Posted in Education, Equipment, multimedia journalist, Social Media

Friday Fast Five + Five

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

As usual, I have an overloaded bookmark folder with stuff I want to pass along.  So until I find the time to whittle down the pile, you’ll be getting five plus five until further notice.  For newer readers, I do this column every Friday of interesting tools, technology, websites and tips that can help you do your job as a journalist better.  Enjoy!

  1. 10000 WordsFive ways to visualize your personal data. I found the Tweet stats website to be particularly insightful, since I oversee five different accounts.
  2. Adam Westbrook10 free and totally legal programs every multimedia journalist should have. I’m one of those people who likes to try all the latest programs. Some I use suggested here include GIMP, Audacity and Instapaper.
  3. NetworkedStreamlining your social media posting: How to update more than one site at a time. Between my work and personal life, I’m juggling several social media sites, so you need to control that. The suggestions here are good, but I’m a BIG fan of TweetDeck, which lets me manage my Twitter accounts and my various Facebook pages.
  4. Journalists’ Toolkit — 7 Do’s and Don’ts for Video on Point-and-Shoot Cameras.  For those who are still using these types of cameras for shooting video, these are some good tips.
  5. Mashable46 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed.  I love it when Mashable does this list, because I always manage to find something I haven’t used before.  This time I discovered the following: HOW TO: Avoid and Prevent Facebook Spam; 7 Superb Short Films Shot With Cellphones; and HOW TO: Launch Any Product Using Social Media.
  6. MakeUseOf — 5 Cool Ways To Make Use Of National Geographic Maps.  Here’s an alternative to the usual map suspects.
  7. Teaching Online JournalismIdeas for using Encyclo in journalism classes. While this post is targeted to teachers, aren’t we all trying to keep up with the latest tools in journalism? Encyclo can help.
  8. Innovative Interactivity IIHosting options for multimedia websites.  Thinking about finally getting that new website off the ground?  This post tells you the best places to host said website.
  9. Vadim LavrusikNew to Twitter? Here Are 12 Tips From the Community. As I watch more and more friends jumping onto Twitter, this is a handy guide from the guy who is now running Facebook’s project to attract more journalists.
  10. PC World12 Must-Have Android Apps for Road Warriors.  I’m an iPhone user, but plenty of my peeps out there (hi @brandonvivo!) are addicted to their Android phones, so I’m showing them the love.
Posted in journalism, multimedia journalist

NABJDigital Reviews The “New” Ebony Magazine

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

I grew up the daughter of an Air Force officer.  My dad joined the Air Force in the mid-1960s, just around the time the military began bringing on more officers.  I grew up all over the world, and with that there were two constants in my life — the Sears catalog and Ebony magazine.

My parents felt it was important that we saw our heritage in a magazine that highlighted what they felt was the best of black America.  We got to read about our culture and see — in print — achievers (besides my dad) profiled.

But when we moved back to the states, somehow, the subscription lapsed and other magazines filled the void.   Then a funny thing happened. I received an offer from the Urban League for a free, one-year subscription to Ebony.  And I signed up.

My timing was great — it happened to be the March issue, which was the first under a major redesign spearheaded by CEO Desireé Rogers and Editor-in-Chief Amy DuBois Barnett. It was Comedians issue, “edited” by Kevin Hart.  I loved the new design, from the open layout to the great stories that I felt were relevant in my life.

Senior Editor Adrienne Samuels Gibbs took a look at how generations are changing their views on faith and church attendance. Touré handled the covers story on comedians Steve Harvey, Monique and Chris Rock. And Keith Reed had an insightful interview with Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

It only got better in the April issue, which featured the cast of “Jumping The Broom” on its cover, written by my favorite entertainment writer Kelley L. Carter.  Living in Baltimore, I was glad to read the story “Without a Trace,” by Francie Latour, which featured the story of the disappearance (and subsequent death) of Phylicia Barnes.

And the quality of the publication continued in May, the Music issue, which featured a cover story on Jill Scott by Kelley Carter, with fantastic photos by Steven Gomillion and Dennis Leupold.  The story was informative and entertaining without getting too much into Scott’s personal business.   I was mesmerized by Lyah Beth LeFlore‘s story “The First King of Bling,” a fascinating story on the rise and fall of Andre Harrell and his Uptown Records.

