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: How the Same Scripted Story Can Air in So Many Places

    Thursday, January 30, 2014, 3:44 PM [Media 411]
    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    If you watch Conan O’Brien you’ll know he has an amusing segment that pokes fun at various news stations across the country that all seem to have news anchors reading the exact same script to one particular story. To most people, it seems pretty hilarious and unoriginal and those late night talk shows would make it seem like it’s a terrible thing, but is there really something wrong with it?

    Local newscast producers try to vary their shows with material that isn’t limited to their general area.  A big story could be happening in a city other than their own and the affiliate from their network in the city where the story is happening could simply share the video and script with any of the other affiliates.

    This happens a lot with feature stories or entertainment stories where the network may send one affiliate’s story on a feed and that story gets picked up by the other affiliates. Those scripts are easily shared and there you have the story that everyone seems to have which makes it onto shows like “Conan.”

    I found the perfect explanation for how the same stories end up on newscasts around the country right here on Patrick’s Place. It explains perfectly why this can happen and if there’s really a problem when it does.

    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, or get timely experts and story ideas by email. Both are free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    Media 411: The Popular Unpopular Stories

    Thursday, January 23, 2014, 4:22 PM [Media 411]
    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    If you read this blog regularly, you know it usually focuses on stories that affect the media in some way and yes, the post today does focus on the media, but in a different way.

    Unless you’ve been under a rock most of the day, you know Justin Bieber was arrested today in Miami Beach. Even if you don’t care (raises hand), the fact is that this story is EVERYWHERE.

    I think most people have forgotten about Syria and the rest of the world since all I can see is his mug shot splattered all over TV and social media. As I peek at my Facebook account, there are two back to back stories about his arrest. Even my ears can’t get a break as radio is also talking about Bieber’s current dilemma nonstop.

    The other bit of news I’m seeing quite a bit of today is the outpouring of hatred over the design of team USA’s Olympic uniform for the opening ceremonies. I’ve read amusing comments comparing the Ralph Lauren designs to a grandmother’s knitting needles gone mad to something you’d see in an ugly sweater contest. From what I’ve read the colorful cardigan is supposed to be reminiscent of the all American quilt but you can make your own opinions when you see the design. I’m seeing mainly negative comments but also some positive which balance it out, somewhat.

    Is this all really news? Well, yes. We’re seeing what we’re interested in seeing. Even if you’re not a fan of Justin Bieber, you may secretly be enjoying the story while you roll your eyes in the car or make casual conversation with a co-worker.

    How do these stories become the most popular stories of the day? If social media is any indication, everyone is in on the scoop, even those of us well past the age of 16. It’s hard to not read or share a story about a pop sensation that makes the headlines as often as he does. Bieber’s hardcore fan base also makes him difficult to ignore when you consider he has over 48 million followers. Yes, you read that correctly.

    Now as for the Olympic uniforms, people want to see how we’ll be represented in Sochi. Whether you think they look like a yarn store disaster or think they actually look nice, it’s a story because it represents all of us in some way.  The rest of the world will be either laughing at our athletes or think they look cool. Besides, show me someone who doesn’t have an opinion. If you’ve seen the uniform, I guarantee you’ll have something to say.

    Whether or not you agree of these two stories are newsworthy, the proof is in the fact that they’re everywhere. It doesn’t matter whether you care or not. Do you care about Syria? Do you care about Sochi? No? Even if you don't, many others do.

    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, or get timely experts and story ideas by email. Both are free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    #ConnectChat Recap: The Role of Hispanic Media in 2014

    Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 2:45 PM [#ConnectChat]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    On Tuesday, Jan. 21, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, " The Role of Hispanic Media in 2014" with Maritza Puello, (@cocodark), a managing editor of Newscore at Fusion, the ABC-Univision venture that launched in October of last year.

    Maritza discussed Fusion, its content, the differences between Hispanic and English language stations, challenges in the industry and much more.

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

     

     

    Fusion is a new network and many may still not be aware if what it is. Can you please tell us what it's about and how it came to be?

    The programming focuses on news, pop culture and satire. Fusion came about as joint venture between ABC and Univision

    What is your role there and what did you do before arriving at Fusion?

    I am Managing Editor with the NewsCore department. Our department primarily handles day of news content. Before coming to Fusion, I was the Executive Editor at @NY1Noticias in New York City. @NY1Noticias is a 24 hours Spanish language news channel covering the city of New York.

