Posted in multimedia journalist, Social Media

#Occupy Mobile Journalism

By Talia Whyte, founder and director of Global Wire Associates and freelance journalist

For the last few weeks, the Occupy Wall Street movement has taken over the headlines worldwide and put the future of the global economy up for discussion.  Based on the quickness this movement has grown in such a short amount of time, there are clearly strong feelings out there among the general population about the current financial system.

As a freelance journalist I not only find this to be a monumental moment in recent history, but it is also a great opportunity to practice mobile journalism.  As technology and digital tools to capture information on the go becomes more common, many reporters are spending more time on the ground, filing stories online and interacting with followers on their social networks.

I live in Boston where the Occupy movement has both fascinated and angered local residents and politicians.  I have visited the Occupy Boston site located in the city’s financial district multiple times just so I can better understand what the group’s complaints, demands and recommendations are for improving the system.

Anyone who follows me online knows that Twitter has become my BFF in the last couple of years.  I have been using the social network on my Blackberry to tell the stories of the “Occupiers,” as well as tweeting out pictures of the activities in their tent city.  My followers have been re-tweeting my posts and I have been getting feedback from others all over the world.  The feedback has been good for me because I have gotten many ideas for future stories.

I generally cover issues concerning Boston’s communities of color, so I was quick to notice the lack of people of color in this movement. I put this observation up to my Twitter and Facebook followers, as well as my email correspondents, and had quite a discussion about how the role of race plays in this debate.

Luckily in the last month, there have been two major rallies involving mostly people of color taking on economic issues that directly impact their communities.  National housing justice organization Right to the City made noise in Boston last month, when 2,000 activists rallied in front of a Bank of America, protesting its alleged predatory lending practices towards vulnerable customers.  Twenty-four people were arrested during the protest for trespassing on the bank’s premises.  This was a great opportunity to use my Flip camera to interview both victims of foreclosure, as well as those who were arrested during the protests.

I did the interviews because I wanted to put real faces on this pressing issue.  Again, I received inspiring feedback online from professional journalists and activists alike that sparked further discussion about the issue at hand.

The other rally I attended with my trusted Flip camera just last week was the first gathering of Occupy the Hood Boston – the first such gathering in the country to address issues directly affecting communities of color.  I captured on video tear-jerking footage of a woman who lost her nephew last summer to gang violence.

I also used Twitter to report on the many speeches given by community leaders on a wide range of issues, including police brutality, education and black unemployment.

One thing I learned so far from doing mobile journalism is the importance of keeping it simple.  There has been much discussion in recent years about what a backpack journalist is supposed to use for equipment.  Many technological advances have made it possible for journalists to do more with less.  All I use for my field reporting, especially in an ever-changing protest situation, is a Blackberry and a Flip camera.

Also, my mobile journalism in the last few weeks has helped expand my personal brand.  I have more people looking out for my work online, including more editors contacting me about doing freelance assignments using my digital skills.  Being open to using many platforms for storytelling really does help further your career.

Posted in journalism

Another Journalist Layoff: My Own Story

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF chair

It was just another Tuesday. I was judging an airports concession contest, then was going back to the office at 1 p.m. for what I thought was a group meeting. I briefly thought it was odd that most of my colleagues were still sitting at their desks, but shook it off. I was called to a conference room where I saw two company leaders, and I knew.

The whole process was very cordial and professional. I listened to the talk, took the packet and thanked them for a great five-year run. Who else do you know that gets paid to do their hobby, their passion? My last day is October 21. One would think that I would be devastated, but really, I’ve been amazingly optimistic. I chatted with a few of my co-workers (actually consoling them), then I went home.

On the train ride home, I started tapping into the network I’ve amassed after almost 20 years in the aviation business.  I’ve also tapped my rapidly growing new/digital media network for leads.  And the response has been wonderful. I’ve picked up some freelance work, and I already have two job interviews scheduled.  Thanks to Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter, I have hundreds of folks (and their own contacts) on the lookout for any opportunities for me.  And dear readers, if you hear of anything, you can let me know at!

