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The Root Seeks Smart, Timely Pieces Affecting African-Americans for Its 60/60 News Cycle

Time has seen the news evolve from monthly and weekly reports on current events to the 24/7 news cycle. However, digital outlets like The Root, a hub of news, commentary and analysis from a thoughtful black perspective, aim to satisfy the masses that demand updates on a minute-by-minute basis. Managing editor Lyne Pitts calls this the 60/60 news cycle.

For writers pitching The Root, timeliness is just one component. Pitts recommends that freelancers focus on quality writing and reporting on issues in pop culture, politics and more that affect African-Americans. Stories should be about something current and the tone should be “very reactionary” and “smart in that reaction.”

Pitts adds that:

If you’re thinking it, we’re probably talking about it. That’s the way pitches need to be in terms of timeliness, focus and reaction to what’s going on. If you send me a pitch on Friday about something that happened on Wednesday, we may have already moved on.

For more on what editors are looking for, read: How to Pitch: The Root.

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Seattle Times Columnist Writes Everything By Hand For Two Days

Monica Guzman wrote everything by hand for two days and photographed each piece of writing.

Monica Guzman wrote everything by hand for two days and photographed each piece of writing.

If you haven’t heard of Seattle Times columnist Monica Guzman‘s crazy experiment yet, I’m here to tell you that it’s more important than it may initially seem.

Guzman got to thinking about how much more “writing” humans do than ever before, and especially journalists, what with tweets and Facebook posts to write, reader comments to which to respond, stories, note-taking, transcribing and of course, the dreaded email.

“I wanted to get a more tactile feel for my share of this digital mother lode. So last week, I did something crazy. I wrote everything by hand,” she wrote (or typed?) for the Times.

She says she didn’t do it because she loves writing cramps and cursive.

“I did it to hack my brain. To make it slow down and notice the flurry of digital mutterings it writes and sends so easily, they barely register as mutterings at all.”

Read more

Source Sleuth Looks to Connect Journalists, Bloggers with Quality Sources

source sleuthGood story sources aren’t always easy to come by, as most journalists can attest. And, the stress of deadline pressure can make finding those sources an even more daunting task.

But, while there are several free services out there to help, there are few that take the time to vet those same sources.

Enter Chicago-based Source Sleuth, a free service that seeks to connect journalists, bloggers and other writers with “quality sources.” Read more

Journo-Inspired Beach Reads: What Are You Reading?

Lthe last magazineong weekends call for good reads. This summer I’ve already devoured two journo-inspired novels: Sarah Cahalan’s Brain on Fire and Michael Hastings’ The Last Magazine. 

You might have already read Brain on Fire, so forgive me for coming late to the party. It was on the NYT’s Bestseller List  in 2012 and it was just announced that Dakota Fanning and Charlize Theron will be starring in the film adaptation. It’s a compelling memoir chronicling Cahalan’s “month of madness,” while working as a reporter for the New York Post. While the book focuses on mental illness, there’s also little love letters to journalism and what’s its like to be a young reporter scattered throughout. Good prose and an honest voice.

Then, there’s the scathing look at the publishing industry and the state of mainstream journalism — fictionalized, of course, in Hastings’ posthumous novel The Last Magazine. It’s sort of Bonfire of the Vanities, but for journalists. It’s literary merits may be questionable, but the navel gazing and trying to find the real life inspiration for the characters makes it a perfect summer indulgence.

What are you reading? Any good non-fiction tips? Journo-inspired novels and memoirs? Keep us in the loop @10,000Words.

3 Symptoms of the Summer Newsroom Blues

summersky.jpgComing upon a three day weekend — and living through summer in general — it’s easy to make mistakes. We’re lucky, we can post and promote our stories from anywhere. Recently, I’ve seen some summer haze missteps. Don’t let this be you.

1) The post about a post that’s really a round up of other people’s posts.

Come on, guys. I know there is nothing to write about sometimes (I’ll wait for sarcastic comments about this post, too, it’s only fair), but did you really need content there, that badly? It wasn’t even noon yet and they had all but given up. Have another iced coffee and try again.

2) Overuse of social media cliches. 

ICYMI_intell.jpg

ICYMI. Winning the internet. Or worse, emojis. I’ve suffered from newsroom delirium. You stop caring, you think it’s funny, and let it rip. Once is allowed. Twice? Take a ten minute tanning break in the parking lot, come back, and try again. Ariana Huffington would approve. Read more

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