    Who is the target audience for Fusion and is the programming in English or Spanish?

    Fusion is targeted to millennials. All the programming is in English.

    How exactly does the partnership between ABC and Univision work? Is it shared programming?

    Fusion generates original programming. ABC and Univision both provide resources. Those resources can be information, technical support, talent, equipment, etc.

    Is the talent from one of those specific networks or are they solely Fusion reporters, producers, etc.?

    Fusion has its own team of reporters, producer and production staff. There are times when on-air talent from ABC or Univision comes on the shows. Jorge Ramos does have his own show on Fusion, called, "America with Jorge Ramos".

    Is the production based in NYC only? Or do you cover other regions?

    Fusion is headquartered in Miami. We have staff who files stories from other cities but almost everything comes out of Miami.

    Is there any chance of ever creating Spanish programming?

    There are no plans at this time to create Spanish programming.

    What type of shows does Fusion have on the air?

    We have all sorts of programming. We have a Morning Show. Jorge Ramos has a news magazine show, Alicia Menendez has a show. We have a soccer show called the @SoccerGods. Our Morning show has a lot of comedy.

    Does Fusion work with PR agencies and do you accept pitches?

    Fusion doesn't work much with PR agencies. We take careful attention to create original content. We welcome all pitches. It's up to individual producers to decide what they want to use.

    You've been in the business for a long time -- what do you see as the biggest challenge today for television news, especially Spanish-language outlets?

    I think the biggest challenge for TV news is how to hold on to the viewers. People have lots of choices these days. I think Spanish-language stations don't have the same resources available to them that English-language outlets do. Spanish-language stations always have to do more with fewer resources.

    Besides language, how do Spanish language TV stations differ from general English language TV stations? 

    I think one of the key differences bet English and Spanish TV News stations is in the stories that are covered. I think one of the key differences bet English and Spanish TV News stations is in the stories that are covered. Spanish language media also covers more international news, especially stories coming from Latin America.

    What does a young, aspiring journalist need to do to advance in today's media landscape?

    See how stories are treated differently by outlets and how they are presented differently across platforms. Also read/watch things that fall outside your favorite choice categories. Explore other topics. For aspiring journalist, I would say consume as much media as you can, across all platforms. Newspaper, digital, social, radio.

    With social media nowadays is it harder / easier for young journalists to cover the news?

    I think it's easier. Social media give journalist a lot more places to explore, discover.

    What differences do you see between Hispanic outlets just 5 to 10 years ago to today's newsrooms?

    There isn't much change in the newsroom from 5 years ago as far as storytelling. The stories that are of importance to the community will always need to be told. The difference that I have seen is in the use of social media. Social Media has become an essential part of how we produce and share content.

    What do you think Hispanic TV stations need to do to keep themselves relevant and attracting an audience?

    Spanish language TV stations need to embrace technology. Social media in particular is a great way to keep people informed as to what is going in their communities or in the world. It's important to remember, good stories - good storytelling will never go away. What will change is the way we tell those stories. Technology is what is helping us innovate in how those great stories are shared.

    Audiences are changing and our generation is getting older. What are today's 18-34 demographic looking for?

    Millennials are looking to be informed, entertained. They want to share thoughts, ideas and build a sense of community. Millennials take stand on issues. They’re curious about what's happening on their block, and what's happening in the world.

    How is Fusion dealing with the fact that it's not being carried everywhere and does that pose any problems for content, distribution or talent?

    Fusion's team is working hard on distribution. As with many newly launched channels the audience is small at first. Our digital/social teams are doing an outstanding job in getting our content on the web.

    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, or get timely experts and story ideas by email. Both are free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

     

    Media 411: Cutbacks in the Newsroom

    Friday, January 17, 2014, 3:37 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    The start of the year can be a time of change in many aspects and in the news business it’s also a prime time for layoffs. This is never a good or fun topic, but it’s a part of the always changing landscape of the industry. Just short of three weeks into the year, some cuts have already been made on the west coast.

    This morning I started reading about the big changes at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, not so much about specific layoffs, but about how a smaller staff has impacted the newsroom which for many, no longer feels like a newsroom. Change is difficult, no doubt.

    Just yesterday word came out that The Orange County Register laid off about thirty-something staff members as did the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

    Cutbacks aren’t something I like to write about and if you’ve been on that end, you know it’s a worrisome and very stressful time.

    However, for those of us who work in the media industry regardless of position, it’s always a reality but doesn’t that go for most industries anyway?

