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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As a journalist you are taught to listen but when you cover a story are you really listening or are you simply waiting to respond instead of understanding what the person you’re interviewing is trying to say?
Falling into a comfort zone can also happen once you’ve been a journalist long enough. However, it’s necessary to improve your skills and learn new ways to get a story and get information. Listening to what’s around you is the key. But how to do that?
The Local News Lab addressed this very topic written by Josh Stearns. He writes, “Listening is after all not a passive act, but rather an active skill that we can learn and employ strategically. As the examples above make clear there are many different kinds of listening with different goals and outcomes.”
Stearns maps out five models for listening at the intersection of newsrooms and communities:
Listening to sources and interviewees: One of the most fundamental parts of journalism is listening to the sources who make up our stories. Too often, however, we turn to the same voices. Part of listening better will be listening to find new sources and looking for new perspectives. (See for example the SourceOfTheWeekTumblr run by NPR.)
Listening for story ideas: Journalists listen to their communities to discover new story ideas. Curious City takes this idea further by not just listening for story ideas but also listening to community priorities. Rather than an editor deciding which story gets covered, the community gets to decide. There is also interesting work happening in social listening at organizations like Upwell.
Listening for feedback: Listening shouldn’t stop once a story is published. Newsrooms should actively invite community feedback on stories. This goes beyond having a comment section, to actually creating venues for stakeholders to respond to the reporting in a sustained way. For example, Chalkbeat…
In previous columns I have indicated my admiration for the site journalism.co.uk. It’s a wonderful site to visit if you’re a journalist and once again, they have done a great job with writing about a topic of interest to those who work in the media. This time they write about social media monitoring and the best tools available as recommended by Storyful.
Monitoring and verifying news from social media is far from simple but the tools exist to help journalists find good information they can separate from the bad they don’t need.
"By effectively organizing social media you are able to listen to those conversations and exclude all of the crap that you don't really need to listen to," explained Malachy Browne, news editor at Storyful.
Below are five tools that Browne recommends for monitoring and verifying information from social media.
Alongside establishing the original source of any information posted to social media, discovering the location of the source is also key to verifying that content, said Browne.
One of the ways Storyful does this is by taking note of any landmarks or distinctive buildings featured in photos and videos, and attempting to verify the location using satellite imagery from Google Maps or geo-located photographs posted online.
"When the Iraqi military put out videos of strikes on Islamic State targets, sometimes those videos will have the latitude and longitude, or some reference to it, and we'll check the satellite imagery to make sure that they are actually bombing a place that is in Islamic State hands and that it is where it says it is," explains Browne.
Twitter is Storyful's "primary signal" for breaking news and eyewitness media, said Browne, explaining that Tweetdeck was an essential tool for organizing and monitoring tweets.
"By having well-curated lists, very good search terms [and] understanding the filters on Tweetdeck, that allows you to exclude a lot of the noise that you may not be interested in and focus on the beat that you're given for a particularly day," he said.
Browne also recommended that journalists spent time and effort into curating effective Twitter lists, added that monitoring "a really tightly curated list" is very often the best way to find breaking stories.
Storyful has curated more than 560 Twitter lists for various locations and topics, said Browne, some of which are public.
For example, for a recent Twitter list to monitor news on Ebola he pulled in any relevant accounts from Storyful's existing location lists covering the affected areas, before contacting key agencies and organisations connected to the crisis to see what other accounts he should be following.
"It's a bit labor intensive... but you reap the rewards from it," he said.
BuzzFeed has 175 million unique visitors a month. 75% comes from social media.
There are two types of business audiences: the historic business reader, someone who watches CNBC; millennials, those who read the Wall Street Journal.
If we get an exclusive, people are going to share it. We want exclusives and people will read them.
The most value someone in PR can bring is to connect me.
There are two types of PR people: the one-time pitch that won’t work and that won’t last and the one who reaches out and says, “I rep this company and have this guy who can talk about ‘X.’ Want to meet him?” Type two is best.
If you’re good at PR you will be called first since I know you’ll connect me.
Best exclusives include company A is buying company B as told by someone who knows but when an official announcement hasn’t been made.
