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Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

For fans of WireTap…or not – I suggest you take a look at the awesome opportunity below. You don’t need a journalism degree to apply – just a degree.

Who: Wiretap Magazine

What: Arts & Culture Journalism Fellowship

When: The deadline is May 1, 2009

Where: Anywhere you are – but if you are currently residing in San Francisco or New York, consider yourself lucky to have an office to report to

Why:

  • You get to have your work published (and paid for it!)
  • Sharpen your journalism chops and get JOURNALIST boot camp
  • Cover emerging arts, artists and art communities. So cool. Period

Good Luck!!!

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newspapersLast night, I attended the Association of Women Journalists annual meeting. Initially, I was there to promote my NPO, but it didn’t quite turn out that way. 

In hindsight, it may have not been the best venue to pitch our organization, but I got some great information that I want to share with you.  

Jane Hirt, newly minted Managing Editor of the Chicago Tribune, served as the event’s guest speaker. As she centered on the crisis of newspapers and media, Ms. Hirt gave the expected “anti-hunker down” pep talk.

Essentially, journalism is changing. Get used to it.

Wanting information will never go away, but how that information is accessed will always evolve. If that includes moving from one platform to another, then I consider it a small (albeit, inconvenient) change. 

Nonetheless, her suck it up speech was palatable. Mostly, it was because she didn’t sound like a jerk. Nevertheless, how can you sound like a jerk when you have a smile like that?

If you dislike change, you’re going to like irrelevancy even less.

Maybe journalists take themselves too seriously. Perhaps, so seriously that change seems too ludicrous to even consider. Change, however, is about the ridiculous. There’s very little room (if any) for staid conformity and static values.

In a world where it’s possible to meet your lover or wife online, how can journalists not expect to have their own medium do the same?  Being productive involves remaining relevant. Remaining relevant has nothing to do with the phrase “staying the same” – no matter how much you convince yourself otherwise.

The world likes to fall into this trap of thinking when it comes to success, “Well, that was them and we’re not them.” But, you  know what? They were not always who they were. In other words, Oprah wasn’t always Oprah (as she is now) and online journalism wasn’t always online journalism (as it is now).

So, if you insist on believing that change involves some instantaneous and overnight boom of recognition, creativity and wonderfulness – then close your eyes and wait. While you’re at it – hold your breath.

Widen the scope of your competition.

Ms. Hirt mentioned that when she started RedEye, she wasn’t just competing with other newspapers. She was competing with how people chose to spend their time. Books, sleep, ipods and blackberrys were her competitors as well and factors to consider when launching a newspaper geared toward the 18 to 34 set. 

Consider that the “spirit” of competition is not just about becoming the next Google or Apple. You aren’t just competing with other bloggers or journalists. Remember what you are vying for: people’s time or money (or both) and how they choose to spend it.

Insist on riskiness if you insist on longevity. Manage reinvention…and stay on your toes.

People mistake that if you’ve been around for a long time, you probably don’t have to reinvent yourself. Or, shouldn’t need it. This reminds me of a podcast with Guy Kawasaki and Penelope Trunk mentioning the “democratization” one can enable.

In other words, what are you freeing up (or locking down)?  What ways are you creating access to your product or information? Are you (re)inventing opportunities for people to access it?

Simply, are you a connector or a disconnector?

Reinvention involves risk. But, everyone knows that. And, people like to take what they call “calculated risks.” But, those are iffy too, because the payoffs can be so variable. Even failure can be the better reward.

If you got everything right the first time, how do you know if you are doing anything truly meaningful?

Millennials and a woman’s style of management. Common sense meets youth?

As Millennials enter the workforce, baby boomer-esque management styles will inevitably need to transform. Gen Y’s are less tolerant of the once-a-year performance evaluation and the Big Boss you never see 25 floors up. 

We want collaboration, less hierarchy and to be treated as peers (not wage slave underlings). We take soul searching to the edge because we cultivate our own fulfillment to the maximum. We give ourselves space to grow and opportunities to grow it. That’s where our loyalties lie.

