Thursday, July 30, 2015

Your career starts here: takin' it from an intern, summer 2015 edition

I am so proud of our UMass Journalism interns, because they show how far you can go when you're willing to work hard, take a chance and apply. Sometimes students don't apply for big things because they fear rejection. This is a big mistake. My advice: apply already. What's the worst that could happen? And often enough, students are pleasantly surprised and they get the gig.

March and April are busy months as students figure out where to apply. We go over (and over!) their resumes and cover letters and talk about interviewing strategies. Then, we wait to hear if they've been accepted.

But the best month is this one, when I get to hear what they've done during the summer. Internships are often a life-and-career changers for students.

This summer, our students interned all over the place, from the Student Press Law Center in Washington, DC, to WBUR, WCVB, WGBH in Boston, Elle magazine in New York. Artscope in Boston. Each summer, I ask everyone to post about his or her experience, and, below you can find the accounts from this summer.

If you're a UMass Journalism student, I hope you'll consider an internship next summer. Come to my office and let's talk.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Job search chronicles: your digital professional credentials

If you're graduating and you've put off the job search until now (well, you must not have run into me in the hallway around the ILC!) here's my list of digital professional credentials. I've had a few students come in for resume work and tell me they'll get to their Linkedin profiles later. Big mistake. Have everything perfect and ready to go (including a professional photo) before you send out the resume.

1. A functional resume. This is a little different from what Career Services advises. I recommend it because it emphasizes your skills, and gives you a chance to sell these skills to an employer right out of the box. You can find a model of this resume in the Career Tips handouts on the right hand sidebar of this site. Remember that your campus media work is not an "activity," but "experience," and get it up high.

2. A solid LinkedIn profile. Spend some time on this. (You'll find LinkedIn advice in this blog, read through the posts!) Develop a well-written and edited summary with lots of keywords, and an emphasis on your solid skills and results.  Get a good professional photograph. Talk to profs or former employers or internship supervisors and ask to Link In with them, and ask if they'd provide a recommendation for you on your LinkedIn profile.

3. A digital portfolio with links to your published work. You can do this with a simple Wordpress site, or with a site like Pressfolios. Be sure to put a LinkedIn badge on your page. Get the code for your profile at LinkedIn.com/profiles/public-profile-settings. Your badge size options and the code is in the lower right hand column.

4. PDF's of ten of your best clips, in case an employer wants them printable. These should include breaking news, enterprise stories, features---a range of your best work--stored on Dropbox so you can access them anywhere and e-mail or print them as needed. This gives you the flexibility for employers who want hard copy.

5. Business cards. You can get these at Staples, or online at Vistaprint.com. On this card, you should have the LinkedIn address and your portfolio address.

6. A Google Plus profile.

Here's a post from Romenesko about how graduating journalism students should present their clips to potential employers. 


I'm available via e-mail to journalism alumni. Good luck!





Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Baking social into your journalism

At nearly every Amherstwire meeting, we start off with a presentation by social media editor Stephanie Ramirez, who pops our metrics up on the board. Google Analytics tells us which stories got the most readers in the past week (UMass Polo Team. Who knew?), and where those readers came from. (Facebook, mostly.) Then she takes us into our social measurements: Facebook likes and shares, Twitter followers and sharing. All growing, but how do we grow them more?

Each week, hopefully, anyway, we get a deeper understanding of the "social flow" of our stories, which ones "catch fire" and which ones don't, and we talk about why. Students pass around tips about how to get stories out there on Twitter, and other ways we might increase traffic.

The all-time record for social shares is Christina Gregg's Love Letter to UMass 2014, her graduation farewell, which was shared more than 5,000 times on Facebook and who knows how many on Twitter. Alums shared it with other alums and the rest is history.

Our publishing model has been: write the story then share it and see what happens.

But we might be looking at it the wrong way, I realized as I read today's Digiday post on the two popular data reporting sites, 538 and The Upshot.  We should probably be considering the social strategy as we develop our stories, at least for some of them. Granted, this post is about data reporting, but digital publishers of all types of content could learn from this post.

