Posted in Conferences & Conventions, journalism, multimedia journalist

10 Things I Learned At #ONA18

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I usually have this post done the Monday after the 18th annual Online News Association conference. But there was so much to unpack I needed extra time to process everything.  And for those of you who didn’t make it this year, it was just as good as it looked on social media, so I hope you’re preparing for New Orleans next year. So here’s my review.

Board elect

  1. The ONA board is very popular! We have a record 22 folks running for six board seats, including me. No matter who wins, the board will be in a great position to help implement ONA’s strategic plan, already in progress. Click here to see the video, listen to the audio or read the social media on the candidate’s forum. Did I mention there was a bar? You have until Sept. 27 to vote, here.
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Partial group photo of #NABJAtONA
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#TheBrownAndTheBeautiful photo at ONA, styled by Paul Cheung.

2. Diversity a thing! I remember when there were so few of us attending the ONA conference that we all fit into a picture. But not this year! My #NABJ tribe took a photo but had to take several in order to get everyone, and we still didn’t do it. I saw many more people of color and got to see many friends I made at my first (and the last true) Unity convention in Chicago in 2008. And my heart was warmed seeing how many NABJ members say they will attend ONA in 2019. Overall, the diversity at this year’s conference was pretty good. Wait until New Orleans! #NABJAtONA

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The HBUC Fellows and Leader Michael Grant at ONA’s awards banquet.

3. The ONA HBCU Fellows crushed it — again! THESE are the #ONA18 HBCU Digital Journalist Fellows at our awards banquet. Left to right: Xavier McKnight (Savannah State); Leah Proctor-Ford (Spelman); Shayla Simmons (Tennessee State); Kyla Wright (Hampton); Daja Henry (Howard); and Program Lead Mentor Michael R. Grant (Grambling State).  I strongly encourage you to check out their work here, under HBCU FELLOWS REPORTING. And if you’re looking to diversify your newsroom internships, contact them; they’re all seniors! Or contact me — I’ll help you find them and other deserving students of color in need of paid internships.

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4. I get by with a little help from my friends. I have to thank all of my friends who stopped by to speak with the HBCU fellows. They took time out of their busy schedules to share their experiences and wisdom with these young people. Most importantly, they made the HBCU fellows really think about the realities of a journalism career. So shout out to my boss Mandi Woodruff, executive editor at LendingTree; Rochelle Riley, award-winning columnist at the Detroit Free Press; 2018 CNN Diversity Fellow and SB Nation staff writer Tyler Tynes; Sarah Glover,NABJ President and NBC Social Media Editor; Ebony Reed, director of innovation and the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Futures Lab at the University of Missouri; Imaeyen Ibanga, senior producer and presenter with AJ+ and ONA board member (vote for her here); Akoto Ofori-Atta, senior editor of The Trace; and Jamal Jordan, 2017 CNN Diversity Fellow and digital storytelling editor at the New York Times.

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Award winner Marissa Evans.

5. And the winner is… This is my mentee Marissa Evans. Marissa worked in the Online News Association Student Newsroom (along with Anna-Lysa Gayle) in 2012. She is now the health policy reporter at the Texas TribuneShe was one of a few journalists of color to win an ONA journalism award for her story comparing the childbirth process in Poland and Texas. Marissa won a grant from the Pulitzer Foundation to pay for her trip to Poland (after meeting the granters at NABJ in New Orleans) to report on the story. These awards are prestigious and they are always competitive, but the right person won. P.S. If you’re looking to hire a talented journalist for your newsroom, you should definitely give Marissa a call. Or email me here — I have a lot of people who would be great for your newsroom. Seriously.

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6. Amy Webb was…soothing! Her panel, “Tech Trends For Journalists,” is always packed. It’s known for dropping some serious wisdom — and scaring the crap out of us. But this year, Amy flipped the script and focused on the optimistic side, and gave us cocktails to boot! You can view, listen to and read about her session here — and I highly recommend that you do.

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Emma Carew Grovum (leader, Journalism Mentorship Collaborative), Kim Bui (board secretary), Mandy Jenkins (board president) Benet Wilson (board VP), Charo Henríquez (board member) and Rubina Madan Fillion (board candidate).
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The annual #BlackGirlMagic photo at Amy Webb’s tech trends presentation.

7. Women rule. This is a photo of women who are kicking ass, both on the ONA board and in their careers. I hope that every one of them ends up running ONA, now and in the future.

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8. Time management. The truth is, I *suck* in this area. There was always a workshop to attend, a person to have coffee with, mentees to hug, board duties to perform, receptions and parties to enjoy, dinners to eat and cocktails to enjoy (thanks, Mandy Jenkins for making me stay up when I really wanted to sleep).

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Companies participating in the ONA Midway.

9. I saw the future of journalism. One of my favorite things about the ONA conference is The Midway. I call it an exhibit hall on steroids because you have great companies creating interesting tools and tech that help us do our jobs smarter and better. There are hands-on demonstrations and presentations on what’s next. Check out this 2:10-minute video on what you missed.

