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Karen Fratti

Karen Fratti is a media and technology writer based in New York City. You can follow her at @karenfratti.

Journos React to News of a Filtered Twitter

twitterToday, Twitter made it clear that they are going to start filtering your timeline in a Facebook-like fashion. Or not, depending on who you read. If the tech industry is trying to delight us, this is not the way. At least for the media-minded who use Twitter for ideas, reporting, and, well, everything. Here are some takes from journalists on the rumors:

 

And some good ideas from Zeynep Tufekci:

 

What do you think about filtering the feed? Let us know @10,000Words.

Back to School Links: 3 Pieces New (and Old) Journos Should Wrap Their Heads Around

adrevenueIt’s back to school season, which means there will be a lot of journalism students sitting around debating how to best make money doing it. We just can’t stop wondering or examining how it’s all changed. The discussion isn’t just happening in ivory towers, either. In the past week, current journos and editors at large have been pondering it as well:.

  • David Plotz took to to his Twitter feed to tweet out all of the options. Then, he did the right thing and just compiled them into this post on Slate.  What’s interesting is how 2014 compares to 1998. He could only think of five good ways to raise money — banner ads, being the biggest earner. Now? With membership models like Slate’s Plus, podcasts and conferences, things are just more complicated, but hardly as bleak. 

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Media Internships Don’t Lead to Jobs. So What?

help-wantedWe all know internships are the best way to get a job in media, right? Er, not so much, according to this interactive chart via LinkedIn.

The research doesn’t even delve into the issues of paying interns or what, if anything, you can get from working in digital media. If you scroll down and click through the Media/Entertainment category you’ll see that:

  • In Sports, Publishing, and Media Production, there are lots of internships available (as any job board search will show) but very few actually turn into full time positions.
  • If you want to get into broadcast as a journalist, you’re in even worse luck: few opportunities, and of those, you have almost no chance of getting a job.

For communications and journalism majors starting school this season, that can be discouraging. But it’s also the nature of the industry. Scrolling over Financial Services, you might be wont to change majors. But big accounting firms, for example, recruit their interns and breed them into full time employees. It’s sort of like being in the military, you pass one test, or grueling six month program, and move up the ranks.

In news and publishing, it’s a little harder. Some solutions:

  1. If you don’t land an internship at a large media company — which is also hard to do if you’re enrolled in a school anywhere but New York, stay local or small. There’s nothing wrong with working for the little guys, except that they are most definitely not paying you. You’ll probably get to do more hands on work anyway, and make contacts that actually have time to email you back when you reach out post-graduation.
  2. Go niche. Are you really into sports? Marijuana legislation? Climate change? There are lots of great publishers making their name by being experts in one little thing. Seek them out and beg. And make sure you’re web presence and writing is easily found.
  3. I know there’s the catch-22 of often needing an internship to graduate or for credit, in which case, too bad for you. But if I could go back to school right now, I’d be blogging like nobody’s business. Write. Find your beat. Interact and engage with other writers on social media and in their comments. Then you’ll have more than just a semester of cutting video clips and fiddling with a publisher’s social media accounts: you’ll have some experience.

What are your internship woes? Let us know in the comments or @10,000Words.

3 Takeaways From the Knight News Challenge ‘Lessons Learned’ Report

KNClessonslearnedreportThe Knight News Challenge released a report this week on “Lessons Learned,” from past projects. The report, completed in a collaboration with Arabella Advisors, uses survey and interview data with 2010-2011 winners and is a great resource for anyone looking to submit a proposal for the next challenge — or anyone thinking of starting a news focused project in their newsroom.

Some takeaways:

1) Figure out what kind of manpower you need. You can mix full time staff with volunteers, but you definitely need a dedicated, paid, group of people to be focused on the project all of the time. Passion is always a plus. We all have a passion for journalism and innovation, so much so, that it’s kind of a boring trait to have. But nothing gets people motivated like being compensated fairly for their time. Think about this in the newsroom: you want more interactive data visualizations. You can’t just ask someone to do it in their free time if you’re serious about increasing the use of them on your site. You need to give someone more money to launch that project or hire another team member.

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HuffPo Will Never Hire You

fergusonfellowshipI would begin by ranting about new lows in paying journalists, but the events in Ferguson are already so gut wrenching on their own that it would be a bit dramatic.

That doesn’t mean that crowdfunding a journo is ok. Today, The Huffington Post announced that it is going to allow local resident Mariah Stewart to train with their staffer Ryan Reilly to:

…cover the ongoing story of Ferguson, tracking the federal investigation into the killing of Michael Brown and reporting on the empaneled grand jury. She’ll monitor the activity of the local and county police forces once the national spotlight dims, and will learn the intricacies of public records requests in an effort to divine the funding sources and uses of military gear in the county.

They’re calling it the Ferguson Fellowship and it will all be done through Beacon. Is this a good idea? It’s certainly true that the best images and live reporting from what I’ve come to think of as the seventh level of hell, has come from residents on the ground.

fergusonfellowship2

But, but. Why can’t they just hire another reporter? Because while I’m all about empowering and training and teaching young journalists (and it’s nice that she’s a woman), I also know a lot of people who paid large universities (like Ms. Stewart) to learn the craft and could sure as heck use a job this fall. Mariah could probably use a salary with benefits and some paid sick and vacation days, too. The Beacon campaign only goes through if it reaches $40,000. I am curious about how that is paid out to her? Or just to HuffPo? Do they throw Reilly a little tip for his troubles?

For some reason, if it were the local Ferguson paper saying “hey, we’re broke and need to hire someone to help continue good coverage” I would be more interested. That The Huffington Post can’t spare $40,000 a year for a reporter makes this freelancer want to curl up into a ball and listen to the new Taylor Swift album, a sure a sign as any that the world is coming to an end.

And then, some rewards for donating. For $2,000 you can get a shout out from the HuffPo Twitter account. Seriously.

What do you think about the Fellowship? Let us know @10,000Words.

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