No publication these days is worth its salt without a strong website and a vibrant iPad app, and Ebony is in the mix.  There’s a nice platform of photos and multimedia (I loved the video on the Jill Scott photo shoot and the photo gallery from this year’s Oscars). There’s also a good mix of stories that aren’t included in the magazine, keeping content fresh.

While I’m glad that Ebony is blogging, I’d like to see more from staff and contributors, although I do like that they linked up with Clutch magazine. The magazine is active on social media, with accounts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

I’m a bit spoiled by my other magazines, which offer iPad access as part of my subscription.  Ebony charges everyone $3.99 an issue for its iPad version, and I’m reluctant to pay for something I feel should be a part of my subscription.  But I absolutely love that the magazine’s entire 65-year archive is available via a partnership with Google.

I recommend reading a blog post on Huffington Post by Zondra Hughes, deputy editor of Rolling Out, on the future of black publications. But the work that Ebony has done so far has made it much more likely to be one of the long-term survivors in an industry that continues to watch publications fold.

Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Education, Innovation, journalism

Dear Mom & Dad: Had A Great Time At SparkCamp! Weather Was Fine. Love, Benet

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

So I’m minding my own business, and I get an email back in March inviting me to this thing called SparkCamp June 10-12 at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.  According to the email, this inaugural SparkCamp was  described as “a focused but free-spirited conversation about journalism and media pivoting on a broad theme: `real-time.'”

The event brought together a wide range of participants covering what the organizers called a diverse range of disciplines to explore new ideas and new possibilities in this thing we call journalism.  The organizers, led by Amy Webb of Webbmedia, built SparkCamp along the lines of News Foo Camp, held in December 2010 at Arizona State University.

The event used the unconference format, bringing together people “inside and outside of the news universe” so we could all learn from each other.  We had representatives from traditional and new media, along with representatives from different companies that offer the tools and technology that help us do our jobs better. We even had a few folks from the advertising side of the house to offer their perspective.

I love the unconference format. For the uninitiated, unconference attendees create the panels before and during the event, and attendees also choose which ones they like best.  Instead of being lectured from upon high by a moderator and panelists, sessions have a leader, but everyone in the room is involved in the discussion.

I was thrilled that my session on helping a traditional newsroom adapt more quickly to the new digital world order made the cut.  Other sessions dealt with topics including mastering timelines, next-gen tools, focusing on mobile websites, not apps and how to use crowdsourcing.  There were things that I knew, but there was a lot I didn’t know — and that was OK.  Everyone was on different levels, but no one was made to feel like they were dumb because they didn’t understand some program or a string of acronyms.  We all had something to bring to the table.

There were many great things I loved about SparkCamp, but one that I thought was a stroke of genius was that each invitee had to bring a plus one (mine was Melanie Eversley, DJTF treasurer and an editor at USA Today.)  I felt having us bring a plus one brought a great diversity (in the broadest sense of the word) to the group.  Another great thing was I got to meet folks I’ve followed — and admired — on Twitter, along with meeting others I didn’t know, but was also glad to meet.  And who knew there were so many other aviation geeks among my SparkCamp compatriots (I’m talking to you, BMc and JO’K)??

I came away from SparkCamp energized and still hopeful about the direction of journalism.  If you’re on Twitter, you can follow our conversation via the hashtag #SparkCamp.  And allow me to create a SparkCamp edition of my Friday fast Five and share a tiny amount of the things I learned at SparkCamp:

  1. Arab spring: an interactive timeline of Middle East protests — the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper created this cool, 3D interactive timeline to illustrate key events during this seminal — and ongoing — event.
  2. Japan: After the Wave — used Storify to curate stories in the aftermath (still ongoing) of the tsunami that hit Japan on March 11.
  3. KING5-TV: Stories from February 2001 to March 2011 — this Seattle television station uses the timeline program Intersect to create a storyline.
  4. The Society of Professional Journalists’ Toolbox — SPJ updates this website regularly with all kinds of sites and tools that make our jobs easier and make us more efficient.
  5. The Brain — this is, as the creators say, “designed to help you organize information the way you think. ” You actually have to see it in action to believe it.


Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Education, journalism, Webinars

Calendar of Multimedia Training, Events & Fellowships

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

Wednesday, June 15 is the LAST day to pre-register for this year’s National Association of Black Journalists’ Annual Convention and Career Fair in Philadelphia Aug. 3-7, 2011.  The current rate is $380, but that jumps to $800 on June 16.  Click HERE to register, and I hope to see you there!