However, the breakdown of responses is quite complex. Here’s how the Pew Research Center has analyzed them:
1) The full population picture doesn’t tell the whole story. If you look simply at the total percentage of online adults who say they trust a news organization for news about government and politics, several mainstream television outlets rise to the top. CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox News are all trusted by more than four-in-ten web-using U.S. adults. These high numbers, though, are intertwined with the fact that more than nine-in-ten respondents have heard of these five news sources. Trust and distrust were only asked of sources respondents had heard of, thus, the better known a source is, the more Americans in total who can voice trust or distrust of that source. A source like The Economist, on the other hand, is known by just 34% of respondents and so could never have a trust level exceeding 34% — even if everyone who had heard of it trusted it.
2) Is a news organization not trusted? Or just not well known? An alternative way to analyze the data is to look at the percent of trust among those who have heard of the news organization. This approach means that lesser-known outlets may be seen as equally trusted as better-known outlets.
On Tuesday, Oct. 28, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "Making Lateral Moves as a Freelancer," with Joanne Cleaver (@jycleaver), a freelance business journalist and author since 1981, and a strategic communication consultant who helps organizations and experts develop and deliver strategic messages that build reputation and authority.
Joanne discussed managing time, getting clients/assignments,increasing work opportunities by making lateral moves, next month's ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors) Content Connections conference in Chicago 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.
Joanne, please tell us about yourself and about what you do.
I’m a content strategy & communication consultant: Wilson-taylorassoc.com . My firm helps clients develop & deliver stories, often based on our original research. Our specialties include women in business, entrepreneurship, career pathing & communication & media training.
I’m also a former newspaper deputy biz editor; staff content manager; & nationally published writer. And, I wrote www.thecareerlattice.com about lateral moves for career growth. Over is the New Up!
What’s the biggest mistake someone can make starting out as a freelancer?
1) Not realizing that client care is 50% of your time and probably 80% of your energy. 2) Writing for love not money...you need both! 3) Saying you can write anything. You can't. Specializing is key.
How does one go about landing their first client or their first assignment? It’s a struggle to get them even when more established.
The sweet spot: pitch what you know that isn't being covered. Bring insight. Surprise the editor or client with a fresh take. Bring a point of view, not just facts.
What do you suggest for managing one’s time between family, writing and other activities?
Having it all is possible! Just define 'it all.' For me, it's a blend of creative writing, content strategy, and business writing…plus quilting. The freelance delusion that you can write while the kids play. Not. Treat your professional time as such.
Multitasking triumph deadline bread! Here's the recipe: proof yeast in a.m. Make calls. Make dough & set to rise. Make more calls. Knead & fold into pans. Let rise. Write. Put bread in oven. Work out. Reward yourself! Start deadline bread at 9 a.m., serve warm bread to kids home from school at 3.
How much time does one need to devote to pitching, landing a client, writing a story and starting the cycle again?
I allow 3 - 4 months lead time from idea to payment. Now, let's break it down. Develop a unique angle for THIS client. Find the decision maker. Allow a month for the decision. Expect to evolve the idea...and your fee, as you do. I try to tee up the next assignment as I win the current one. Under promise, over deliver. I add a small extra soon after I start, such as a sidebar. Outline the project schedule & deliverables (yeah, corporate speak). Deadlines = payment.
Check in to make sure reality matches expectations. The sweet spot: pitch what you know, that isn't being covered. Give ideas for graphics, social content. Can you refer to a designer, etc.? Deliver top journalistic quality. Corporate clients love this! Use anecdotes, short stories to illustrate data. It IS like Build A Bear! Start with a leg, add an arm. Cross sell within a company. Show client love by referring THEM to potential customers, clients.
When it comes to money, people often have no idea what to do. How do you manage when you’re a beginner without a fixed income?
Ebyline is a great place to gain traction. I have gained great clients through Ebyline. Specialize! OWN a topic & network with experts. Learn how at @ASJAConCon Nov. 13. Team with other freelancers for projects. Don't be the lone ranger.
Is it easier to freelance when you already have a steady FT or PT job?
Starting with FT or PT job gives you specialization and potential conflicts of interest. To career lattice into freelancing, build a portfolio with association projects. Association work puts you in front of trends and potential clients. Millennials can get a fast start via nonprofit work, building authority.
Once you’ve become a more experienced freelancer, there’s still room to grow to increase your opportunities –how can someone branch out into other things while continuing to freelance?
Freelancers must find their own lateral moves. The Career Lattice shows how. I discovered I was great at communication and media training. Expect to invest in training to build new skills. I took a train the trainer course. One caveat: many writers suck at speaking. And it's hard to get paid for speaking. Speaking requires deep knowledge plus stage presence. Writers typically have just the knowledge.