So below are five tips from me to you to use if you get laid off — or if you’re already laid off and looking.

  1. Give yourself no more than a day to mourn (I took all of 15 minutes). The deed is done, and you need to focus your energies on looking for your next opportunity.
  2. Have a resume ready.  I spent a happy five years at my soon-to-be former employer, but I always kept it ready.  I have it on a thumb drive on my key ring, along with a copy on my iPhone, so I can send it from anywhere at any time.  I was able to send my resume to three friends on my train ride home Tuesday.
  3. Create/update your LinkedIn profile. One of my job interviews came from this network.  My profile was 95% complete, but I needed recommendations.  I tapped my network again, asking for recommendations on my listed jobs. This brings you to the attention of potential employers.
  4. Don’t be afraid to use social media.  One thing you DON’T want to do is bash your former employer. Tell people you’re out and ask them to pass along any opportunities they may hear of.  I already have 4 leads from a Facebook post coming from others contacts.
  5. Think outside the box.  People are asking me what I want to do next.  I want to stay in journalism, but I’m not going to limit myself to that.  So I’m looking at communications/PR, community manager, social media consultant, aviation media/marketing efforts and anything else I think will fit my unique skills.

So here’s to finding that next adventure!!

Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Innovation, journalism, Social Media

ALL About Facebook for Journalists

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

This Online News Association workshop featured Facebook’s Vadim Lavrusik, who led two lively (and packed) sessions on the current and future changes coming to the social platform and how journalists can use then to their advantage.

A Journalist”s Guide to Profiles and Pages

Dig deep into Facebook Profiles and Pages for best practices and practical applications. Find out how you can use your profiles or a professional Page to find sources, drive traffic to your site, feature content and connect with your readers.
Made it in @lavrusik’s second @Facebook session, Brock and I had to kill a guy to get in though. #ONA11 @ONAConf
September 23, 2011
#ONA11 really should have gotten a larger room for @Lavrusik #Facebook session. This room is packed to the gills! #FBjournalism
September 23, 2011
I just said to @lavrusik, “You’re the most popular, and least popular, person here today!” Am I right, peeps? #FB #ONA11
September 23, 2011
.@vadimlavrusik of #Facebook tells us to check out his commentssection over changes, just for fun. #ONA11 #FBjournalism
September 23, 2011
“If you hate new newsfeed, you can yell at me cause I had a lot to do with that.” -@lavrusik #ONA11 #Facebook #fbjournalism /via @numinews
September 23, 2011
Vadim Lavrusik | Social Journalist | Digital Media Futurist

Subscribe is a simple way to broaden your conversation on Facebook with your community of readers and viewers, while reserving personal updates for people you know well. Your audience can keep up with your content without having to add you as a friend. They can simply subscribe.
“I promise it gets better” – @Lavrusik on recent Facebook changes. #ONA11 #fbjournalism /via @lou_dubois //Do you believe him? 😉
September 23, 2011
Facebook + Journalists

Facebook + Journalists – Reach your readers directly on Facebook, an audience of more than 500 million people around the world. This Page, run by Facebook employees, provides resources for using Facebook as a journalist and is also a community of journalists on the platform. | Facebook
Facebook’s @lavrusik talks about the recent major changes, and how journalists can use Facebook: #ONA11
September 23, 2011
From ONA: Facebook’s Vadim Lavrusik

When Vadim Lavrusik left Mashable and joined Facebook, social journalists who know him rejoiced. Suddenly, the biggest social network had a face and a real-life friend for the media. Lavrusik is very responsive to requests, questions and concerns from online journalists, especially in a very active social journalists Facebook group.
@itsRobynwithay This was from the horse’s mouth. @Lavrusik said statuses are now up to 5,000 characters.
September 23, 2011
Most useful #FB tool: people search. Rolodex of 750+ million, says @Lavrusik. Can use filters & msg w/out being friends #ONA11 #FBjournalism
September 23, 2011
“With TImeline, it will be easier for journalists on Facebook to tell whether a source is authentic.” – @Lavrusik #ONA11 #fbjournalism
September 23, 2011
Here’s the new #Facebook timeline page @lavrusik has been talking about at #ONA11: #FBjournalism
September 23, 2011
Introducing Timeline