Webbmedia Group has a great calendar of events that catches things not covered below.  If you want to subscribe to the calendar, click hereYou can also subscribe to this calendar so the information appears on your personal Google Calendar. Just go to the Webbmedia Google calendar, click the “+Google Calendar” icon at the bottom right, and then click “Yes, add this calendar” in the dialog box.)

The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State University has updated its calendar of free workshops and webinars through September.  And Media Bistro has its current course list available through December.





  • The Blogging While Brown conference will be held July 8-10 in Los Angeles.  The conference provides continuing technology education and networking opportunities to an audience primarily comprised of African American digital media content creators.
  • Media Bistro is holding an online Entrepreneurial Journalism Boot Camp July 12-Aug. 30.  The camp features online entrepreneurs Rafat Ali (paidContent), Michelle Madhok (SheFinds Media), Laurel Touby (, and many more. Learn what to consider when launching your start-up. Draft your business plan over eight weeks with the help of your peers. Participants will vote on the most viable business plans in the group and the winner will have the chance to hear feedback from entrepreneur and venture capitalist Larry Kramer (Polaris Ventures), who will also answer questions from the group. The cost is $399 if you register by June 14; after that, it’s $499.
  • The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism is holding a free Webinar, “Unlocking Financial Statements,” July 18-22.  The weeklong online seminar covers income statements, balance sheets, cash flows and writing about numbers.



  • The National Association of Black Journalists is holding its annual convention and career fair Aug. 3-7, 2011, in Philadelphia.  Professional journalists, students and educators will take part in full- and half-day seminars designed to strengthen and enhance their skills. Workshops throughout the five-day convention will highlight journalism ethics, entrepreneurship, specialized journalism and transitioning journalism skills to book publishing, screen writing and media relations.
  • The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) will host a Student Mentorship and Training Program at its annual LGBT Media Summit & Convention Aug. 25 to 28 in Philadelphia. Each year, NLGJA chooses students from across the country to participate in its student project — providing real-world experience to undergraduate and graduate students who are considering a career in journalism. To apply, students simply fill out an application, attaching the requested items found on the NLGJA website, and return them to NLGJA by June 10.  If chosen, NLGJA will pay for the selected student’s convention attendance, airfare, food and hotel at the convention site.





  • Blogalicious will he held Oct. 21-23 in Washington, D.C.  Founded in 2009, the Blogalicious Weekend conferences are aimed at celebrating the diversity of women of all ethnicities in social media.



  • BlogWorld & New Media will be held Nov. 3-5 in Los Angeles.  The conference is the first and only industry-wide conference, tradeshow and media event dedicated to blogging, podcasting, social media, social networking, online video, music, Internet TV and radio. The New Media Expo provides the only industry-wide new media marketplace for networking, online business and marketing resources, while the Social Media Business Summit is the world’s largest social media business conference where business owners, marketing executives and global brands learn strategies, tools and technologies to grow their businesses with social media. Register at with the promo code MASH20 to save 20% off the ticket price!

If you have any items that I’ve missed, please drop me an email via the DJTF Yahoo! Listserv or at regaviationqueen AT yahoo DOT com.  Thanks!

Posted in Conferences & Conventions, journalism

Still Not Registered For NABJ 2011? Let Members Convince You

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

Today, June 10, marks only five more days before pre-registration ends for the 2011 NABJ Annual Convention & Career Fair.  After June 15, the rate jumps from a reasonable $380 to $800.   So maybe it would help to hear from other NABJ member who plan on attending this year’s activities in Philadelphia.

Marcus Osborne, Your Straight Male Friend, San Francisco – I’ll be there to re-charge! NOTHING compares to the energy boost of an NABJ convention! It’s better than Gatorade!

Jummy Olabanji, ABC-7 Reporter, Washington, D.C. –  This year, for the first time ever, I’m simply attending to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.

Kirstin Garriss, Class of 2011, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill – I’m going NABJ because I know what it can and WILL do for my career! I’ve met so many influential people at NABJ and I’m grateful for their connections.

Rachel Huggins, Assistant Online Editor, – As a digital journalist of color, I firmly believe in the power of forging strong relationships with media professionals in our ever-evolving industry. NABJ’s 2011 convention will be my first year in attendance, but I’m eager to celebrate the achievements of my colleagues, toast to the future of journalism and enhance my future.

