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, Equipment, multimedia journalist, Social Media

Friday Fast Five + Five

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

As usual, I have an overloaded bookmark folder with stuff I want to pass along.  So until I find the time to whittle down the pile, you’ll be getting five plus five until further notice.  For newer readers, I do this column every Friday of interesting tools, technology, websites and tips that can help you do your job as a journalist better.  Enjoy!

  1. 10000 WordsFive ways to visualize your personal data. I found the Tweet stats website to be particularly insightful, since I oversee five different accounts.
  2. Adam Westbrook10 free and totally legal programs every multimedia journalist should have. I’m one of those people who likes to try all the latest programs. Some I use suggested here include GIMP, Audacity and Instapaper.
  3. NetworkedStreamlining your social media posting: How to update more than one site at a time. Between my work and personal life, I’m juggling several social media sites, so you need to control that. The suggestions here are good, but I’m a BIG fan of TweetDeck, which lets me manage my Twitter accounts and my various Facebook pages.
  4. Journalists’ Toolkit — 7 Do’s and Don’ts for Video on Point-and-Shoot Cameras.  For those who are still using these types of cameras for shooting video, these are some good tips.
  5. Mashable46 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed.  I love it when Mashable does this list, because I always manage to find something I haven’t used before.  This time I discovered the following: HOW TO: Avoid and Prevent Facebook Spam; 7 Superb Short Films Shot With Cellphones; and HOW TO: Launch Any Product Using Social Media.
  6. MakeUseOf — 5 Cool Ways To Make Use Of National Geographic Maps.  Here’s an alternative to the usual map suspects.
  7. Teaching Online JournalismIdeas for using Encyclo in journalism classes. While this post is targeted to teachers, aren’t we all trying to keep up with the latest tools in journalism? Encyclo can help.
  8. Innovative Interactivity IIHosting options for multimedia websites.  Thinking about finally getting that new website off the ground?  This post tells you the best places to host said website.
  9. Vadim LavrusikNew to Twitter? Here Are 12 Tips From the Community. As I watch more and more friends jumping onto Twitter, this is a handy guide from the guy who is now running Facebook’s project to attract more journalists.
  10. PC World12 Must-Have Android Apps for Road Warriors.  I’m an iPhone user, but plenty of my peeps out there (hi @brandonvivo!) are addicted to their Android phones, so I’m showing them the love.
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 Education, Innovation, 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: the replay of today’s  NABJ Reinvention Committee and Digital Journalism Task Force  BlogTalkRadio “In the Thick of My Career: Searching for the ‘New Me,’” is now posted, here.  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.

  1. 10000 WordsVisual Thesaurus for Writers
  2. NetworkedTools that help you get more from Twitter
  3. Teaching Online Journalism10 useful resources about data visualization
  4. Engage: The BlogHow to Create Unforgettable Content: 4 Tips Inspired by Nicki Minaj
  5. Brand Me A JournalistParticipating in journalism chats to establish your personal brand
Posted in multimedia journalist, Social Media

Friday Fast Five + Five – The Hodgepodge Edition

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

As I continue to try to whittle down my Friday Fast Five bookmark folder, I thought today I’d just pick the first 10 from the folder instead of doing a theme.  And as lead blogger here, I’m going to take the opportunity to make a plug.  It’s time for the kids to go back to school, and we should also consider our own education.  Now is the perfect time to pick up your copy of Mark Luckie’s The Digital Journalist’s Handbook.  If you can’t afford to go back to school or pay for an expansive seminar, Mark’s book is the next best thing. We now go back to our regular programming, already in progress…

  1. Mashable – How Freelancers are Using Social Media for Real Results
  2. Teaching Online Journalism – Looking at jQuery for visual journalism
  3. Copyblogger – 14 Foolproof Proofreading Tips for Bloggers
  4. You get 2-for-1 here: Spyrestudio – 15 Great Mindmapping Tools and Apps AND Online Journalism Review – Mapping technology provides journalists a new medium for storytelling online
  5. Alexandre Gamela – Creating Timelines
  6. Mashable – 5 Things the Library of Congress is Archiving Online (news sites and Tweets are among the list)
  7. News Videographer – How to find public domain video
  8. Knight Digital Media Center – Learning the web: Lisa Williams’ guide for journos, Part 1 and part 2
  9. The Comms Corner – 10 ways to keep tabs on ‘live’ hashtag chats on Twitter
  10. Digiphile – Top 50 Twitter Acronyms, Abbreviations and Initialisms