    The fact is this won’t be the only time we hear of layoffs this year. It’s terribly unfortunate, but we all need to know what’s happening to our brothers and sisters in media.

    Layoffs come at OC Register and Riverside Press-Enterprise

    Layoffs at Time Inc.

    Times-Picayune Lawsuits Over Newspaper Layoffs Move To Federal Court

    Have you ever received a pink slip? Did you stay in the indsutry or did you move on?

    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, or get timely experts and story ideas by email. Both are free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    Upcoming #ConnectChat: The Role of Hispanic Media in 2014

    Thursday, January 16, 2014, 4:39 PM [#ConnectChat]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Our next #ConnectChat, "The Role of Hispanic Media in 2014," will feature Maritza Puello, (@cocodark), a managing editor of Newscore at FUSION, the ABC-Univision venture that launched in October of last year.

    The chat will take place Tuesday, Jan. 21, from 3 to 4:30 p.m, EST. To submit questions for Maritza in advance, please email profnetconnect@prnewswire.com or tweet your question to @ProfNet or @editorev.

    We will discuss the challenges of Hispanic media, how it differs from general English language media, and of course talk about FUSION and many other topics.

    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 Maritza Puello



    Maritza joined FUSION from NY1 Noticias, the only 24-hour Spanish-language local news station covering New York City.

    She helped launch the network 10 years ago and had a lead role in its coverage of the biggest stories in the biggest city in the nation.

    In the fall of 2012 Maritza managed NY1 Noticias’ around-the-clock coverage of Superstorm Sandy and its aftermath. Her team reported on the full force of the storm across the five boroughs even while their offices ran on back-up power for days in the middle of the blackout zone.

    Before joining NY1 she was part of the product development team at StarMedia.com, which at the time was the largest web portal serving Hispanics in the U.S. and Latin America..

    As Managing Editor of Newscore at Fusion, Maritza oversees the newsgathering team, coordinate breaking news coverage, and makes sure the newsroom is on top of all the stories that matter to the audience.

    She is based in Miami.

    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, or get timely experts and story ideas by email. Both are free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    SPOTLIGHT: Andrea Ahles, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

    Thursday, January 16, 2014, 10:40 AM [General]
    3.7 (1 Ratings)

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

    This SPOTLIGHT belongs to Andrea Ahles, a business reporter at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram who focuses primarily on the airline industry.

    We hope you find SPOTLIGHT both enjoyable and informative.

    Did you always know you wanted to be a journalist?

    I started writing for my high school newspaper as a sports reporter and really enjoyed interviewing people and then writing the story. I've always liked asking questions so it seemed natural for me to go into journalism.

    Where was your first job as a journalist?

    My first job at a professional publication was at Defense Daily, a newsletter publication in Washington D.C. that is read by congressmen and high-level executives at various defense contractors. They didn't have someone covering NASA and aerospace contracts at the time and for the summer and I couldn't believe they paid me full-time to write about appropriations bills and the X-33 project. It was a great opportunity.

    Please tell us about what you do at the Star-Telegram.

    At the Star-Telegram, I am the airlines business reporter. I cover American Airlines which is headquartered in Fort Worth and Southwest Airlines which is based in Dallas. I also cover the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport which is in the middle of a $2 billion renovation project of its terminals. For the past two years, I have spent most of my time writing about the bankruptcy of American and its subsequent merger with US Airways that was completed in December. I also write the Sky Talk blog and recently started a podcast with our transportation writer, Gordon Dickson, called Air, Land & Sea.

    What type of stories do you usually cover?

    I typically write breaking news business stories and long-form analytical articles about the airline industry that appear on page 1 or on the Sunday business section front.  

    Are your stories assigned most of the time? Do you also make suggestions?

    Since a lot of news typically breaks on my beat, most of my stories are not assigned by an editor. It is my job to keep up with what is going on in my industry and making sure I have written it and posted it online in a timely fashion. When big news events are upcoming, such as the merger of American and US Airways, I suggested articles to my editor that we needed to write before, during and after the event based on interviews I had scheduled with various executives at the merged airline. 

    What are your favorite types of stories to cover?

    My favorite type of story is probably looking at an issue in-depth and explaining it to the reader. For example, I wrote a stock story in November about how American Airlines shares were trading much higher than expected for a company in bankruptcy. After talking to several financial experts and investor relations people at American, I wrote a long piece that explained it to the reader.

    Is there a 'best part' about doing what you do?