Click a photo above to see how it looks as the cover. Star your favorite moments to make them widescreen, or remove the ones you want to hide. The music you listen to is on your timeline, so friends can listen along.
.@lavrusik says new FB timeline is “beautiful.” See it as digital scrapbook, see past highlights, big life changes. #ONA11 #FBjournalism
September 23, 2011
At #ONA11, @Lavrusik recommends using the @Facebook “questions” feature to increase engagement.
September 23, 2011
As mentioned before, @Lavrusik says @Facebook updates being increased to 5,000-character limit. Still no photos. #ONA11
September 23, 2011
.@tifinit: At #ONA11, @Lavrusik encouraging reporter profiles now, not pages. But will friend limit be lifted? #fbjournalism /GOOD question
September 23, 2011
At a 2nd #ona11 session on Facebook and gotta say @lavrusik makes a platform that scares a lot of journos palatable, nay, exciting! #fb
September 23, 2011
You guys’ friends really don’t like your work. You need new friends!-@Lavrusik on sparing friends from work posts. #ona11 #fbjournalist
September 23, 2011

AP – News, discussion and a behind-the-scenes look at the newsgathering process from The Associated Press. | Facebook
Minnesota TV station KARE 11 posts pic of their ed board daily on FB and asks readers what stories they’d like to see. #fbjournalism #ona11
September 23, 2011
KARE 11 News

KARE 11 News – By posting a photo on KARE 11″s Facebook wall, you are granting us permission to use the photo on any KARE 11 owned property, including but not limited to television, online, and mobile platforms. – Description: This page is meant to be a discussion forum.
@Lavrusik: “Feeds do not work. People know when you”re not listening to them. Feeds get 2-3x less engagement.” #ONA11
September 23, 2011
I like this. @lavrusik says you can change ‘how tags work’ under privacy settings to pre-approve tags before they show. #fbjournalism #ONA11
September 23, 2011
If you enable “subscribe” on @Facebook, you likely want to be findable, @Lavrusik says; adjust public search options. #ONA11
September 23, 2011
.@VOAHutch: Facebook in few weeks to roll out way for journalists to migrate Facebook likes to subscribers #fbjournalism @Lavrusik at #ona11
September 23, 2011
.@PoppedCulture: @lavrusik says FB makes new features based on request volume. Want edit feature? You know what to do! #FBjournalism #ONA11
September 23, 2011
If enough ppl ask about editing already-posted statuses, comments, Facebook may consider change, says @Lavrusik #fbjournalism #ONA11
September 23, 2011
Woah I did not know about these cool new features on Facebook! @Lavrusik #ona11
September 23, 2011
OK kids, I’m looking at @lavrusik FB home page & I like what I see. Really. I think you’ll all be impressed. #ONA11 #FBjournalism
September 23, 2011
Most important @Facebook privacy setting? “How you connect,” @Lavrusik says. #ONA11
September 23, 2011

Posted in Education, journalism, multimedia journalist, Social Media

Friday Fast Five + Five

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

  1. 10000 WordsUse conversational video to bridge the gap between journalist and reader
  2. great examples of data journalism using Google Fusion Tables
  3. Journalists’ ToolkitFlash Journalism Updates
  4. MashableHOW TO: Find and Land Freelance Work
  5. MakeUseOf5 Interesting Ways To Use Google News RSS Feeds
  6. SmartBlog on Social  Media6 tools to measure your personal branding efforts
  7. MediaShift Idea LabHow to Design Fast, Interactive Maps Without Flash 
  8. Lost RemoteCrowdsourcing a live video interview via Twitter
  9. NetworkedBuild your own website for free
  10. CyberJournalistFacebook tips for journalists, from Facebook
Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Equipment, Technology

Friday Fast Five + Five: The NABJ Convention Edition

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

The National Association of Black Journalists Annual Convention and Career Fair is only 12 days away, and I’m in full preparation mode.  First, I hope you’ll attend my workshop — BRAND YOU: CREATING YOUR ONLINE IDENTITY — on Thursday, Aug. 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Room 119B.  My goal is that by the end of this interactive workshop, you will be well on your way to creating your own brand.