Tahero, Creative Strategist and Creative Director at  – I’m attending because I’ll be speaking on a panel: Enterprise Journalism: Data Visualization and Mining for Stories.

Christopher Nelson, Assignment Editor, NBC News – I’ll be at NABJ in order to get insight & foresight into industry changes from our view. I also can’t wait to reconnect with my NABJ family.

Vanessa Deggins, multimedia reporter – I’m going NABJ to network and improve my multimedia skills in some of the workshops. And I can’t wait to see my NABJ family.

Marissa Evans, president of Marquette University NABJ Chapter – “I’m attending convention because it’s a great way to learn how you stack up with the competition and how you can be better. Also my chapter NABJ-Marquette will be there with me this year, I’m so excited for them to experience a convention!”

So run — do not walk — and click here to register before the June 15 deadline.  And don’t forget that NABJ has travel discounts on Continental Airlines, Amtrak and Hertz to get you there.

And check out this video from the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists on why you need to be there.  I hope to see you in Philly!

Posted in journalism, Webinar

DJTF Offers Replay of VP-Print Candidates Forum

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

Last night, the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force held an online webinar for VP-Print candidates Denise Clay and Errin Haines.  Our questioners were Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times, Natalie McNeal of Frugalista and DJTF Treasurer Melanie Eversley of USA Today.

We discussed general NABJ topics including the UNITY split, an alleged disconnect between NABJ national and local chapters and the association’s current guidelines for membership.  We also discussed digital journalism issues. You can hear the hour-long session here.  DJTF held a similar forum for the presidential candidates, and you can listen to that session here.

The Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists held their presidential candidates forum June 4, and you can view it below:

In May, the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists held a candidates forum, which you can view here.

Voting for the 2011 elections is now open.  I urge you all to review these materials from the candidates, which will allow you to make the best choice of the leadership that will move NABJ forward.

Posted in Education, journalism, multimedia journalist, Technology

Carnival of Journalism: What Tools Do You Use To Work Smarter?

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

I am one of those people who love the latest in tech tools, toys, apps and programs that help me do the business of journalism.  Every Friday on this blog, I share some of my favorites as part of the Fast Five series.

Which is why I began to drool when I saw the topic for this month’s Carnival of Journalism: “What are your life hacks, workflows, tips, tools, apps, websites, skills and techniques that allow you to work smarter and more effectively?“

That being said, I’ll narrow my list down to my top five:

  1. Twitter: this program (and its accompanying tools and apps) has become my number one tool to getting the job done.  I use it to post stories, find sources, get story ideas and crowdsource for information.  I use Echofone on my iPhone, UberSocial on my Blackberry and split between TweetDeck and HootSuite on my desktop.  And a bonus for me is both TweetDeck and HootSuite give me access to Facebook, which I don’t use as much as a professional tool.
  2. 10000 Words: this website is at the top of my Google Reader.  Ever since Mark Luckie started it up, it has been my go-to site to keep up with all the latest  in tips, tools, apps, websites specifically targeting journalism.
  3. iPhone 4: my dad bought me the 32 GB version for my birthday last year, and I thank him for it every time we speak.  I can update my WordPress blogs, shoot live video with Ustream, edit video with iMovie, access all my contacts using LinkedIn and Plaxo, take and send pretty good photos, record interviews/podcasts and post them on AudioBoo, I can check the AP Stylebook and upload to my YouTube channel. Oh – I can also make phone calls!
  4. A tie – The Digital Journalist’s Handbook by Mark Luckie and the No-Fear Guide to Multimedia, by Prof. Mindy McAdams: when I started on my road to multimedia nirvana, these two guides were extremely helpful.  Even today, I still look at them as inspirations.
  5. A pad and ink pen: amazingly enough, this is still a very effective tool for getting your stories.  I always have at least one pad and three ink pens on me at all times.

I love all the stuff that has helped this old-school journalist make the transition and keep up (somewhat) with the kids.  But I always emphasize that while you can have all the tools in the world, they aren’t worth a pitcher of warm spit (hat tip to former FDR VP John Nance Garner) if you don’t have the basic writing/reporting/editing skills down pat.  So have fun with the toys, but don’t forget the skills that actually make you a journalist.