By Ameena Rasheed, NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force intern
1. SlideShare – How to Share Your Digital Stories
2. Dukeo – 30 Ways to Make Blogging Easier
3. iMedia Connection – 10 Ways to Promote Your Brand on LinkedIn
4. QKPix – 7 Essential Items For Your Camera Bag
5. Gizmodo – 10 Photoshop Alternatives That Are Totally Free
By Nicki Mayo
Journalists don’t always get a chance to address the audience before leaving a position. Here are some ideas on how to use Facebook, Twitter and the like to talk directly to the people you cover.
Layoffs, buyouts, denied contract renewals and firings on the spot… American newsrooms are looking and feeling more like corpse filled battlefields than the people sent to cover the wars.
When managers deliver the bad news that a journalist is being let go it typically plays out like a Seal Team 6 mission. Fast, swift and stealth. The newsroom is often given a Human Resources crafted email resembling the following:
“John Doe is no longer with the company. We wish him well in his future endeavors.” -Management.
Losing a journalism job does not equal death, but it can sure feel that way when you don’t get a chance to say “goodbye” to your audience. This is because most news organizations have had to cut costs so aggressively that the traditional newspaper letter, radio address or TV memory montage is not even part of the “usher you out the door” treatment.
‘Don’t Let the Door Hit You…’The dismissal process has changed a lot in this recession.
My experience has been the following pattern.
- Announces “changes” are coming.
- Sends out a mass email with the impending doom coming down the pipeline
- Spontaneously cattle herds a group of employees into a room
2. Human resources bring employees into executives office one-by-one.
3. Fire at will. (all puns intended)
4. Remove the bodies. (A security escort may be involved)
5. Repeat dismissals as many times as necessary to balance the budget. This typically happens in mass around the fourth quarter (October through December) which is also the holiday season.
After all this “yuletide cheer” and an audacious exit, it’s understandable for anger to settle in. But it’s important to remain professional through it all.
Sure you may not have gotten a chance to say “goodbye” on the company dime, but there’s nothing stopping you from using social media to address your audience directly. This is the time to put your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to good use to preserve your professional brand.
Your Cheerful Departure
Write or record the “goodbye” you want your audience to see. This is a chance to tell your positive story, minus the negative feelings. So no matter how bad the working relationship was, negative energy has no place in your “goodbye.” Simply put, it looks unprofessional and comes off like sour grapes.
Say It With a Picture
I turned to my (then) 3,000-plus friends on Facebook to say “Gotta Go Buffalo” when my contract ended in Western New York. I spent week taking photos with my favorite people around Western New York. Then I posted a photo gallery on Facebook for all to chime in. The 120+ comment thread shows how this wasn’t a one-sided farewell. The audience community wanted to say “goodbye and thank you” too. This method is great for strengthening audience engagement at a time when you are disengaging from your media organization.
Tell Your Side
Sometimes you just want to tell your side of the story. Meteorologist Justin Berk used his Facebook fan page to pen his “Goodbye WMAR, But Not Baltimore” message to viewers. That post garnered more than 500 comments, 50 shares and 720 likes from followers. The letter to viewers detailed Berk’s time in the Baltimore market and what he love most about serving the Charm City community. This method is ideal if you plan to stay in the market and maintain your brand and audience following.
By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF chair & freelance aviation journalist/blogger
In those rare hours where I have some time to myself, I do free resume reviews for students and young journalists. I had people help me with this and other things when I started in the business, and I feel an obligation to return the favor.
Professional social media platform LinkedIn recently came out with its list of the top 10 most-used buzz words in members’ profiles during 2011. You can see the list here. But there are words that just drive me (and potential employers) nuts when they come up in a resume. I list them below, and why they drive us crazy.
- Communication skills: If you’re a journalist, this should be a given, so you don’t need to actually spell it out on the resume;
- Objective: I hate this word, because the resume itself tells an employer that your objective is to get a job. Get rid of this word and the chatter that usually follows it and use that valuable resume space to show how you can actually help an employer with your skills;
- Organized/organizational: journalists by their very nature have to be organized, so there’s no need to state the obvious. Instead, highlight things you’ve done that show off your organizational skills;
- Track record: the first thing that pops into my head when I see this is “track and field star?” Instead of saying you have a track record, illustrate it with your body of work;
- Motivated: if you’re looking for a job, it’s obvious that you’re motivated to get hired. Otherwise, why would you send the resume in the first place? Instead, highlight projects and skills that show initiative and/or creative thinking;
- Out-of-the-box/innovative: One, these phrases are way overused. Two, people use bad examples to illustrate this. So show, don’t tell about how your skills are out-of-the-box or innovative; and
- Effective: No one will describe themselves as ineffective, especially on a resume. Again, show, don’t tell, how you and your skills would be effective in the workplace.
By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF chair
First, I must apologize for how I’ve let this blog go. I really thought that during my unemployment, I’d have much more time to devote to it. But that wasn’t the case. In some ways, I worked harder while unemployed that the regular day-to-day operations of a regular job.
The good news is that I did find another job. My first day was Monday. In my original post on Oct. 7, I offered tips on how those of you in my old situation could jumpstart — or start — your job search efforts. They work.
I moved away — quickly — from the mourning of the job loss. I kept hearing how well I was taking the layoff, but I really didn’t have time to look back. Having that resume ready was very helpful, because I could literally send it at a moment’s notice. Even if you have a job and are comfortable in it (like I was), have the resume ready to send out tomorrow if need be.
One of the three jobs that were offered to me came as a direct result of my 100% updated LinkedIn profile. My network and groups were great resources for job and freelance leads. And the recommendations were mentioned in all of my job interviews.
I was a BIG fan of social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+) before my layoff, and I’m an even bigger fan now. I received 2 other job leads (that resulted in offers) from Facebook and Twitter. And Twitter and Google+ led to a nice pile of freelance work that continues to this day. I’ve managed to build two great networks — aviation and journalism — using my social media outlets. And they were my salvation after the layoff.
In the end, I was offered a journalism job, a communications job and an editorial job for an association. I did struggle, because I thought I wanted to stay in journalism. But I ended up becoming the director of media relations for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. This job offered the perfect blend, allowing me to use my communications/PR, community manager, social media consultant and aviation media/marketing skills. And did I mention that one of the perks is free flying lessons?
So that’s my story. I want to say thanks to all of you who sent me words of encouragement. I want to thank my freelance folks for giving me all kinds of great advice for getting set up and what to charge. I want to thank all my Aviation Week colleagues for their support and personal recommendations. And thanks to my fellow aviation journalists and the aviation community for the job leads and freelance work.
And for those of you out there still searching — don’t give up. Work your network and think outside the box — that next job is around the corner!
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 email@example.com!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!!
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 Reputation.com, which helps monitor and remove negative information about you. And I’ll see you in Philly!