Today’s Fast Five + Five is all about the iPhone apps I’ll be using to help me keep up and document everything going on at the show.  For you Android users, I’m sure you can find similar apps. And for Blackberry users? I’m really sorry (don’t hate – my work phone is a Blackberry).

  1. Concur: My company uses this program to track travel and work expenses.  I’m blessed that my company pays for me to attend NABJ, and this app will allow me to keep track of expenses on the run.  And after the convention, there’s no huge pile of receipts to track. Nice!
  2. WordPress: I write two blogs — and this one — on this blogging platform. The app allows me to review, approve and write comments and even churn out a quick post on the run.
  3. CamCard ($6.99): every year I collect a huge stack of business cards and 0nly input a fraction of them on Microsoft Outlook. I hate paying for apps, but this one was worth the money.  I can take a picture of a card and the information is automatically updated in my NABJ contacts group. Plus it’s environmentally friendly.
  4. Ustream: this app allows me to shoot live video from my iPhone. I can also upload the video to my YouTube channel.
  5. Instagram: anyone who knows me knows I’m always carrying my camera.  I love the pictures I can take with my iPhone, which makes this app a joy. I can do all kinds of photo tricks and upload directly to Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
  6. Tweet Deck: not only can I keep track of my five Twitter accounts, I can also create columns to follow the #NABJ11 and #NABJ hashtags.
  7. Dragon Dictation: Let’s say I’m in a workshop or plenary and I want to dash off a quick message about what I’m hearing.  I can use this voice recognition app to record and upload the message to Twitter, Facebook, email or a text message.  The translation isn’t perfect, but it’s still quicker than typing.
  8. BlueFiRe: the audio recorder that comes with the iPhone is adequate. The FREE Blue FiRe audio recorder app ROCKS!!  It has markers, different sound recording levels and an FTP site that automatically allows you to upload up to 2 GB of recordings.
  9. QR Reader: more and more convention exhibitors and attendees are using QR codes to provide information on goods, services and data.  This reader allows me to snap a picture with my iPhone and download information.
  10. Around Me: when you’re in an unfamiliar city, you need to know where certain things are, like banks/ATMs, parking, pharmacies, restaurants, stores and even hospitals.  This app will use the GPS function on your iPhone to tell you where the nearest outposts are.

So did I miss any? What are your must-have iPhone apps for the convention?

Posted in journalism, Social Media

Make Sure There’s No Shame In Your Social Media Game

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

I went to college during a time when there was no Internet. I wasn’t a wild child, but I did have some fun during a trip to Fort Lauderdale during spring break my senior year in college. I didn’t have to worry about folks carrying smartphones ready to photograph and video the festivities.

But times have changed — drastically. This topic came up after I read a recent article in Gizmodo: “I Flunked My Social Media Background Check. Will You?” It serves as a precautionary — and frankly, scary — tale of how your social media past can be held against you by potential employers.

I do resume reviews for NABJ members (my offer to review yours — for free — still stands). As matter of course, I do a Google search of every name. I also look at Facebook and Twitter accounts. And trust me, employers are doing the same. You would not believe the materials that are floating out there.

As we all prepare to go to this year’s National Association of Black Journalists’ Annual Convention and Career Fair in Philadelphia Aug. 3-7, many attendees will be there looking for jobs. So now — not when you hand that resume over to a prospective employer — is the time to do a social media check.