    I think the best part is sharing information with the public and telling them things they might not otherwise know or be aware of with my articles.

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

    Make sure you know what I cover. I used to be the technology reporter for the Star-Telegram and I still get pitches for tech products and gadgets even though I haven't covered the beat since 2004. I don't have time to listen to a pitch that is completely irrelevant to what I do. 

    What should they always do and never do?

    They should always be concise and to know not to call in the afternoon. I have often had PR professionals call me around 4 p.m. which for a print journalist is usually the time that we are on deadline. 

    What's the best way for someone in PR to start a working relationship with you?

    Usually to first contact me via e-mail and introduce who they are and who they represent and why they want to start working with me. If it is something relevant to my beat, I will then contact the person back via e-mail to set up a time to meet in-person if possible or talk on the phone if they are not in DFW.

    What is the toughest part about being a journalist?

    Probably the hours. I'm on-call pretty much all the time because news can break on my beat. And oftentimes news will break late in the day around 4 or 5 p.m. which means the work day goes much longer.

    What has been the most difficult assignment to cover?

    I had to interview the pregnant wife of a soldier who was killed in a helicopter accident overseas for his obituary. It was extremely difficult to interview her as she was crying and remembering her husband.

    Is there a career highlight?

    There are a few things....Getting to cover the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden in 2000 when Texas Instruments engineer Jack Kilby was awarded the Nobel in physics for his creation of the integrated circuit. Spending time with him and his family during this incredible moment for him was inspiring. I also got to spend four years reporting on the construction of the $1.2 billion Dallas Cowboys Stadium. I literally watched them start digging the 50-foot hole for the stadium and climbed on its roof and inside its massive scoreboard during the time I wrote about the project. And then another career highlight is covering the bankruptcy filing and the merger of American Airlines. The airline is the largest private employer in Fort Worth and it was definitely a highlight of my career to be able to cover such an important story for our region.

    What's your advice for someone thinking of going into journalism and also for someone who's just starting out? 

    You need to be multi-platform and ready to write and post information quickly and accurately. Being on social media, knowing how to shoot video or take audio is important even for print journalists these days. But the most important advice is to make sure you love what you do. Because if you don't, it will show in your work.

    Do you use social media as part of your job?

    All the time. I am on Twitter every day and often used LinkedIn to connect with other professionals or Facebook to find people I need to talk to. 

    What type of experts do you prefer to work with? Do you prefer someone in a higher level role or is someone not as high acceptable? The difference between a CEO and general manager, for example?

    I like to work with experts who know what they're talking about and have an understanding of the topic that I am writing about. It doesn't always have to be the CEO because sometimes the vice president or general manager may be more knowledgeable about the details of a particular project than the CEO does. But for an article that deals with the vision or strategic mission of a company, the CEO is probably who I would prefer to talk to. 

    How has ProfNet helped you?

    It has helped widen the variety of experts that I talk to. Oftentimes, I find I'm talking to the same people over and over again in an industry and it's always good to find new experts that may be help discuss a topic that I may not have heard of for an article. 

    What do you do when you have some free time?

    I play piano and sing at my church as part of the worship team so music is a big part of my life. I also spend a lot of time with my kids, watching them play sports and hanging out and going to movies with them. I also enjoy watching San Francisco 49ers football, particularly this year as they make they run to the Super Bowl!

    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: Focusing on Journalism Skills

    Thursday, January 9, 2014, 5:01 PM [Media 411]
    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    One thing I’m doing more of this year is reading more international content to see how the rest of the world covers news. I’ve also researched more sites that write specifically about the media and have found one that has yet to disappoint.

    I’ve been reading a lot of journalism.co.uk and found a gem today by Rachel Bartlett.

    10 key skills for digital journalists to hone in 2014

    With ever-evolving opportunities to discover and share stories on digital platforms, the need to keep digital skills up-to-date is vital for journalists.

    In order to give journalists an idea of some of the main skills to be working on, we sourced ideas from the Journalism.co.uk newsroom and our Twitter community to compile a list of 10 key areas to consider.

    We hope that the mix of skills, techniques and qualities listed below would help journalists to stay ahead of the game in terms of digital innovation, be able to harness the latest tools and techniques most effectively and create the best quality content for their audience.

    There are, of course, lots of other useful skills to make you stand out in the newsroom, the list below is not all-inclusive, but these are some of those considered particularly important in today's media world. In no particular order:

    • Validate and verify

    In the midst of a breaking news event, as information and rumour spread around social networks and the rest of the web, being able to verify content as true, or as close to the truth as can be established, is a hugely valuable and important skill. And it is one which many journalists continue to hone.

