Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Education, journalism

10 Things to Do NOW to Prepare for #NABJ17

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There’s only 63 more days until the NABJ Annual Convention and Career Fair in New Orleans. That seems like a long time, but it flies by quickly. You need to start working now to get yourself ready. Below are 10 ideas that will help.

10.  BUY your airline ticket. Fares are cheaper when you book at least 21 days in advance. After that, prices only get higher. And because New Orleans is a popular destination, fares will be higher, so use an app like Hopper to find out the best time to buy.

9. BOOK your hotel room. What are you waiting for? The room block is almost sold out, so you’ll either have to pay a higher price in the Hilton Riverside or pay more for nearby hotels.

8. CHECK your wardrobe. Now is the time to start mulling what you’ll wear. Look for rips, stains or alterations. Or start shopping for key pieces you may need. Also, do those shoe repairs you’ve been putting off.

7. LOOK at the exhibitor list. While you’re looking at that list, start making appointments with 3-4 companies you definitely want to see in New Orleans.

6.  Buy your ticket for the Sports Task Force JamThis is the not-to-be-missed event at every NABJ convention. This year’s party will be at the House of Blues. Early bird regular and VIP tickets are still available but tend to sell out. And the best part? The proceeds fund scholarships.

5. Check out the NOLA.com Dining Guide so you can scope out all the city’s great restaurants.

4. Order new business cards. Vistaprint has hundreds of designs or you can create your own. Click here for discount coupons. Or check out Moo cards, which uses based on your Facebook timeline.

3. Review and update your resume. Make sure you’ve updated all your jobs and skills. Keep a copy in the cloud and on a thumb drive so it’s easily accessible. And check out my DJTF webinar (registration is free) and my website on crafting a good one or if you need further help.

2. Create a portfolio website. You need to send potential employers to one place that shows to house your work and your resume. Don’t know how to get started? NABJ member Marissa Evans did a webinar on that!

1. Read VP-Broadcast Bob Butler’s “Tips for Young Journalists/Students at the NABJ Convention.” It targets the younger folks, but there are plenty of tips that apply to all of us.

Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Education, journalism

10 Reasons Why You Should Register for #NABJ17 TODAY!

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10. Convention registration prices for members jump from $380 to $550 after June 1.
9. The host hotel, the Hilton Riverside, is running out of rooms.
8. Give back to New Orleans by participating in NABJ’s Day of Service.
7. Feed your body and spirit at the Gospel Brunch.
6. Dress to the nines for the Salute To Excellence Gala.
5. Shake your groove thang (and help a worthy cause) at the must-attend NABJ Sports Task Force Jam at the House of Blues.
4. Attend plenary sessions on the hottest news topics.
3. Brush up on skills and learn the latest in newsroom innovations at the workshops.
2. Meet dozens of employers at the Career Fair.
1. Meet and be with people who look like you and are doing what you’re doing, for advice and encouragement.

And yes, that is my daughter, Baby Digital, behind the mask!

Posted in Education, journalism, Webinar

RECORDING: Boss Moves: Content Is King

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The NABJ Media Related Task Force (MRMTF) held a members-only webinar with tips on how journalists and media professionals can transition their skills into six-figure salaries with less stress, fewer deadlines and more flexibility in a digital world via content marketing. Member Tenisha Mercer, a content marketer and brand storyteller and owner of HireAnSEOWriter.com, gave tips on how to break into content marketing and answered questions on being effective in that segment.

Maria Pitts Roberts of writing/marketing/social media consultancy RiaRob Media explained about the task force’s new media-related mentorship program for Mid-Level Career Journalists and Media-Related Professionals. The program will connect members to people within the MRTF membership to help with your transition. Click here to view the webinar.

The Media Related Task Force asks that you take this survey so they can meet your needs.

There were some questions that we weren’t able to get to during the webinar, so here are the answers from Tenisha Mercer.

A major food company asked me to write a 2000-word story for their website, but they didn’t want to provide a contract or work out details of pay. How should this be handled?

Answer: Definitely get compensated if it is not a part of your regular role. Something like, “Thank you for the opportunity to write the story, now what will the compensation be for this additional project?” And then leave the ball in their court and let them answer. Stay firm.

How important is it to establish a niche in content marketing? It is important if you want to command top dollar and land projects easier.

Answer: Niches like technology, medical and health care tend to be much higher paying. Clients pay even more for subject matter expertise. But if you do not know your niche, just get started! I did not know I wanted to specialize in SEO writing until I had several projects under my belt.

How can I get started?

Answer: I would encourage you to take advantage of NABJ’s mentorship opportunities or, shameless plug, enroll in my master class for Content Marketing for Journalists.

How different is content marketing writing from journalism?

Answer: Content marketing will not require sourcing, necessarily, and there is less of an advertising push. It is informative, but you are writing content for a different audience. The same principles of good journalism — accuracy, a well-written story and factual info are typically used.

What is the editing process for CM like?

Answer: Similar to any editing process, but depends on the type of project. If it’s for a large organization, it may have to go thru several rounds of approvals and revisions before it is finalized.

Content Marketing Brand Examples

Further resources

Posted in Education, journalism, News, Webinar

RECORDING: How to Negotiate A Contract You Can Live With

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The good news is that the television station has offered you the job. The next step iTiny Exaviers signing your contract. We were fortunate to have attorney Exavier Pope, Principal Owner of The Pope Law Firm, P.C., conduct the latest NABJ members-only webinar. During the event, Pope, who is also the host of #SuitUP Podcast and treasurer of the NABJ Sports Task Force, offered great advice to members on six key things to consider before putting pen to paper. 