Start by Googling your name. See what comes up, especially on the first page. When I did this, everything was professional — the top link was my company-linked Twitter account. The rest were links to blog posts about the aviation industry. There’s nothing in there that could cause any problems for employers.

Next, go to Facebook. Do a check of all your friends. Are they really friends or someone you met years ago and don’t really know? Start purging. I did this and managed to dump “252” people.

Also create separate Facebook friend lists to control who sees what. I have Friends, Professional Benet and Limited Profile lists, and everyone is in their proper place. Check out this great post on Strategies, Tips & Tools For A Wired Life on how to do it.

Go through your photo albums and pictures where you’re tagged. You may have had a really good time at that frat party, but a potential employer will not look kindly on you drunkenly “backing it up” on the dance floor. This Tutorial Bite post shows you how to protect your photo albums. And check your friends’ albums to make sure there are no embarassing photos of you.

I take lots of pictures at the NABJ conventions, and I ask people to go to my Facebook and Flickr albums to tag them. I have had some requests to remove some of my pictures, and I always comply. But what about others taking photos who don’t announce their intentions?

Next, go to Twitter. Make sure you have separate accounts for personal and professional. And don’t assume that just because you have a locked account, your Tweets won’t go out. Folks can easily retweet your comments for the world to see. So either create a personal account that covers your identity (like @FlyGirlBWI) rather that @benetwilson, or just resolve not to Tweet anything you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the New York Times.

Check your LinkedIn profile. Make sure it’s close to 100% completed as possible. Many employers are going to this site to find potential employees. And resist the temptation to link your personal Twitter feed or personal blog to your account unless you feel it’s relevant — and not damaging.

If you have a Flickr account, take the time to check the privacy settings. I have more than 1000 pictures of my daughter in my account, but no one but me can see them. You remember all those pictures you posted fron this year’s Urban Beach Week in Miami? Your potential employer doesn’t need to see them.

In the end, the absolute best way to protect your online identity is to make sure you don’t do anything that could cause a red flag. But should you find yourself in that position, be prepared to shell out some money for the services of a company like, which helps monitor and remove negative information about you. And I’ll see you in Philly!

Posted in journalism

Journalists and Branding: Good Idea Or Bad?

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

I found an interesting conversation on Facebook started by NABJ Student Rep candidate Marissa Evans on this interesting column from Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten on why he thinks journalists branding themselves is a bad idea.  I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Weingarten.  He seems to be living back in another time — and I say this as a journalist who began her career using a typewriter.

NABJ Presidential candidate Charles Robinson made an interesting point during a candidates’ forum sponsored by the Washington Association of Black Journalists and the NABJ Baltimore’s Association of Black Media Workers.  Robinson noted that while all the tools and technology is good, sometimes the “J” in journalism is missing in the discussion.

And I agree 100% with Robinson.  But in this day and age of terms including search engine optimization, content and eyeballs, to name a few, journalists now more than ever need to stand out.  We are competing with bloggers, citizen journalists, aggregators, curators and any other number of platforms that are battling for readers’ attention.

The fact is that along with strong journalism skills, you do need the brand to bring the eyeballs to the website that writes our checks. I am one of a half a handful of journalists covering the aviation industry.  My brand — Aviation Queen — was created for me by the industry I write about.  I stand out anyway, and this brand helps me stand out even more.  I love where I work and have no plans to leave.  But I know if something were to happen, I would be able to leverage my skills — and my brand — to get that next job.

At the beginning of my career, the focus was on the writing and reporting.  You chased that story, you wrote it, you got your byline and moved onto the next one.  Those days are gone.  Now writing and reporting is only part of the job.  You also have to do podcast, shoot photos and video, do social media, find creative ways to illustrate data, to name a few.  If you’re doing it the right way, your brand develops.

These days, Mr. Weingarten, your brand plays a big role in getting that next job or even starting your own thing, whether we like it or not.  Thanks to Mindy McAdams of Teaching Journalism Online for pointing me to how Steve Buttry of used Storify to show the reaction to Weingarten’s column.  And Buttry also links to Leslie Trew McGraw’s paper on journalists and branding.  She’s the Leslie identified in Weingarten’s column. I say don’t hate the player-hate the game!

