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Initials B.B.: An editor's advice to young journalists

Young journos take note. This post is full of good advice. Read it, learn it, live it.

basemboshra:

I’ve been thinking a lot about young journalists lately. Maybe it’s simply because I’ve been invited to speak to some journalism classes in the past few months and have been impressed by how many bright, intelligent and ambitious young people still want to be part of an industry that few seem…

(via basemboshra-deactivated20120613)

Filed under journalism young journalists media newspapers freelance

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Why I will no longer work for free

This article is written by Bethany Horne, who just finished her bachelor of journalism at the University of King’s College in Halifax.

She writes (emphasis mine):

I had to do an internship, to earn the right to graduate, so I didn’t fret over the ethical implications at the time.I do, now. Because my friends who had to do a short internship to graduate are now doing summer-long or longer ones, with no job in sight. The first foot in the door was kicked out, I guess.

It’s a sign of the times that a lot of journalists are not hired on after they complete their internships. I can’t say I think this is a bad thing, because I don’t.

Back in the days where everyone who seemingly had an internship had a job offered to them after said internship doesn’t strike me as right either. You should earn your job — not have it handed it to you.

Many people I know who interned somewhere invariably find work after said internship somewhere else. Who’s to say that internship that didn’t result in a job at the company where they interned didn’t play a part in them getting a job elsewhere?

Horne continues (again, my emphasis):

Unpaid internships may make the fortress accessible, sometimes, sure. But they only make it accessible to some people, the kind of people who are already over-represented inside. Those who can afford to work for free. So the young people who don’t come from the city, and who don’t come from money, are shit-out-of-luck. And what of anybody who has to support a family, either here or back home wherever home may be? We know of the taxi driver doctors, but how easy is it for a first generation immigrant to get into our media? They won’t do it through a lowly internship, that’s for sure.

I debated the whole paid-internship vs. unpaid internship thing in a blog post I wrote last year with Liem Vu (who’s interning at the Star this summer), so I won’t delve into it all again here, but I’ll reiterate: I’m not against unpaid internships.

Should papers owned by media giants pay their interns? Undoubtedly. But by writing off all unpaid internships, you could miss a great opportunity with a small startup or website.

For my first summer in Toronto in 2006, I interned with andpop.com. I was paid a small honourarium (maybe $500 for the entire summer) and my TTC costs were covered, but the tradeoff was well worth it. I got to interview celebrities and I got to write about the entertainment business, which was my dream writing gig. I was able to work the internship around my part-time job in the city and the summer university classes I took.

I’m not rich, but I’m glad I took that unpaid internship. It made me more confident in what I do and gave me a taste of what it might be like working for an entertainment publication full-time.

And there still are plenty of places that pay their interns — I currently intern for one of them.

Not all internships are bad, even the unpaid ones. Friends of mine who have taken unpaid internships at bigger papers didn’t regret it — and they didn’t come from privilege.

Experience is experience and the hungrier you are to get in the business, the more you are willing to do whatever it takes to do so — even if that means working at McDonald’s to pay the bills while you work at your unpaid internship during the day.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts: Should unpaid internships be written off completely?

Filed under journalism media internship new grads newspapers

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Coverage of the Anthony Weiner scandal was last week’s most-covered story, filling 17% of the newshole according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. It ranks as fourth all-time since PEW starting tracking news in January 2007 (the scandal surrounding former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich is No. 1).
Two thoughts:
1) I wonder how much would Bill Clinton’s sex scandal have eaten up if PEW was tracking things then?
2) Is it odd that I expected Weiner-gate to take up more of the newshole?

Coverage of the Anthony Weiner scandal was last week’s most-covered story, filling 17% of the newshole according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. It ranks as fourth all-time since PEW starting tracking news in January 2007 (the scandal surrounding former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich is No. 1).

Two thoughts:

1) I wonder how much would Bill Clinton’s sex scandal have eaten up if PEW was tracking things then?

2) Is it odd that I expected Weiner-gate to take up more of the newshole?

Filed under journalism newspapers coverage media television news

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This was a tweet sent out by the Poynter Institute on Thursday after the New York Times announced the appointment of Jill Abramson as the paper’s new executive editor (she takes over in September from Bill Keller).
In the Poynter post written by Jill Geisler, Geisler sees this as a big victory for Abramson — and for women journalists everywhere.
She writes:

According to the latest ASNE census,  women hold just 34.6 percent of the supervisory roles at today’s  newspapers. Abramson’s promotion doesn’t move the needle much on that  number right now. But it can help.