Ms. Hirt mentions that a woman’s style of management appeals more to the Gen Y job seeker. Yet, I like to think that a desiring collaboration has little to do with the womanly style of management (and more to do with common sense). 

It can mean all the difference between a dying industry and a dead one.

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reporter-at-typewriterFor those of you familiar with Dan Savage, his latest column features some pretty basic career advice to a college co-ed with an unconventional career problem. In short, the writer expresses losing passion for her current major of study (journalism) and has decided she rather pursue online fetish modeling.

The “Kinky Co-ed” asks Dan Savage what’s the best way to approach her family with the (possible) career change.

Wow.

Who would have thought job advice from a famed sex advice columnist would be so…blah?

In usual Savage fashion, he plainly responds by explaining that the newspaper business and the world of fetish modeling (actually, he says porn) are equally suffering a downturn. This is further complicated by the the democratization of information and creative content online.

The willingness and ability to do stuff for free (and therefore, broadcast the product via the internet) has changed the landscape of professional developement. Anybody can read the NY Times headliners with the click of a mouse, similarily, there are just as many people freely publishing (fetish) photos online.

Savage remarks that she’d be better off going into a career with more job security like banking or real estate.

Dita Von Teese would be floored.

But (in this case) Savage is right. Well, not exactly. He has a point – but he’s squashing the poor girl’s dreams way too soon. It’s the same premise that revolves around the mindset of attempting to make hundreds of dollars from blogging.

Although, there are exceptions to the rule and some people do make a good living from just having a blog – it takes time, work and lots more time.

Whether or not you are in college, when grappling with the idea of changing majors (or careers) be innovative, curious and open to reinventing yourself. And, most of all, be smart. Kinky Coed is obviously dismissing all the possibilities that could come from her journalism training.

Embark on a complete shift when professional passion wanes, this will inject it with energy while you discover its edge.

Combining two seemingly unrelated topics and making them relevant is a great way to start. Perhaps Kinky Coed could chronicle the life of aspiring fetish models (using her journalism skills) while setting up shop for her own racier interests?

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Earlier this week, Harold Washington Public Library hosted a panel discussion titled, “Journalism: New and Now – How to Tell Our Stories.” For all you fledgling (or not so fledgling) journalists, filmmakers, writers, bloggers and whatever else – check out the podcast featuring Allison Cuddy, Luis Alberto Urrea, Steve James, and Alex Kotlowitz.

The central topic of discussion revolved around Tom Wolfe’s essay, “The New Journalism.” Wolfe declares that non-fiction storytelling would always trump fictional storytelling. The moderator began the discussion by questioning the relevance of the term “new journalism” as well as circling topics related to the guiding principles of journalism, information immediacy versus the process of storytelling and differences in narrative abroad. The panelists touched upon new ideas associated with storytelling with respect to the explosion of narrative in media, the natural progression towards varied types of storytelling and the inter-connectedness of audience, writer and subject.

The grittiness that resides in non-fiction narratives will, in most ways, always surpass fictional ones.  This is not to imply that fiction doesn’t garner attention towards serious subject matter, or can’t (in its own way) tether itself to ideas that compel its audience to understand various realities.  Philosophically, Wolfe’s opinion originates from the idea that fiction focuses on the question of “What if?” whereas non-fiction is openly centered on “What is.”  This single factor is the driving force of non-fiction narrative and the singularly most confrontational component in “new journalism.”

Comparably, as in film, there is a necessary suspension of disbelief obliviously applied to fictional stories that cannot be justifiably directed to non-fiction. As such, readers are confronted with a very real and true situation that, whether they like it or not, are forced to imagine because it actually exists. The acknowledgement of this existence is what gives non-fiction its trump – its intrinsic value hinges on being cognizant of recognizing the story within the real.

For all those aspiring writers, journalists, etc. in the universe – how do you feel about the idea that truth will always trump fiction?

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