You need to have a resume that’s on point, and you need to have an online portfolio to point potential employers to. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to start either working on or sharpening up your personal journalism brand.
Lucky for you, the Digital Journalism Task Force did two great hour-long webinars in January on these very topics. So now is the time to review these webinars so that you’re ready to shine in Boston.
The desire to build something that no one could ever take away from her is what fueled Rene Syler, former anchor of “The Early Show” on CBS, after her termination in 2006. What Syler wanted to create was a brand, and using the tools of digital media, she did just that and more.
She is now the author of “Good Enough Mother,” a book and supporting blog targeted at “imperfectly perfect” mothers, host of “Sweet Retreats,” a family travel show on the Live Well Network, and co-host of “Exhale”, a provocative talk show in its second season on Magic Johnson’s cable network, Aspire.
What am I going to do now?
A few weeks after losing her job at CBS, Syler underwent a preventative double mastectomy, a journey that was documented on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. “What am I going to do now?” she asked herself. “I had no job and my body was taking on a different shape.”
After telling her agent of 25 years that she did not want to do television anymore, he asked a similar question, “What am I going to do with you?”
Syler knew she would have to save herself.
“I had been relying on them to get me jobs,” she said. “I could either sit here and wait for the phone to ring or I could make it ring.”
Going digital to build a ‘bonafide brand’
Syler wrote “Good Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting” and secured the website’s domain in 2005 while still employed at CBS. The following year, she was fired. In 2007, her book was officially published.
“The only skills I had was the ability to write and TV,” she said. “It started with a book.”
Harnessing the power of digital media, Syler began to build what she now calls a “bonafide brand.”
“Your brand needs to be in sync with yourself,” she said. “Good Enough Mother,” the blog, was born.
“I started on Facebook, then moved to Twitter. The more I did it the more I understood its power,” Syler said in regards to her overwhelming introduction to social media.
“After almost 10 years, I have built a bonafide brand,” she said. “People need to think of blogs as living breathing business cards.”
“Good Enough Mother” has partnered with both General Motors and Disney and Syler attributes her recent television success to her digital presence.
Looking back, she said “Good Enough Mother” became much more than a book. It became a movement based on what a lot of women are experiencing.
Editor’s note: We are taking this week off to enjoy the holidays with our families. So this week, we’ll be re-running past posts. Today’s post lists tweets from attentees of the Region 1 Conference who tweet their thoughts and reactions about a panel on brand building. It originally ran on May 2. Also, join the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force for a virtual conference “New Year, New You,” on Saturday, Jan. 11 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. In four hour-long sessions, attendees will learn mobile journalism tips and tricks, how to create an online portfolio, steps needed to create your journalism brand and taking your resume to the next level. You can take 1, 2, 3, or all 4 webinars, and they will be recorded in case you can’t make it. Click here for more information.
Andy Carvin, senior social media strategist at NPR, with his Knight-Batten Award for being the [Twitter] DJ of the Arab Spring revolution.
By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF chair & freelance aviation/travel journalist and blogger
I am addicted to the Jalen Rose Podcast on the Grantland Network. With an hour-long commute each way to work every day, I need my podcasts to break up the monotony of random song searches and NPR.
I can’t even remember how I found out about the podcast, but I love it. Back in the day, I was a HUGE NBA fan, even buying partial season tickets for the team that was the Washington Bullets. But something happened and all desire for anything NBA was killed — until the Jalen Rose podcast. But it’s not all about basketball. Jalen gives us the lowdown on what athletes really think and do, his thoughts on football (which are sharp and spot-on) and a healthy dose of celebrity dish (he loves Bossip).
Regular readers know I’m a BIG proponent of journalists branding themselves (I’m the Aviation Queen). So I’m in the car, and I start thinking about how effective Rose has been in developing and nurturing his brand and what we all can learn from him. So here’s what I’ve learned and what you can use as you develop your own brand.
“Got To Give The People, Give The People What They Want.” This is the song that Rose sings at the beginning of each show, and this is what he delivers on during each episode. Great brands give the people (their audience) what they want.
Mix the expertise with personality. Rose uses his unique personality to deliver news, analysis and observations using a healthy mix of his own experiences and pop culture references.
Find your niche, but don’t be afraid to expand. Rose’s niche is basketball — college and professional. But he’s a man with many interests and because we already trust him as a great basketball analyst, it’s not too far of a stretch to trust him with topics like football, entertainment and even education (he founded and runs the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a public charter high school in Detroit).
Promote yourself! The Jalen Rose Podcast has quietly become one of the most popular on iTunes — achieving this strictly by word of mouth. He’s on Twitter, has a great website, has a Facebook Page, a YouTube channel and you can watch him live on Ustream as he records the podcast. He uses all his social media platforms to promote the podcast and his other activities — but without being pushy about it.
This is excellent advice. NYABJ President Michael Feeney will tell you that I semi-stalked him to get a hashtag for this panel discussion. I knew it would be good (especially since my Baltimore homey Mario Armstrong was representing) and I wanted to be able to share it with the larger community.
Aspiring journalist should follow other journalists. Send he/she a compliment if you like there work and hope they follow back #nyabjtwitter
By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group
If you”re one of the thousands of digital journalists who are establishing brand identities either for yourself or your organization, come learn the tools and best strategies for building a community, carving out a distinct image, and building your authority and reputation without comprising your own or that of the company signing your paycheck.
So, for the second time in a month, I’m on a panel discussing journalists and branding. You can get 100 journalists in a room to discuss this topic, and they’d have different views on whether it needs to be done, and if so, how. Below is a link to the panel I did in August at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Philadelphia.
By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group Creating your own journalist brand can help differentiate you from the news/blogger crowd as the industry continues to evolve. Having your own brand can also boost your profile at your current job, lead you to your next job or even help you create your own entrepreneurial website or blog.
Please come to the 10:15 #ONA11 panel: Who Are You? Social Media and Branding http://ow.ly/6DHtD #ONA11 #firehose