Here's the takeaway from Upshot editor David Leonhardt:

“We don’t think about how to take a print story and make it work on social. We just start by thinking about what works on social,” said Upshot’s Leonhardt. “The question is: ‘If you were going to produce a piece of New York Times-quality journalism that was designed for social, how would you do it?’” The answer, he said, is to start with content that is conversational and driven by numbers and visuals.
upshot

 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Using Twitter to get smarter

I'll be working with Amherstwire editors over the next few weeks to pick new editors for and figure out next year's game plan. I'd like to take the editors to New York for  the College Media Association conference next spring. We will also be building out our  digital tv site, amherstwire.tv, which will host student content produced in our broadcast courses, now that the fabulous new tv studio is up and running. And we want to do more work with other campus media; first goal is to integrate WMUA content into the page, starting by streaming their newscasts.

We're also hoping to do a redesign, using the Largo Project, a Wordpress template specifically for news sites, developed by the Institute for Nonprofit News, and available to use for free. So there's a lot going on.

Do we know what we're doing here? Not always. We try things and sometimes they work. That's digital entrepreneurship.

But increasingly, I'm finding that Twitter directs me to solutions. Here's how it can help you become a better journalist, and certainly help you keep up on digital developments.


Follow conferences: Every major journalism association hosts a conference each year, and nearly every panel presented is tweeted. You can find videos, PowerPoints, links and other great sources of information by following the hashtags on Twitter.

We're talking about some tremendously valuable information for  a young journalist, from groups like Investigative Reporters and Editors and NICAR, the Society of Professional Journalists and The Online News Association .

Today I'm following a conference I'd never heard of, the International Journalism Festival, taking place in Perugia, Italy. In between lovely photos of gelato and piazzas are tons of tweets from panels, with links to great info.

From following the #ijf15 hashtag, I found this Medium post by Mindy McAdams about her experience judging the Society of News Design competition--with a lot of great and not-so-great examples of  text and visual storytelling. This post really illustrates quite nicely what makes a well-designed multimedia news story, and what does not.

#NICAR15 is the hashtag for the Investigative Reporters and Editors conference for data journalists and digital reporters, which is an invaluable confab for  journalists. Here's the link to the audio of the panels, which include topics like The Art of the Interview, and Social Media Sleuthing, along with TONS of info on reporting. Here's a roundup of  Five Best Picks of the conference.

#ISOJ is the International Symposium of Online Journalism, taking place this week in Austin. Lots of useful content here, from how millennials look at the news to the importance of  coding in a journalist's toolbox.
Follow organizationsRe/Code, NiemanLab, JournalismTools.

Use Twitter to find sources: Here's a piece by Daniel Victor, a staff editor at the New York Times, that tells how he used a Twitter search to find sources for a story.

How are you using Twitter to get smarter?


Sunday, March 8, 2015

This and that on the job and internship application process

We're heading into primetime for job and internship applications, so I thought I'd post some links that might help you either find a job or internship, or make that application the best it can be.

Here goes.

This Salon.com post by Katherine Goldstein says everything I could say and much, much more. Read this once you have your cover letter draft done, and then revise accordingly.

Here's Matt Thompson on 10 Ways to make your journalism job application better than everyone else's. 

I'm telling first-year students and sophomores to have a strategic plan for that "third semester," aka "summer," in terms of building up to a competitive internship after junior year. To compete for the big ones, you'll need experience and clips at smaller outlets. And, as this useful post from Poynter.org points out, not just "a handful" of clips, but a really large body of work, whether that consists of stories for the Collegian or Amherstwire, or video clips.

When you have a large body of work to choose from,  it enables you to be more selective when you're looking for your best five clips to submit with an application. Plus, you're more experienced and skilled at the craft.



Thursday, February 12, 2015

Career tips roundup

We're halfway through this semester's Journalism Launchpad class and the "How are you doing?" check-in board has gone from despair to cautious optimism. Love that! If you're about to graduate or looking for an internship, and you couldn't fit the Launchpad Class into your schedule,  check out the books we use in this class, What Color is Your Parachute? (I actually prefer the 2013 version...) and The Success Principles.

