 2015, 1:14 PM [Spotlight]
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    Welcome to our SPOTLIGHT feature, where we highlight a journalist and ProfNet user to share their personal story and insight with you.

    Daniel Pearson is the senior reporter for the Canby Herald in Canby, Ore., a weekly newspaper in the Pamplin Media Group family of community newspapers on the southern edge of the Portland metro area. He covers city government, schools, business and general assignment news for the Herald.

    Pearson worked for more than 14 years as a freelance writer, from 2001 to 2015, where his work appeared in publications that include USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler, MSNBC, PR Week, Utility Spotlight, and countless others, including the San Diego Transcript, Triangle Business Journal (Raleigh/Durham), The Source Weekly in Bend, Ore. and the Cascade Business News, where he was editor-in-chief from 2008-2009.

    He's won eight Oregon Society of Professional Journalist awards for reporting, two American Advertising Federation awards for copy writing and self-promotion, and an Oregon Coastal Writer's Series award for best fiction. 

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

    Where was your first job as a professional journalist?

    I landed my first gig as a professional journalist while still in college, covering high school sports for the now-defunct Springfield News in Springfield, Oregon.

    Did you always want to pursue journalism or did you start your career doing something else?

    Well, first I was working to become a professional baseball player, or more accurately a pitcher. I had been scouted by a handful of universities while in high school, but I blew my arm out.

    I went to my second love, which was music. I completed the one-year, intensive program at the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood and then took two more years of classes at Palm Beach State College. I wrote original music and toured in a band for about three years before deciding that industry was way too rough and difficult to earn a decent living.

    So, I went back to school and pursued my third dream, which was to become a writer. I actually started a neighborhood newspaper when I was in grade school, complete with its own comic strip, classified ads, and a sports page. So, when I said I was going to pursue journalism most people who knew me were not surprised, but I was.

    What stories do you like to write about most?

    Actually, I like the ones that just sort of fall into your lap. But anything that requires investigative work, city government stories, and business stories are my favorites.

    Are your stories assigned or do you also pitch ideas?

    Writing and reporting for a weekly community newspaper I am expected to come up with my own stories each week – typically anywhere from four to eight depending on what is happening in a given week. Sometimes my editor assigns me a story but that rarely happens. When I was a freelancer I had to pitch stories all the time, but some were assigned by editors I had an established a relationship with over time.

    What do you like most about your job?

    I like the freedom to come and go from the office as I please, and the ability to work flexible hours. I also enjoy meeting a lot of different people who are active in the community, and establishing sources so I have a bunch of bird dogs out there who are always sending me ideas, or contacting me with rumors or information about something that happened away from the public eye.

    What advice to do you have for those in PR or anyone else who may want to pitch you a story idea?

    Send a well-written email with all contact information included, and as much background information as you can. It’s hard to say whether or not I want to pursue a story when all I have is, such and such did something.

    Please learn how to write a proper press release. It’s amazing to me how many PR professionals do not write a proper press release with all contact information and background information. Background information is just as important as the lede.

    What should they always do and never do?

    Don’t call me. Ever. Period.

    If I am interested I will call or email you. And please stop pitching stories, getting me contact information for your client, and then putting in no more effort. If you are pitching me a story you need to follow through all the way to the end.

    How can someone in PR develop a positive working relationship with you?

    Read the newspaper. Read several issues. Get to know what types of stories I cover. Get to know what the newspaper covers. Don’t call me unless I call you. If you know something you can pass along that makes a good story, send it even if it doesn’t pertain to one of your clients.

    You once founded and sold two marketing/advertising boutiques – what made you get into that side of the business?

    Pay. Pure and simple. I was tired of working 60 hours a week and making squat. Unfortunately, that is not likely to ever change for journalists. However, I finally came to the conclusion that I love journalism more than anything else. I’d much rather work doing something I absolutely love than getting paid a ton and dreading the work.

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

    Send me a quote I can practically copy and paste into my story. DO NOT send me an email saying you can talk to me if I want with nothing else included in the email. That’s akin to calling and saying, “I just wanted to make sure you received my press release.”

    What type of experts do you prefer to work with?

    Those who are well-spoken and are passionate about their realm of expertise. There is nothing worse than contacting someone who offers himself or herself as a source, then provides nothing more than one-word answers. You need to have a conversation with the writer, true, but you need to do 99 percent of the talking.

    What’s most different now from when you began your journalism career?

    Well, there are tons of hacks out there today. Many independent bloggers and wanna-be freelance writers, who have little to no formal training or experience as a reporter, take gigs for next-to-nothing-pay and they ruined the freelance industry for a lot of established writers, as well as the perceived credibility of legitimate journalists. Their lack of experience working with an editor side by side shows in a lot of the content that is out there today.

    How do use social media at work?

    I take a lot of photos from around town asking people to guess where the subject can be found. I also mine the newsfeeds for potential stories and sources. Finally, I post every story that runs in the paper, but not all at once. Scheduled posts over the week seem to generate much more “likes” or whatever rather than posting them all the day they were published.

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

    Probably having Richie Havens call me early in the morning on my cell phone, and he didn’t even block his own number!

    What do you like to do when you’re away from the office?

    I spend a lot of time with my wife because we don’t see each other very much during the week. We watch a lot of movies and TV shows, and do a lot of cooking. I haven’t played much music the last couple of years, but I’m constantly coming up with bits and pieces of songs that I record and save for later.

    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

    Investment Reporting For Corporate & Media Writers

    Wednesday, October 14, 2015, 1:16 PM [#ConnectChat]
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    On Tuesday, Oct. 13, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "Investment Reporting For Corporate & Media Writers," with our guest Susan Weiner

    Weiner, a writer, editor and chartered financial analyst (CFA), helps financial professionals increase the impact of their writing on clients and prospects.