Geisler states three things that may be accomplished by Abramson’s appointment:
 It may influence publishers to promote women — who they might of overlooked — to top-level management 
It may help women stay in the industry long enough to be promoted to those top-level jobs
And it can help motivate female journalism students that they too might one day be a top-level manager.
Geisier notes she came of age in the 1970s when women were not welcomed in newsrooms, and faced stereotypes and harassment in the workplace.
I did not come of age at this time and in the 10-plus years I have been in the business, I’ve never had a problem with anyone in any newsroom treating me any different because I’m a woman.
I wonder if the reason so few women are in these positions because a) they’re not old enough to be in them yet (senior managers are not usually part of the younger demographic); or b) because they just don’t want them.
I think it’s great the New York Times has hired its first female executive editor, and I hope other papers follow suit.
But I hope they do so because the woman in question is deserving, not just because the Times did it.

This was a tweet sent out by the Poynter Institute on Thursday after the New York Times announced the appointment of Jill Abramson as the paper’s new executive editor (she takes over in September from Bill Keller).

In the Poynter post written by Jill Geisler, Geisler sees this as a big victory for Abramson — and for women journalists everywhere.

She writes:

According to the latest ASNE census, women hold just 34.6 percent of the supervisory roles at today’s newspapers. Abramson’s promotion doesn’t move the needle much on that number right now. But it can help.

Geisler states three things that may be accomplished by Abramson’s appointment:

  • It may influence publishers to promote women — who they might of overlooked — to top-level management
  • It may help women stay in the industry long enough to be promoted to those top-level jobs
  • And it can help motivate female journalism students that they too might one day be a top-level manager.

Geisier notes she came of age in the 1970s when women were not welcomed in newsrooms, and faced stereotypes and harassment in the workplace.

I did not come of age at this time and in the 10-plus years I have been in the business, I’ve never had a problem with anyone in any newsroom treating me any different because I’m a woman.

I wonder if the reason so few women are in these positions because a) they’re not old enough to be in them yet (senior managers are not usually part of the younger demographic); or b) because they just don’t want them.

I think it’s great the New York Times has hired its first female executive editor, and I hope other papers follow suit.

But I hope they do so because the woman in question is deserving, not just because the Times did it.

Filed under Media Journalism Women Newspapers New York Times

4,787 notes &

What I Learned In Joplin

All of Brian Stetler’s Joplin coverage for the New York Times was really, really neat. This is a great wrap by Stetler on it.

thedeadline:

I’m going to write this in a stream of consciousness, the same way I experienced Joplin.

It was my first time covering — more accurately, trying to cover — a disaster. The National desk knows I am a weather geek, so I came close to covering the tornadoes in North Carolina in April, and then the tornadoes in Alabama earlier this month. But the timing wasn’t right in either case.

This time, it was. I happened to be awake at 2 a.m. for a 6 a.m. ET flight to Chicago on Monday morning, just 12 hours after the tornado struck in Joplin. While in the air, I wondered if I should volunteer to go there. When I landed, I looked at the departure board and saw that a flight was leaving for Kansas City in 45 minutes. On a whim, I walk-ran to the gate and asked if I could buy a standby ticket. The agent said yes.

Two calls to New York later, I booked the 8 a.m. CT flight. I told the National desk that I’d be in Joplin at noon local time. I had no maps, no instructions, no boots. I had a notebook but no pen.

What I learned: always carry extra pens.

My cell phone was dying, but I reserved a car online before take-off. On the flight, I wrote a blog post about Oprah.

I was in the rental car at 9:45 and on the highway three minutes later. 176 miles to go, fueled by granola bars purchased at Whole Foods the day before. On the way, there was a conference call with the National desk. I was to travel to the ruined hospital and try to interview doctors, patients and other survivors. My worry, of course, was that the survivors would be far away from the hospital.

Monica Davey, a Times correspondent in Chicago, texted me the hospital address. My iPhone, now charging through my laptop, showed the way ahead. But as I approached Joplin, cell service began to degrade dramatically.

I’m aware that what I’m going to say next will probably sound petty, given the scope of the tragedy I was witnessing. But the lack of cell service was an all-consuming problem. Rescue workers and survivors struggled with it just as I did.

What I learned: It’s easy to scoff at the suggestion that satisfactory cell service is a matter of national security and necessity. But I won’t scoff anymore. If I were planning a newsroom’s response to emergencies, I would buy those backpacks that have six or eight wireless cards in them, all connected to different cell tower operators, thereby upping the chances of finding a signal at any given time.

This is my first time coming upon a natural disaster as a reporter. I suppose my instinct should be “first, do no harm.”

Entering Joplin, I drove along 32nd Street, the south side of the devastated neighborhood, getting my bearings, wondering if it was safe to drive over power lines, looking for a place to leave my car. I parked a block from the south side of the hospital and approached on foot, taking as many pictures as possible, knowing I’d need them later to remember what I was seeing.

I tried to talk to a couple of nurses. They said they were not allowed to.