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10. The ONA staff kicks ASS! Led by Executive Director Irving Washington, this staff — a perfect blend of full-timers and great consultants — always manages to raise the bar with our conference every year. If there were issues, we never saw them. Every single time I saw a member of the ONA team, they were cool, collected and smiling. And a BIG shout out to the newest member of the staff, Diana Lopez, who started on the job mere days before we descended on Austin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Education, multimedia journalist, Technology

My Tools & Apps for Digital Journalists: What You Missed at #NABJ18

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By Benét J. Wilson

One of my new favorite features at the NABJ Annual Convention and Career Fair is the Innovation Bubble. These are one-hour sessions where you can learn about digital tools and resources you can use in your newsroom that help you work smarter and better.

I was delighted when I was asked to do a session on all the digital tools, apps and resources that I use in my job every day. The room was packed, and it went pretty quickly, so I promised that I’d share the presentation, along with other tools recommended by the audience. My goal was to show you things you could use as soon as you returned to your newsrooms on the Monday after convention.

Click here to see my Prezi presentation with all the tools I shared. But I also got input from the audience on other tools and tech you may want to consider. Please feel free to add your favorites in the comments!

  1. EasyGif: Use this tool to make your own gifs.
  2. Atlas: From the publishers of Quartz, this tool to create your own charts that you can embed into stories.
  3. Pixlr: This desktop and mobile app is that is a Swiss army knife for those who work with photos, including photo editors, a screen recorder and a photo-sharing service.
  4. Google Scholar: Looking for experts to add to your story? This website serves as a repository of professors, scholars and lawyers who can help. Type in your topic and watch the magic!
  5. Hootsuite: This free tool allows you to schedule your social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube.
  6. Buffer: The free and paid versions of this web and mobile app also allows you to schedule social media posts. The paid version gives you great analytics about your posts.
  7. Over: Take your photos to the next level by using this tool to add captions, change fonts and play with filters. It comes with more than 4,000 editable templates, millions of commercial-free stock images and 20,000+ graphics.
  8.  Tape-A-Call: This app allows you to record calls that convert into MP3s that can be easily shared. Make sure to check your state’s laws on recording phone calls.
  9. Google Translate: This desktop tool and mobile app (iOS or Google Play) can translate more than 100 languages. It isn’t perfect, but it does a good job for basic things. You can type, speak or write words or short phrases. You can hold your smartphone camera up to a sign and have it instantly translated. You can download any language and use all these functions even if you don’t have Wi-Fi or cellular access on your phone.
  10. Knightlab tools: One I recommended in my presentation was Timeline JS. But Knightlab has three other tools designed to help you tell your stories. Juxtapose allows you to compare two photos taken at different times. Soundcite allows you add short audio clips to your story right under any text you choose. Storymaps allows you to create maps and add text that helps illustrate a story.
  11. Ground: This new app, created by a journalist, uses artificial intelligence to help users verify news events happening around them.
  12. Nappy: Looking for free African-American stock photos? This website has wonderful pictures of our people at work and at play.
  13. Snapz Pro X: Use this tool to record your screen or save it as a QuickTime movie or screenshot that can be e-mailed or shared on the web.
  14. Snagit: This is another tool that allows you to record your screen for videos and photos.
  15. EasyPrompter: This web-based app turns your computer, tablet or smartphone into a teleprompter.
  16. Hunter: Looking for the email of someone who works at an organization? This tool scours the web to find their name and email address.
  17. Whentogram: Let this app tell you the best times to post to Instagram.
  18. Unum: Use this app to craft layouts, create and tailor grid, save posts to drafts and plan the perfect Instagram feed.
  19. TilePic: Turn your photos into tiled banners that can be posted on Instagram.
  20. Google Keep: This tool allows you to take notes, lists, photos, and audio to keep up with your life.
  21. Quertime — 15 Online Tools to Create E-Magazines, eBooks and Digital Newspapers
  22. Quertime — 15 Online Tools to Create Impressive Resumes

Benét J. Wilson is the travel + rewards associate editor for MagnifyMoney.com and CompareCards.com. She is also owner/editor-in-chief of Aviation Queen LLC, a freelance writing and consulting business.

Posted in Equipment, Innovation, journalism, multimedia journalist

Friday Fast Five + Five: Your Guide To New Media

  1. LinkedInHow to not make newcomer mistakes on LinkedIn
  2. JeffBullas.com12 Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make on Twitter If You Want More Followers
  3. Life HackerThe Best Extensions to Make Google Maps Even More Awesome
  4. Mashable12 Best iPhone Apps of 2014
  5. IJNETAnalice.me helps journalists automatically analyze thousands of documents
Posted in Education, journalism, multimedia journalist, Technology

10 Things You Can Do NOW To Step Up Your Digital Game

It’s a new year, and it’s not too late to add a work-related resolution — learn new digital skills. Don’t be afraid. We’ve compiled this list of 10 simple things to get you started!