    She discussed ways of getting ideas, what to stay away from, finding a focus for your stories and much more.

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

    Susan, please tell us about yourself and about what you do.

    My background? Financial reporter, asset management company employee and chartered financial analyst (CFA). CFA is a credential held by investment portfolio managers, securities analysts and other investment professionals. I write and edit white papers, investment commentary and articles for investment and wealth management firms. I train financial pros to write better. I’m also author of Financial Blogging: ht.ly/TeedF 

    What do you consider to be the biggest challenge with regards to financial writing both for corporate clients and media outlets?

    Conveying complex information clearly -- there's lots of investment jargon. Also, experts forget about WIIFM, What's In It For Me. "Me" is the reader. Writers don't say why readers should care. For example, how do you help readers achieve THEIR goals?

    Where can finance reporters go to learn about all the technical vocabulary experts sometimes use in interviews?

    Websites: @Investopedia @Morningstar @InvestorWords, InvestingInBonds.com . Also websites of large fund companies focused on individuals. Do Google search on "Define: TERM". Attend industry events. Read financial publications. @wsj & @nytimes do a good job explaining complex terms.

    Should you ask for clarification when you don’t understand what an expert is saying?

    Of course. Try putting their explanation into your own words to see if you really get it.

    In your writing, should you use plain English?

    Yes. But sometimes I get pushback from my clients when I use plain English. "We don't want clients to think we're dummies," they say. I refer them to example of Warren Buffett, who writes plain-English annual shareholder letter. Sophisticated investors like Buffett's letter, too. They don't call him a dummy.

    What’s the best way to break into writing for investment/wealth management firms? 

    I began my business through informational interviewing to learn how I could help firms. They liked my reporting background & clips, as well as my CFA and corporate experience. You can try LOIs—letters of introduction—to introduce yourself to prospects.

    Is experience necessary? You had a solid background but what if you don't have that type of experience?

    Companies like reporting experience, especially in financial services. Reporters are fast, clear writers. Most financial pros aren't. Industry experience helps so you understand topics, compliance constraints and internal politics.

    How did you become interested in becoming a financial reporter?

    I like taking complex subject matter and making it clear. That led me to corporate writing and then reporting. I started my career with PhD in Japanese history so it wasn't a straight shot from school to reporter. 

    Where can you go to find people to interview or get ideas?

    Besides @ProfNet? To find financial professionals, contact trade associations. I've had great experiences with @cfainstitute @fpassociation @napfa @IMCA. Data providers like @MorningstarInc help, too.

    Sometimes the amount of information you get when covering a story is overwhelming and it’s hard to find a focus – what’s the best way to manage the overload?

    I'm a big fan of mind mapping. It's a visual, non-linear way of brainstorming & arranging your thoughts for analysis. I use it to record my ideas so I can get perspective from a bird's eye view.

    Here's an image with the start of a mind map:

     

    Bird's eye view helps me decide what's important and analyze.

    Would you say you use a lot of social media to help your clients?

    I do use social media to find sources and get ideas,

    When you’re a blogger running out of ideas is fairly common. What’s the solution?

    Look at questions your firm's clients or your publication's readers ask. Ask readers what they want to hear about. You want to meet THEIR needs. Take a contrarian stance on a popular topic. It's good to generate controversy. Use mind mapping. I once mind mapped a photo of Barbie on a beach to generate investment management topics: ht.ly/Tejic 

    I offer more ideas on my blog and in my book.

    If you’re a commentary writer, are there topics from which you should stay away?

    Yes. The regulators—SEC and  FINRA—have rules. For example, stay away from guarantees. Your larger clients may have written guidelines. Also, try to avoid scaring people unnecessarily.

    Where do you draw the line when mind-mapping, given readers' short attention spans? Do you touch a bit on each topic or do a deep dive on one? 

    I use mind map to prioritize. So I don't try to cover more topics--or details--than readers can absorb. Deep dive vs. covering all? I'm somewhere in between. For example, I'd pick 3 out of 6 themes to cover. I'd drop the rest--or mention very little.

    What can ruin your credibility as a writer and how do you fix it?

    Not admitting when you don't understand something. Not meeting deadlines. Not communicating well. Fix with clear, concise communication.

    What’s the best advice you can give to those who write financial white papers?

    Remember that a white paper is not an advertisement. Sure it's a marketing piece, but it has to provide value to reader. Most important is to identify a problem you can solve for readers. Remember WIIFM. A big part of my value as a writer is helping clients to focus on the readers' problem.

    Can you please tell us about your latest book?

    Financial Blogging: How to Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients: ht.ly/TeedF 

    It offers step-by-step instructions for financial pros. It has worksheets, too. It starts with brainstorming ideas & walks you through writing, editing, & promoting. If you're not ready to buy a book, sample my ideas on my blog: www.investmentwriting.com/blog/ 

    What's the rule of 42-14-2 and how does it help writers?

    42-14-2 grows out of research by direct marketers. Readers' attention falls off when you average longer than 42 words/paragraph, 14 words/sentence, 2 syllables/word. You can look at your averages and try to shorten. For financial writing, averaging 14-22 words/sentence is more realistic. A good exercise: measure your averages and then try to cut.

    How do you help financial professionals to learn to write better?

    Content marketing is becoming more important to financial firms, despite compliance constraints. These days, more financial firms want their professionals to do the writing. That's why I train financial professionals to write better through presentations, workshops and coaching.

    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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