Posted in Education, multimedia journalist, Social Media, Technology

Friday Fast Five + Five – The Mashable Edition

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

Editor’s note: please join the NABJ Reinvention Committee and Digital Journalism Task Force for a BlogTalkRadio show, “In the Thick of My Career: Searching for the ‘New Me,'” April 29 at noon EDT. Neil Foote of Foote Communications and the University of North Texas, will show mid-career professionals how to revamp their skills and become more tech savvy.   And click here for the replay of our first show in this series — “The Young & the Restless: Keeping Hope & Journalism Alive,” which aired on April 15.  Our third and final show in the series will be “Laid Off, Bought Out & Scared: Managing My Life and Finances.”  This session with Past NABJ President Sidmel Estes of BreakThrough Inc., targets journalists who may have recently lost their jobs or fear they may lose them. We’ll discuss what you can do now to prepare for the worst, how you adjust to life without the office and offer Budgeting 101 tips.

As you know, I keep a Mashable bookmark folder on my laptop for these Fast Five tips.  This particular folder is bursting at the seams, so I deleted some items and decided to throw out the rest as a five plus five bonus edition.  Enjoy!

  1. HOW TO: Turn Your Facebook Profile Photo Into a Video
  2. 10 Online Tools and Tips for the Budding Entrepreneur
  3. HOW TO: Jump-Start Your Career by Becoming an Online Influencer
  4. Lanyrd Keeps Your Conference Life On Track, Via Twitter
  5. Bring Your Tumblr Content to WordPress With Ease
  6. Is Developing a Mobile App Worth the Cost?
  7. 44 Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed
  8. 8 Simple Ways to Improve Your YouTube Channel
  9. HOW TO: Add Social Sharing Buttons to Your Website
  10. HOW TO: Hire a Great Web Designer, With Y Combinator’s Garry Tan
Posted in Education, Equipment, journalism, multimedia journalist, Social Media

Friday Fast Five

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

Editor’s note: NABJ’s Digital Journalism Task Force will hold a free webinar, Tapping our Oral Traditions: How To Add A Podcast To Your Print Story, April 5 from noon to 1:00 p.m. EDT.  Join multimedia journalist Vanessa Deggins as she shows how to create a podcast to accompany a print story. She will allow us to listen to some of her work and she’ll answer questions on how you can get started. The NABJDigital blog will also have links to resources Deggins recommends for producing podcasts.

  1. 10000 WordsFive free tools for finding design inspiration
  2. The Gadget GuySurprise friends with a custom, Facebook profile page message
  3. MakeUseOf3 Fun & Useful Google News Mashups
  4. Smart Blog on Social MediaUsing videos to amp up your blog
  5. LifehackerAdd QR Codes To Your WordPress Blog
Posted in Education, multimedia journalist, Technology

Friday fast Five + Five

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

It’s the end of the month, so I need to clean out my Fast Five bookmark folder.  So today, you get five plus five! And my 10000 Words streak continues, unabated. Enjoy!!

  1. 10000 WordsSix must-have WordPress plugins for newsrooms
  2. NetworkedUsing Windows Movie Maker to edit audio clips — yes, audio clips
  3. Journalists’ ToolkitUse Kuler, Photoshop to make a quick palette
  4. Read Write WebWhy You Should Use Gmail’s Mobile Web App Over iPhone Mail
  5. MashableAnother 10 Creative Uses of the New Facebook Profile [PICS]
  6. Blogging Tips A Second Look: 6 Types of Twitter Tools That Come in Handy
  7. The Gadget GuyMake a snazzy Facebook profile page with these apps
  8. Make Use Of7 Apps That Will Help You Use Your iPad For Writing Projects
  9. AppStorm18 Awesome Survey & Poll Apps
  10. PoynterStorify’s best uses turn news into conversations