Here are a few online resources we're also looking at as students are identifying opportunities and preparing their resumes and developing their interview chops. (Practice, practice, practice.)

Do you talk too much?  It can kill you in an interview, and it can  hurt your career.

The Muse is a great little site with some good posts about careers and job hunting. Here's one with some great tips on how job hunters can and should use social media.  You can also follow my Journalism Launchpad Twitter list for more tips: twitter.com/BJ_Roche/lists/thejournalismlaunchpad.
If there's a company you want to work for, you'd better be following it on Twitter. Here's a Mashable post on How to Find a Job on Twitter. 

Also from the Muse: This is what a video resume should look like.

And this: Five TED Talks to watch before your next interview.

From American Journalism Review: Four Skills Newsroom Recruiters Wish Candidates Had. 

How to Break Into the Magazine Business.

If you will be meeting with me for help finding a job or internship, do some homework first. I'm telling job hunters to check out the job boards on the right hand column of this blog and start hunting around. If you are looking for media jobs outside of New England, check out newslink.org, where you'll find lists of newspapers, television and radio stations by state. Go west, young person! Reach out to previous internship supervisors for leads. Get networking. In the Launchpad Class, students are required to speak with ten people each week about their goals. Think about it. In one month, you will have spoken to 40 people. Got to be some opportunities in some of those conversations. That's what networking is all about.

You should also do a saved search on Career Services website with the keywords that work for you. (See my online video tutorial below for help in this.)

I'm telling people to come to me with a list of 15 places you want to apply, along with a full resume, prepared like the model in the Career Tips handout in the right hand column here, and a basic cover letter. You should also have a solid Linkedin Profile and  a Pressfolios page or Wordpress site with clips of your work. That's a good start!

Then come see me.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The job you'll have doesn't exist yet. Here's how to get it.

A fun story this weekend in the New York Times about the Denver Post marijuana critic Jake Browne. No, really. This is a thing. Here's the takeaway:
Mr. Browne, 31, is the first marijuana critic for the newspaper — which means he is paid to smoke and review pot.
And, over at Vice,  another writer covers the "Weediquette" beat. 

The Denver Post also has a marijuana editor, Ricardo Baca, who not only covers the weedy waterfront, but also produces a newsletter on the topic called The Cannabist.  

Now you could argue that this is one more nail in the coffin of journalism of substance. But Colorado is one of two states that is engaged in a grand experiment: legal marijuana. This has spawned phenomenon like "weed weddings" and cannabis tours. 

And reports like this one. 

Also, social ills, as this Redditor pointed out in a recent post asking Colorado Redditors about the negative aspects of marijuana legalization.
[–]zbobet2012 818 points  
Here is one that most people don't think about, or bring up, but working in downtown I see quite often. Homelessness is up. No really, there is a significant number of young homeless people who moved to Denver for the legal weed.
The local homeless person population in Denver was a lot of really down and out people. A city with frequent sub 0 (f) (-18c) nights isn't a great place to be homeless. Since the legalization though I see a lot of people begging who easily fit into the "drifter" category, though with winter starting to come on strong some have started to move on.
 So there's a lot to write about pot in Colorado.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Come on, go for it! Summer internship application season starts now

If you're interested in applying for the more competitive summer journalism internships, you need to bet busy. Now! These internships generally have fall deadlines instead of spring. Here's a list, compliments of The Poynter Institute.

Please come by my office or sign up for an appointment, and I'll help you with resumes or other aspects of your application.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Easy video tutorial for Career Connect search

Lots of people have been asking me about how to find an internship or job. Here's your first step: a search on the  Career Services Website. 

In fact, even if you're not looking for a job or internship, Career Connect can give you some ideas about what employers are looking for so you can get the skills you need.

Check out my video tutorial , which I created on Jing, a really cool, free platform, and see if it works for you.