 

  1. Length of a Contract
  2. List of Job Functions
  3. Compensation
  4. Morals Clause
  5. Non-compete Clauses
  6. Termination

You can listen to a recording of the webinar here.  Contact Exavier Pope via email, on his website or via Twitter.  And below are more resources for dealing with contracts.

Posted in Education, journalism, Webinar

RECORDING: Internships 101: The Guidebook to Success in Journalism

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In the latest NABJ members-only webinar, a panel discussed the importance of internships and why you need to get one and how you can maximize your intern experience. The event, hosted by NABJ Student Representative Wilton Jackson,  featured veteran journalist Wendy Wilson, students Malika Andrews and Tierra Smith, along with recent graduate Clayton Gutzmore. They shared their experiences and answered questions. NABJ members can listen to the webinar here

Wilson offered six golden tips on what it takes to have a successful internship here.  We ran out of time but still had questions. So panelists Malika Andrews and Clayton Gutzman took a crack at them, below.  Finally, our next NABJ members-only webinar, “How to Negotiate A Contract You Can Live With,” will be held on Tuesday, March 21 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. Attorney Exavier Pope will reveal six key things you need to include in your next contract.

What is the best way to follow up with an internship program regarding your application?

MA: I think an email is generally the best way to follow up. Remember, following up doesn’t necessarily have to be “when will you decide?” When I was applying for SJI, I sent Greg [Lee] (the coordinator) a Happy Thanksgiving email, a happy holidays email, happy birthday (okay, I didn’t go that far) — but I did send him a happy holidays note and “I look forward to hearing from you” note.

CG: Give it about two to three weeks before sending an email. Do your research first and find out how their process goes. If it’s not listed, ask before you apply.

What if you have 3-4 years of freelance experience? Would you recommend still going for internships?

CG: Yes still apply for internships. Apply for the internship you believe will take you to the next level. Internships that are different than your current line of freelance work. If you are good enough to freelance, you are able to still earn money while seeking new opportunities. Fellowships can also be something to seek out.

 

MA: I think internships can apply across the board. One of my good friends Rhiannon Walker (now full time with The Undefeated) took back-to-back internships for a year or two before committing to a full-time job. If you are looking for that full-time gig after freelance and nothing is biting, reworking what you are applying for and going for an internship can be a great thing.

How does one find the hiring manager, especially if it’s at a big media corporation? I have tried LinkedIn, but that has not helped.
 

CG: Check the website. There should be contact information at the bottom or on a tab on their website. Call the station and politely ask. Check with your professors. If it’s a big company, they should know somebody that knows somebody.

MA: Ask! Usually, someone will know in your network. For instance, when I was applying for the New York Times internship, I asked someone I had met at a conference very briefly who to address my cover letter to. It turned out, I was supposed to address it to him! He was glad I asked. Or you can always call the newsroom.

I am in the process of applying to internships at local TV stations. What advice do you have to set myself apart?

MA: Find your voice and hone in on it. Are you a great features storyteller? Great. Hold that up. Can you edit as well as be in front of the camera? Say that. And be versatile- make sure you are more than just the face in front of the camera or the behind-the-scenes person.
Also, in your cover letters, make sure not to just say that this is why you want this. A lot of kids want it. Make sure you also say how you are a good fit for them and what sorts of things you bring to the table.

I have just received my first internship at a news station in Greensboro, N.C. I am extremely excited. What can I do to prepare for that internship now? What are the things that would make me stick out in the internship? What are some of the tasks of an intern at a news station?

MA: This may seem basic, but make sure you watch the station. Familiarize yourself with their content style and also the content they have already published so you make sure you aren’t pitching stories that double dip into what they’ve already done. Also, know the names of producers and talent!

As far as sticking out: be the person that goes above and beyond. If there is an assignment after your normal nine to five shift, stay late. Something on the weekend? Be there. And pitch stories! Don’t make your producer constantly come to you. Even if you get shot down, keep pitching. And remember, no assignment is too small. When I was at the local Portland TV station, we begged a producer to stay late so we could read off the anchors tape and cut out own highlight reels. That was really helpful for me to have.

How do you feel about tracking the progress of your work in the internship? Would it be too much to ask for evaluations from the people who I work with?

CG: I say give it time. Seek critiques on your second project. You will know a little bit more about how you are supposed to do work for the outlet.

MA: Seek feedback. But don’t forget it’s easier to fix things before they go to print or on web or the package airs. So if you have a complex story, seek out your editor or producer beforehand.

I have just begun researching different graduate schools. Is there a time to do an internship while in grad school?

MA: I can’t speak from experience but from what I have heard, it depends. For instance, I know Columbia J-school doesn’t recommend it. They put you to work. I know [NABJ Student Representative] Wilton [Jackson] has done internships while in graduate school at LSU so I think it depends on your specific program and how many credits you take. It also depends if you can balance keeping your grades up and having an internship.

Posted in Education, journalism, Webinar

RECORDING #FreelanceFebruary: Stop Putting Off Your Website

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The latest NABJ members-only webinar, “Stop Putting Off Your Website,” Marissa Evans of the Texas Tribune offered her tips and tricks for creating a portfolio website. She critiqued two journalist websites — including mine — and explained the four elements every journalist’s website should have.

Evans answered questions about everything from best platforms to host a website to how much one should pay a designer.  Click here to view the one-hour webinar. And below are links to some of the sites mentioned in the webinar.

We are working on the next webinar series for March and April under the hashtag #NABJSpringClean. These webinars will be all about things that are blocking us in our careers and what we can do to remove them. Topics we’ll cover include the need for internships, tips on job interviews and women dealing with Impostor Syndrome. We are still in the planning phases, so if you have webinar ideas, please send them here.