    Whether that's establishing the date or location of an image or video, or simply corroborating written accounts of an event, the journalist's role in uncovering the facts is no less vital on digital platforms.

    In addition to the traditional skills involved in trying to reach the source and others who may be able to corroborate the story, there are a wealth of tools and options available online, such as to investigate the history of an image or key features of a video.

    Chief technology officer of Storyful Paul Watson suggested to Journalism.co.uk that journalists use Google Image Search to check out the past-life of a photo. You can download a Google Chrome extension to do that with a simple click of the mouse.

    Many more tools journalists can use, such as Tin Eye and Snopes, are referred to in this Journalism.co.uk guide on how to verify content on social media.

    The importance of verification has only been further highlighted lately by the recent purchase of social news wire Storyful – which runs a Google+ Open Newsroom for community verification – by News Corp, and the development of the InformaCam app which will gather metadata – time, location and more – when the photo or video is taken to assist in verification.

    •  Understanding analytics and how to use them

    Know how many pageviews your last article has received so far, or what the key traffic referrals were? If so, how will you then use that information? Knowing how to find, understand and use analytics data is another important skill for journalists to really get to grips with.

    Along with editorial judgement, journalists can use the data to, for example, consider optimum times of the day to share content on specific platforms, how best to deliver the content or what sort of content the audience is most engaged with.

    News outlets use a multitude of platforms to measure this data, ranging from third-party platforms like Chartbeat, Omniture and Visual Revenue to their own custom-made platforms. The Guardian and Forbes Media have both built their own analytics platforms, and Journalism.co.uk recently spoke to those behind them about the process and benefits of 'doing it yourself'.

    There are also a number of platforms for focusing in on social media analytics, covered in detail in this Journalism.co.uk feature on how to use such data to inform social strategy.

    • Make the most of your mobile

    2013 offered up further examples of the power of the smartphone for both journalists themselves, and members of the public, to gather and share content on the go.

    Early last year the Associated Press used live video streaming app Bambuser to share footage following an explosion in Prague, BBC News has used its Instagram account to share 15-second video snippets documenting the impact of the typhoon in the Philippines, and Sky News aims to have its journalists broadcasting "live within 90 seconds" thanks to their use of smartphones and broadcasting app Dejero.

    Mobile reporting is far from a new trend, but the ability to quickly capture, edit and share images and video with ease is a vital tool for any digital journalist and, as we head into 2014, it is a time where digital journalists are fast establishing their ultimate mobile reporting kit to have to hand. Keep an eye on the Journalism.co.uk App of the Week for ways to make your smartphone a more efficient reporting partner.

    To continue reading, please click here.

     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: A media wish list for 2014

    Thursday, January 2, 2014, 3:32 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    2013 was a turbulent year for media and here on the second day of 2014 I have read a number of articles about last year's shortcomings and hopeful outlooks for this year.

    The article that struck me the most was “My wishlist for journalism in 2014” by Antony Loewenstein of The Guardian in the United Kingdom. It makes no difference that he's based in another country and makes good observations.

    Not much has happened over these two days so I will simply keep dreaming this year will be a good one for the world of journalism and will instead share this insightful take on what the year 2014 should look like from one journalist’s perspective.

    I will say, however, that I hope this year will bring less scandal, more truth, respect and prosperity for the industry I’ve been part of for many years.

    What do you hope for?

    Wishing you all a fabulous 2014!

    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 Stories of 2013 Roundup

    Friday, December 20, 2013, 12:14 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Once again we've reached the end of another year and with the year just about over, I thought it would be fun to review the "top" stories of 2013 as reported by various news outlets.

    Here's sampling of lists from around the web. Enjoy this last Media 411 of 2013. Here's to a great 2014!

    Top 10 Media Stories of 2013: NSA, Bezos, Boston Bombings, Twitter IPO (Mediashift)

    Google’s Top 10 Trending News Stories of 2013

    13 Unforgettable Things About the Year 2013 (ABC News)

    Explore the top stories of 2013 (USA Today)

    Top 10 U.S. News Stories (TIME)

    The Top 25 Most Censored Stories of 2013 (Project Censored)

    The World Almanac's top 10 news stories of 2013 (Washington Post)

    The best and worst media errors and corrections in 2013 (Poynter)

    9 Social Media Hoaxes You Fell for in 2013 (Mashable)

    Top news of 2013: Boston bombs to new pope (MSN)

    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: Yamiche Alcindor, USA Today

    Thursday, December 19, 2013, 3:00 PM [Spotlight]
    0 (0 Ratings)

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

    This SPOTLIGHT belongs to Yamiche Alcindor, a breaking news reporter at USA Today who splits her time covering quickly developing incidents and stories about the social issues affecting the United States.