What about former journalists who may not be looking to work as freelancers – what opportunities exist for people with their skills?
Lateral moves are the only way. Consider research, analyst jobs in your beat. Project management skills are valuable, too. Know your core people skills for potential advocacy, communication jobs. If you think all PR jobs are 'the dark side,' you see the world only in black and white.
You’re very involved with the ASJA. What’s your role with the organization?
I founded and chair Content Connections, @ASJAConCon, where freelancers meet content clients. The Content Connections committee is the best!
Can you please tell us about the upcoming conference?
Why, yes, I can! Content creatives: learn how subject matter expertise = client cash flow. Corporate and nonprofit clients can find the writers they need for content goals. Plus: power networking, workshops, and lots of muffins. Keynote is @JayHeinrichs - smart & funny. Details at www.asjaconferences.org .
Our next #ConnectChat, “Making Lateral Moves as a Freelancer " will feature Joanne Cleaver (@jycleaver), a freelance business journalist and author since 1981 and a strategic communication consultant who helps organizations and experts develop and deliver strategic messages that build reputation and authority.
Joanne will discuss how to manage your time and money for sustainable growth as a freelancer, a career that requires the ability to multitask in order to be successful. She will also discuss how to make lateral moves which will give you more work opportunities and make you more marketable.
The chat will take place Tuesday, Oct. 28 from 3 to 4:30 p.m, EDT and Joanne will be tweeting under the handle @ASJAConCon. Cleaver chairs Content Connections, ASJA's Chicago conference that focuses on digital and custom content.
To submit questions for Joanne 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 Joanne Cleaver
Joanne Cleaver was a financial journalist for 25 years, including 4 1/2 years as real estate editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and 21 years as a full time freelance writer and editor. Her work has been published nationally in Inc., the Chicago Tribune, Crain's Chicago Business, Good Housekeeping, Working Woman, CBS Moneywatch, and many other outlets; she has authored seven books, most recently, The Career Lattice (McGraw Professional, 2012). Three of her books were on small business growth.
She leads strategic communication firm Wilson-Taylor Associates, Inc., which offers media readiness coaching and training for organizations and experts; Wilson-Taylor also designs and manages content, editorial and research projects for all media. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.&nb...
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 Amir Khan, a health and wellness reporter for U.S. News & World Report, where he covers a variety of health topics, including health technology, diet and nutrition and fitness, all with an eye towards helping consumers make the best possible decisions about their health. Please read more about Amir below.
We hope you find SPOTLIGHT both enjoyable and informative.
Have you always wanted to be a journalist or did you start out in another field?
I definitely didn’t know that I wanted to do journalism. I went to Stony Brook University not knowing what I wanted to do and took an entry-level journalism class because it fulfilled a requirement. I enjoyed it and decided to take another, and everything kind of fell into place from there. I can’t imagine being in a different field now though.
Where was your first "real" job in journalism?
My first job out of college was writing for the International Business Times, but I consider my first real journalism job to be at Everyday Health, where I worked last year before moving over to U.S. News and World Report. That job taught me a great deal about covering health, reading studies and identifying trends.
How did you become a health and wellness reporter? Has that particular genre been your primary focus or were you thrown into it?
I’ve always loved health and science journalism. The New York Times’ science section was regular reading for me growing up – so when I got into journalism, it just made sense that this would be my area of coverage. My first internship was at a magazine called BioTechniques, where I did high-level science writing. After that, I interned and eventually freelanced for Popular Mechanics where I covered interesting studies and new technology. From there everything kind of rolled along to bring me where I am today.
What type of stories do you enjoy covering the most?
Health technology stories are definitely my favorite – whether it’s a new kind of fitness tracker, a new treatment or a cool gadget. I’ve always been a bit of a geek, so covering this came pretty naturally to me. I’ve had a great opportunity to write about new technologies at U.S. News and I’m really grateful for that.
Do you make suggestions as to what stories you cover or are they assigned to you?
It’s both! One thing I love about working for U.S. News is that my editor Angie lets me cover what interests me – you always write better when you’re genuinely interested in the topic at hand. I’ll pitch her stories, she’ll recommend some to me, and we figure out what we should do. It’s a real team effort to decide coverage.
What advice do you have for PR professionals who want to pitch you?
