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, journalism

A Good Question From Teaching Online Journalism: Is It Stupid To Major In Journalism?

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

As I was going for my daily spin on the Google Reader, my eye caught an article from Mindy McAdams on her excellent Teaching Online Journalism blog asking the title question.  It was a question that I struggle with regularly as I speak with students trying to decide a career path.

I would never say it was stupid to major in journalism, but if I could go back again, I wouldn’t.   I would still be a journalist, but I would major in something like business or computer science, take journalism classes and participate in campus media, including the school newspaper and radio/TV stations (which I did in college).

I firmly believe that you can be a great journalist without having the Journalism tag on your college diploma, having hired some great writers who majored in everything from philosophy to history to business marketing.

So what do you think? Is it stupid to major in journalism?

Posted in Uncategorized

Friday Fast Five

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

Today’s Fast Five is a mixed bag of techniques, tips and tricks.  Enjoy!

  1. 10000 WordsEasy solutions to web production’s most common problems. NABJDigital favorite Mark Luckie answers questions ranging from “how do I embed audio” to “How do I include special characters like the ñ in piñata or the ö in Motörhead (or even the é in Benét)?
  2. Mashable – I recently experienced an incident that convinced me it was time to clean up my Facebook profile.  HOW TO: Clean Up Your Facebook Profile offers some very handy tips, including creating friend filter lists.
  3. – Even though I have exactly 6,300 photos in my Flickr account, sometimes I just don’t have the right picture when I need it.  PicApp: Free quality images for your blog “offers high-quality, world-class pho­tog­ra­phy to any­one with a blog” t for free.
  4. Teaching Online Journalism – I’m one of those who is puzzled by HTML, but know it’s important.  Professor Mindy McAdams tells me why in What you should know about HTML5 today.
  5. Personal Branding Blog – I’m in the middle of creating my own brand, and this website has been invaluable.  This blog post — Blogging Beyond Your Subject Matter : Adding Personality — offers some great tips.
Posted in Uncategorized

Friday Fast Five

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

For our new readers, every Friday, I dish up five links that show you new tools, tricks and techniques to enhance your new/social/multimedia skills.  They come from my Google Reader, where I have RSS feeds covering all of these areas.  If you like what you see below, I encourage you to add them to your RSS feeds.  Enjoy!

  1. 100000 Words – I am a HUGE fan of multimedia journalist Mark Luckie and I always lead this column off with one of his blog posts.  This week he offers us 15 Awesome interactive maps from the New York Times.
  2. Mashable – this is my go-to site for the latest trends and tricks for journalists.  Here’s 10 of the Best Social Media Tools for PR Professionals and Journalists (I happen to use four of them).
  3. Social Media Today – whether you are a Twitter newbie or a pro, this list of 20 Top Twitter Monitoring and Analytics Tools can be of help.  I especially like Twitter Analyzer and Monniter.
  4. Teaching Online Journalism – Professor Mindy McAdams is among those teaching journalism that are leading the charge in preparing the next generation.  Here she offers us 7 examples of exceptional Flash packages.
  5. Multimediashooter – I love this site because it gives you hands-on, simple instructions on how to do something.  This week, it’s ShowCase: Create a slideshow in the palm of your hand. Demo and Sample for those of you with iPhones.

And speaking of iPhones, NABJ Digital will be holding a Webinar June 15 on Smartphone Reporting.  Join DJTF Task Force VP Serbino Sandifer-Walker and award-winning reporters Gio Benitez of CBS4 Miami and Jeremy Jojola of KOB-TV Albuquerque with tips and also highlighting the pros and cons of using smartphones to report news stories.  We’ll be doing it using CoverItLive, and it’s FREE!