    She’s traveled across the country to cover stories including the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., the Trayvon Martin case, and the hazing scandal at Florida A&M University. She also spends time writing about societal concerns such as human trafficking, civil rights, gun violence, and poverty. She has been a frequent guest on MSNBC, C-SPAN, NPR, America’s Radio News Network and a variety of radio stations and local television stations across the nation.

    We hope you find SPOTLIGHT both enjoyable and informative.

    Yamiche, did you always know you wanted to be a journalist?

     No. I knew I wanted to be a writer by third grade because I loved creating poems and short stories. I decided I wanted to be a journalist when I was about 17 years old. It was 2004 and the issue of voting rights caught my attention. I started writing for a weekly newspaper called The Westside Gazette and chronicled the first election in Florida after the debacle of 2000.

    Where was your first job as a journalist?       

    My first professional job as a journalist was at Newsday in Long Island, New York. I was hired as a general assignment reporter and focused mainly on breaking news stories and cops reporting.

    Please tell us about your role at USA Today.

    In my role at USA TODAY, I cover quickly developing stories from across the country. My goal is to get stories of national interest told quickly through writing, video or pictures.

    What type of stories do you usually cover?

    I often travel to national tragedies such as the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. and the Boston marathon bombing. I also covered the trial of George Zimmerman who was accused of murdering Trayvon Martin and have written about poverty, human trafficking, and hazing.

    Are your stories usually assigned or do you also get to make suggestions? Do your managers also go to you for ideas?

    It is a mixture of both. Sometimes stories like the Boston marathon bombing tragically occur and other times I come up with story ideas.

    Is there a 'best part' about doing what you do?

    The best part of being a reporter is constantly meeting new people and learning about people's lives. I have the unique opportunity to tell some of the most intimate details of life.

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

    I would suggest knowing what I cover and pitching me experts about an incident as quickly as possible. If a school shooting occurs sadly, I know I will likely need someone who can comment and put that tragedy into context. Getting me someone fast is ideal. Also, when stories aren't breaking, pitching me newsy features is also a good idea.

    What should they always do and never do?

    I would suggest always knowing exactly why a reporter should be writing about your pitch and why it should be written about now. I would also suggest never pushing a reporter while on deadline because it can be hard to communicate while producing news.

    What's the best way for someone in PR to start a working relationship with you?

    I think meeting in person or pitching me an awesome story are the best ways to start a working relationship with me.

    What is the toughest part about being a journalist?

    I think it can be tough to cover tragedies such as shootings and murders. It can be very trying to experience the sadness of communities and to tell those stories in a sensitive way.

    What has been the most difficult assignment to cover?

    The school shooting in Newtown, Conn. was the most difficult assignment to cover. It was just really sad and very hard to deal with. I have never experienced such sadness while telling stories and it was a real challenge to report under such trying times. The images of young children dressed in suits for funerals are ones I will never forget.

    Do you have advice for a new journalist who's about to be cover a very emotionally charged story?

    I would suggest being calm and being very cautious about what you write and how you write it.

    Is there a career highlight that stands out?

    I won the National Association of Black Journalists Emerging Journalist of the Year award this year. That was pretty humbling and amazing.

    What's your advice for someone thinking of going into journalism and also for someone who's just starting out?

    I would suggest always remembering why you chose this profession and having a solid group of people to support you personally and professionally.

    Do you use social media as part of your job?

    Yes. I use social media to report stories, to find sources and to share my stories once they are done.

    What type of experts do you prefer to work with? Do you prefer someone in a higher level role or is someone not as high acceptable? The difference between a CEO and general manager, for example?

    This question depends on the story. Both can be helpful depending on the information I need.

    Have you ever thought of doing anything else besides journalism?

    When I was really young, I wanted to be a geriatrician because I was really close to my grandma. Since then though, I have wanted to be a reporter.

    What do you do when you have some free time?

    I spend a lot of time talking to friends, visiting museums or parks and binge watching Netflix.

    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.


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