Pay attention to my coverage. Don’t send me pitches for something that’s far out of my scope of coverage. It only serves to clog up my inbox.Even if we’ve worked together before, if I just get pitch after pitch of stories that aren’t related to my coverage, I’m less likely to work with you in the future.
What should those that pitch you always do and never do?
Always check to make sure your expert is available before pitching to me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone pitch their expert, only to email me back and tell me they’re actually unavailable.
Never stalk me. I’ve had PR people email me, then follow up with a call 2 minutes later and then email again if I don’t answer. Give me a little bit of time to respond.
What's the best way for someone in PR to start a working relationship with you?
Introduce yourself to me first. Don’t just send me a press release and expect me to respond to you right away. A quick paragraph about who you are makes me much more likely to read it.
Do you have advice for members who respond to ProfNet queries?
Be sure to provide me with a phone number! If I need something at the last minute, I'm more likely to call someone instead of email.
What type of experts do you prefer to work with?
I prefer to work with doctors who are affiliated with hospitals. I tend to stay away from doctors who are part of weight-loss programs or are selling things.
What has been your most memorable or most difficult assignment?
One of my most memorable stories actually came just a few weeks ago. I was working on a story about healthy snacks for football Sunday, and I managed to snag an interview with the Food Network chef Robert Irvine. It was kind of surreal to me, because I’m a huge fan of his shows.
Do you use social media as part of your job?
I do! Besides promoting my stories on my own personal Twitter and Facebook account, I also help manage the U.S. News social media accounts, where I promote all of our stories, blog posts and Twitter chats.
What do you think you'd be doing if you weren't a journalist?
I’d probably be a chef. Before going to Stony Brook, I seriously considered going to culinary school. I still love to cook though – my fiancée and I cook dinner together just about every night, and it’s one of my favorite hobbies.
How has the industry changed from when you began your career?
The biggest shift has been in how writers deal with readers. When newspapers and other outlets first moved online, it was very print-on-web. Now, the pages are more dynamic, and many have interactive charts, graphs etc. More than that though, I think journalists have finally learned that engaging with your readers is a great way to build your brand and keep them coming back to you. It’s no longer a one-way conversation. My goal as a journalist is to be the type of person people seek out to see my take on the latest health news.
Do you have advice for someone just starting out as a journalist?
Do as many internships as you can. I did three throughout my college career, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. Media outlets are looking for experience, they don’t want someone they have to train. Internships are the best way to make contacts in the industry, get clips, and land a job out of college.
About Amir Khan
Amir Khan is a health and wellness reporter for U.S. News & World Report, where he covers a variety of health topics, including health technology, diet and nutrition and fitness, all with an eye towards helping consumers make the best possible decisions about their health. He also helps manage the organizations’ social media accounts.
A native New Yorker, Amir grew up in the Marine Park section of Brooklyn. He attended Stony Brook University, where he obtained a B.A. in Journalism. While attending Stony Brook, he was Managing Editor of the school's online newspaper, the Stony Brook Independent. He also held three internships during his time there – Biotechniques Magazine, the New York Daily News, and Popular Mechanics Magazine.
Prior to taking a job with U.S. News & World Report, Amir wrote for the International Business Times and Everyday Health.
Besides writing about health, Amir is an avid homebrewer, a Mets and Jets fan and a fantasy football nut.
Amir currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with his fiancée, Jen, their dog, Ranger, and their cats, Teddy and Moe.
It’s that time of year for journalism students again!
If you're one of them, put those thinking caps on (Does anyone say that anymore?), get organized and start applying before you lose the opportunity to work for a limited time and gain valuable experience at a renowned news organization.
Benjamin Mullin of The Poynter Institute provides a great list of internships and fellowships from around the country:
The New York Times James Reston Reporting Fellowship Deadline: Oct. 31 Location: New York City Pay:$1,000 per week Description:“Beginning with the second week, the Reston Fellows start work in a section that reflects their skills and area of interest to report and write stories under the guidance of editors or senior reporters. Some stories are assigned, but fellows are encouraged to come up with their own ideas. They also participate in workshops with ranking editors and reporters. The goal of the program is to provide an opportunity for the fellows to stretch their journalistic skills with the help of some of the best reporters and editors in the country.”
The Washington Post Deadline: Nov. 7 Location: Washington, D.C. Pay: $750 per week Description:“Our interns write articles, edit copy, take photographs, design pages and produce graphics. We treat them as staff members during their 12 weeks of employment.”