  1. Hold and record a Google Hangout.
  2. Step up your game on Twitter.
  3. Record and upload a story on Soundcloud.
  4. Create an embeddable map using Google Fusion Tables.
  5. Try your hand at coding – for free!
  6. Test out these alternatives to a PowerPoint presentation.
  7. Learn how to make infographics.
  8. Take a Skillcrush class on becoming a WordPress developer.
  9. Whip up an embeddable timeline using Timeline JS.
  10. Learn Google Analytics with a free online course.
Posted in Education, Innovation, journalism, multimedia journalist

Happy New Year! Start Here To Jumpstart Your Career in 2015

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It’s 2015, and yes, we’re all making our New Year’s resolutions. One of yours should be to step up your digital journalism skills to keep you relevant in your current newsroom or help you become a star in a new one.

To that end, NABJ’s Digital Journalism Task Force and the Diverse Social Media Editors and Digital Journalists Facebook group will host a free series of webinars — New Year, New You, Part 2 — in January, all designed to boost your digital skills in 2015. Click here to see what we did in 2014.

First up, on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, at 8:30 p.m. ET, is “Tech & Tools Journalists Can Use,” a free hour-long webinar where panelist will share and demonstrate their favorite tools, websites, apps and technology that help them do their jobs smarter and better. We’ll leave time for questions after the presentation, which will be recorded. Our media partner for this event is AllDigitocracy.org.

Watch this space for other webinars we’ll be holding this month to boost your skills.  And if there are webinars you want to see, let us know.  Here’s to a great 2015!

Posted in Education, Equipment, multimedia journalist

Friday Fast Five + Five: Your Guide To New Media

It’s the end of the month, and very close to the end of the year. So below are not five, not 10 but 20 hacks, tips and tools you can try out as you work on boosting your digital storytelling skills in 2015. Enjoy, and happy new year!

  1. Medium – How they did it — Part 1: Spotting storytelling tools in the wild
  2. Knight BlogNew Digital Tools Every Journalist Should Try
  3. LinkedInThe Top 10 Get Sh*t Done Tools
  4. PBS8 Digital Tools Every Journalist Should Try
  5. GigaomHow to get faster answers to your searches in Google Chrome for Android
  6. IJNet – SoundCite makes it easier to add audio clips to text stories
  7. Blogging Tips – Top 10 Essential URL Shorteners 
  8. Knight Center, University of Texas – Maps, timelines and infographics: 5 tools to build your own interactive visualizations
  9. RebelMouse – 7 ways to write better headlines
  10. Re/Code Here’s the Twitter Tracking Tool More People Should Know About
  11. PBS10 Social Media Tips for a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign
  12. Mashable – 7 Tips for Surviving The Leap From Employee to Entrepreneur 
  13. Buffer Social – The Ideal Length of Everything Online, Backed by Research
  14. Gizmodo10 tricks to make yourself an Evernote master
  15. PBS11 Steps to a Better Twitter Stream
  16. Knight Digital Media Center – Tools for mobile community engagement
  17. Mashable – How I Gained 68,000 Followers by Live-Tweeting
  18. Socialbrite – 9 time-saving tips to write more blog posts
  19. Blogging Tips – 8 Ways to Use Video the Right Way on Your Blog 
  20. MediaBistroThe 7 Elements of an Optimized Twitter Profile [INFOGRAPHIC]
Posted in Education, Entrepreneur, Innovation, journalism

Unemployed? In Between Jobs? Launch That Blog – NOW!

When I do my free resume reviews for students and young journalists starting out, many times I either see gaps in employment or not enough internship experience or time on school media platforms.

When I discuss the findings of my reviews, I note the lack of experience or the gaps and ask what they are doing to continue to perfect their craft.  I get vague answers about how hard it is to find freelance work, and the conversation peters out.

The lack of freelance work is NOT an excuse.  With all the free and low-cost web-based platforms out there, there’s no reason why you can’t use them to showcase your work. I found a great article forwarded to me by one of my Twitter followers from the International Journalist’s Network blog: “Six tips for journalists on launching a successful blog.”

I blog here. I also created AviationQueen.com back in November 2010, and I regularly guest post on journalism and aviation blogs.  My blog and others were godsends when I got laid off in October 2011. Some gigs were paid and some were not, but all of them got me exposure and led to job leads.

But blogging is not the only thing you can do.  Create a talk show on BlogTalkRadio on the topics you hope to cover.  I met Hezzie McCaleb, one of the founders of Barbershop Sports, at the NABJ convention in San Diego. Check out their website and how they use BlogTalkRadio.

Other ideas to get your work out and practice your craft:

  • Create your own stories using tools like Ustream and post them on your own YouTube or Vimeo channel;
  • Start a Tumblr blog on a specific topic;
  • Offer to guest blog on blogs you admire and have some expertise in;
  • Create your own podcasts using tools such as SoundCloud, Cinch or AudioBoo;
  • Comment on blogs and websites you admire, using the URL for your blog so people can follow your work; and
  • Sign up for social media platforms to further promote your work.

I understand that we all have bills to pay, and sometimes we have to take that job outside journalism to make sure we have a roof over our head and food in the fridge.  But with all the tools out there, you have zero excuse not to keep up your journalism skills. Good luck!!

Benét J. Wilson is the vice president of education for the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force.  She also serves on the board of the Online News Association.  She is the coeditor of AirwaysNews.com and  a freelance aviation journalist and blogger.