I started trying to upload pictures to Instagram. It sometimes took what seemed like ten minutes of refreshing to upload just one picture.

A view of the north side of the hospital in Joplin. http://instagr.am/p/EoTHO/

What I learned: In areas with spotty service, Instagram and Twitter apps need to be able to auto-upload until the picture or tweets gets out. (I’m sure there’s a technical term for this.)

I walked to 26th Street, north of the hospital, where the satellite trucks had piled up, and found The Weather Channel crew that had arrived in Joplin just after the storm. After interviewing the crew, we watched the search of a flattened house. That’s when I was able to see the extent of the damage to the neighborhood for the first time.

I’m speechless.

Part of me thought, “This is a television story more than a print story.” It was an appeal to the heart more than the brain.

I started trying to tweet everything I saw — the search of the rubble pile, the sounds coming from the hospital, the dazed look on peoples’ faces.

Read More

Filed under Journalism Newspapers Social Media socialmedia Behind the scenes

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In 2010, Web advertising in the United States surpassed print advertising for the first time, reaching $26 billion. But only a small fraction of that, perhaps less than a fifth, went to news organizations. The largest share, roughly half, went to search engines, primarily Google. The newspaper industry illustrates the problem. Even though about half the audience may now be accessing papers online, the newspaper industry took in $22.8 billion last year in print ad revenue but only $3 billion in Web-based revenue.
Five myths about the future of journalism - The Washington Post (via matthewhayles)

(via matthewhayles)

Filed under Journalism Internet Newspapers

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The Hamilton Spectator's Jon Wells is currently on Day 2 of a 5-day walking tour of Hamilton.
Along the way, he’s tweeting, taking video and pictures of his surroundings (here’s an interactive map of his journey). The team at the Spec puts all of Wells’ pieces together in pretty neat Storifys like this one.
Wells announced the project in a column published on Monday:

I’ll deliver the entire trip in real time to readers on thespec.com,  filing play-by-play tweets, photos and video along the way. I’ll also  interview special guests live on camera each day.
Adding intrigue to the project is the fact that I have never in my  life canoed or hiked, strictly speaking. I was never even in scouts. (I  was a Beaver at one point but lost my uniform.)

What’s really cool about this project is that it appears to be online-first and that nothing is running concurrently in the paper. From Wells:

In addition to the multimedia coverage next week, assuming I emerge from  the trip in one piece, I will write a story about it in the newspaper  at a later date.

Now that’s web-forward.

The Hamilton Spectator's Jon Wells is currently on Day 2 of a 5-day walking tour of Hamilton.

Along the way, he’s tweeting, taking video and pictures of his surroundings (here’s an interactive map of his journey). The team at the Spec puts all of Wells’ pieces together in pretty neat Storifys like this one.

Wells announced the project in a column published on Monday:

I’ll deliver the entire trip in real time to readers on thespec.com, filing play-by-play tweets, photos and video along the way. I’ll also interview special guests live on camera each day.

Adding intrigue to the project is the fact that I have never in my life canoed or hiked, strictly speaking. I was never even in scouts. (I was a Beaver at one point but lost my uniform.)

What’s really cool about this project is that it appears to be online-first and that nothing is running concurrently in the paper. From Wells:

In addition to the multimedia coverage next week, assuming I emerge from the trip in one piece, I will write a story about it in the newspaper at a later date.

Now that’s web-forward.

Filed under Canada Multimedia Newspapers Twitter Video Journalism

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Many (Montreal) Gazette readers will have read or heard about the New York Times and other major newspapers in Britain and the United States moving to a “paid content” model for their online products … A number of other U.S. papers closer in size and content to The Gazette have also started asking online readers to pay for unlimited access to all their content, which previously was largely underwritten by readers and advertisers of the print product.

We at The Gazette have decided to follow suit, starting today.

Montreal Gazette publisher Alan Allnutt announcing the paper’s new paywall, which starts today. (Fellow Postmedia paper the Victoria Times Colonist is also following suit.)

Filed under journalism Paywall Newspapers Canada

3 notes &

From Poynter:

The New York Times is turning off the automatic feed for its main  Twitter account this week in an experiment to determine if a human-run,  interactive approach will be more effective.

Good idea or bad idea?
IMO, it’s likely the former (and about time!). I wonder how many other news organizations will follow suit after the Times announcement.
I also wonder what relationship — if any — this move has with the Times paywall.

From Poynter:

The New York Times is turning off the automatic feed for its main Twitter account this week in an experiment to determine if a human-run, interactive approach will be more effective.

Good idea or bad idea?

IMO, it’s likely the former (and about time!). I wonder how many other news organizations will follow suit after the Times announcement.

I also wonder what relationship — if any — this move has with the Times paywall.

Filed under journalism Media Newspapers Social media Twitter