The Boston Globe Deadline: Nov. 1 Location: Boston Pay: $700 per month Description:“Summer interns work as full-time employees for 12 weeks, between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Interns are paid a weekly wage, and shifts vary. An intern supervisor serves as a writing coach and there are weekly meetings with editors and staff members on a range of issues and topics pertaining to journalism.”
Deadline: Not settled yet; likely the first week of January, per AP spokesman Paul Colford. Location: Major cities throughout the world Pay: Not listed Description:“The summer 2014 Global News Internship is a paid, highly selective, 12-week individually tailored training program for students who are aspiring cross-format journalists. Interns must have experience and/or training in video and one other format. They will contribute to AP’s text, video, photo and interactive reporting.”
The Los Angeles Times Deadline: Jan. 1 Location: Los Angeles, Washington D.C. Pay: $700 per week Description:“Interested in working with some of the best journalists around? We offer 10 weeks of intensive, hands-on experience in a region where big stories are the norm. We place interns throughout the L.A. Times: Metro/Local, Sports, Business, Features (Home, Image, Travel, Food, Mind & Body), Arts & Entertainment, Editorial Pages, Washington, D.C., bureau, Photography/Video, Data Desk, Visualization & Graphics, Design and latimes.com. These are paid internships and summer placements usually run from mid-June to late August.”
Google Journalism Fellowship Deadline: Around the end of January Location: Various journalism nonprofits throughout the United States Pay: $8,000 for 10-weeks, plus $1,000 travel stipend Description:“The program is aimed at undergraduate, graduate and journalism students interested in using technology to tell stories in new and dynamic ways. The Fellows will get the opportunity to spend the summer contributing to a variety of organizations — from those that are steeped in investigative journalism to those working for press freedom around the world and to those that are helping the industry figure out its future in the digital age.” Disclaimer: I was a 2014 Google fellow.
Atlantic Media Fellowship Program Deadline: End of February 2015 Location: Washington, D.C. and New York City Pay: $25,000 per year, with full benefits Description:“Atlantic Media offers high-achieving recent college graduates a unique opportunity to participate in the Atlantic Media Fellowship Program. The Program is a structured, year-long paid fellowship for top-tier talent committed to editorial-side or business-side careers in media. Each year we look forward to our new class of Fellows, who add a fresh perspective and new ideas to our company initiatives. As a digital-first company, we have experienced tremendous growth as a result of emphasis on digital initiatives, and our Fellows have been key contributors.”
Every year People puts out its Sexiest Man Alive issue which I (and many others) look forward to eagerly every single time. They always do a great job with the publicity that leads to an announcement which is covered by almost every media outlet in the country.
This year, People has decided to place another sexy man on the cover in addition to Hollywood’s hottest hunk. If you’re a news anchor, sports anchor or weather anchor, now’s your chance to get in on the action!
All you have to do is tweet your choice (name and Twitter handle, if available) to @peoplemag using the #SexiestAnchorAlive hashtag. The contest runs now through Oct. 22.
In today’s world, news is available to us around the clock every day of the week. The internet and the advent of social media mean we are informed constantly on different platforms – mobile phones, tablets, laptops, television, radio, newspapers.
There is no excuse to not be informed, yet for the majority of young adults, news consumption isn’t as important and some don’t bother with news at all.
Tuesday, Oct. 7 will be the first ever National News Engagement Day which was created to raise awareness about the importance of being informed. Another goal of the initiative includes encouraging people to engage with news by reading, watching, tweeting and discussing. Also, helping people of all ages realize the benefits of news, educating the public about journalism and ensuring news engagement does not disappear.
The idea came from Paula Poindexter, the 2013-2014 president of AEJMC (Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication). A journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Poindexter first proposed setting aside a day every year to revitalize the public’s engagement with news, regardless of generation” in her book Millennials, News, and Social Media: Is News Engagement a Thing of the Past? (New York: Peter Lang, 2012, pp. 131-132). As president of AEJMC, Poindexter made National News Engagement Day one of her most important presidential initiatives.
National News Engagement Day events will be taking place in a grand majority of the states, the District of Columbia, and six countries (newsengagement.org). These events will be sponsored by journalism and communication programs, news associations and communication organizations, local and national media, civic organizations and foundations, and primary and secondary teachers.
NBC news anchor Brian Williams addresses National News Engagement Day:
To listen to the audio file from the National News Engagement Day Press Conference held on Tuesday, September 23, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., please click the link below: