Thursday, April 14, 2016

If you're registering for summer internship credits...

If you are registering for a summer internship, please get in touch with me via email or appointment to determine how many credits you will be earning.

If you are in the Sports Journalism Concentration, you must do a three-credit internships to meet the requirement.

This screencast explains how the Academic Contract and registration process works. If you have any questions, please come by my office or email me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Summer Internship starting line: your digital professional credentials

If you're gearing up for an internship search, you need to have your credentials ready to go. Here are my three suggestions. A few students have 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. I recommend the functional resume, which s a little different from what Career Services advises, because it emphasizes your skills, and gives you a chance to sell these skills to an employer right out of the box. Sometimes you can "jump the line" because you have a particular skill that an employer is looking for. 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 terrific site like Pressfolios. Be sure to put a LinkedIn badge on your page. Get the code for your profile at 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 On this card, you should have the LinkedIn address and your portfolio address.

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

I'm available to help you out on Thursdays. Sign up online via my calendar at the top of the right hand column on this page. See you soon!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Job search chronicles: crazy new job titles and what they mean

I'm getting ready to teach the Journalism Launchpad class and gathering materials that can help students figure out what they want to do and where they want to do it. The class is full, but I hope to post updates that everyone can use.

Each time I teach this class, I have to re-do much of the content, because the job market in most fields is in a constant state of change. The reasons: the economy, technology and changes in emergent and social media. This year, part of the job landscape includes job titles that most people have never heard of.

We used to say that we try to prepare you for jobs that haven't been invented yet. I'm going to add to that...and we don't even know the names of. Here are a few.

The platform wrangler/platform ambassador/platform yadda yadda. This position serves as a liaison with the various content platforms being used by media brands, according to a post on Digiday:
Vox Media is hiring for a director of partner platforms, who will “establish and own the relationship with all major content platforms” such as Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, as well as work with Vox’s own product, edit and revenue teams to provide editorial strategy direction, according to a job posting. CNN is planning to build a team dedicated to off-platform distribution under Andrew Morse, GM of CNN Digital, an acknowledgment that managing platforms “can’t be a part-time thing,” he said.
The Engagement Editor. Take a look.

Have you got the right stuff to become a Meme Librarian? 

Or what about:  Chief Rainmaker and Storyteller?

I just attended a journalism conference where one of the speakers worked for the BBC test-driving social media and chat apps to figure out how the Beeb could use these tools in news gathering and distribution, whether it's a silly use of the app, Yo, or figuring out how to deliver news in African nations, where the cellphone is ubiquitous, but data streams are limited (so no one clicks on links.) How cool is that? 

If you do it right, the journalism major provides you with a wide range of flexible, transferrable skills, like reporting, writing, production and audience building. Lots of companies and non-profit organizations need these skills, and you can find rewarding work in places that you just can't even imagine.    

So how do you get these gigs? First, get some experience at a campus media outlet. Every student media outlet either does or should have these positions on staff. If they don't, volunteer to start one. Several students who have worked at have scored internships from this experience. Same with The Collegian, WMUA and UVC.

Second, take it on yourself to learn everything you can about how these systems work. You won't learn everything you'll need in your classes.  The good news is that there are a lot of online resources that you could be reading every day. There are online courses at Khan Academy, Udemy, Coursera, and YouTube. There are digital publications like Neiman Reports, The Poynter Institute and others, on the right hand column of this page. Read 'em regularly.

Third, keep up with the tech industry. Every company is a tech company now. Keep up with developments in social media and the growth of new platforms. And I don't just mean having a Hootesuite account. I mean understanding what big moves Zuckerberg might be making when it comes to the news business. If you don't know what Instant Articles are yet, then get to work.

I'm pumping up my Twitter list, which includes job and internship postings and lots of tips. Subscribe to it: and follow me @BJ_Roche.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Straight talk about internships from UMass Journalism students

Hannah Yoo, at her summer internship in New York with some guy at ABC World News Tonight
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.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Apply now for 2016 competitive internships!

If you've done a few local internships and you're interested in a higher level, BIG DEAL  summer internship,  at a place like The Boston Globe, The New York Times or The Washington Post, NOW is the time to apply. 

Here's  a list of these internships. 

Here's info from the American Society of Magazine Editors 2016 Internship Program

I will help you build your application package if you need it. It's a personal goal of mine to get a UMass Journalism student into the super-competitive Boston Globe Summer Internship program. Let's kick a little private school butt, shall we?

These programs get hundreds of applications for about a dozen slots. It will not be easy and odds are that you won't get in on the first try. Apply anyway. You'll learn a lot, and the judges will remember you next time.

Before we meet, please take a look at the posts below and be sure that you have a solid resume prepared according to my Career Tips Handout in the right hand column of this page, as well as a Pressfolios or Wordpress site with your clips, and a solid Linkedin profile. Get your Twitter feed up and running and tweet some smart things. (I recently had an editor tell me she would have hired a student, but that she wished he was a better tweeter.)

I want to see the package that you'd be sending out, and we'll make sure it best represents you and your work. Let's roll, Kato.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Six ways to get back on track by Halloween. Make that seven.

                                                                                                                                         Getty Images
Several years ago, a student in my first-year student seminar stayed a little bit after class to talk. This student looked and seemed pretty disheartened: slumped shoulders, scowly face. I could see the signs of a student who was ready to toss in the maroon towel.

"What happened to you?" I asked.

The reply: "Halloween."

Having experienced a few UMass Halloweens back in the day, I knew where this student was. Sure, that weekend celebration can be a lot of fun. But if you're not in good academic and emotional shape, Halloween can become your semester's Waterloo. It's the mid-point, the point where it becomes clear that you've taken on, or neglected, way too much. You might not be happy with your grades so far. Add in the usual stresses, roommate meltdowns, parental pressure, exhaustion, dead goldfish and you may be asking yourself: "What the heck am I even doing here?"

Don't let this happen to you. Here are a few tips for staying, or getting back, on track in October.

1. If you're stressing, ask whether you're experiencing a temporary bump or real signs of depression. College is a big transition, and an NIMH study found that about a third of college students reported feeling "so depressed that it was difficult to function" in the previous year. So it's a good idea to consider whether you might need some professional help. (And if you have had professional help in the past, it might be time for a tune-up.) If you see these symptoms in a roommate or friend, don't be afraid to reach out and encourage this person to get some help. This is how community works. You can start by connecting with the UMass Counseling Center. The center can offer you counseling services and work with you to manage your issues.

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.


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,, 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 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 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.