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Journalism 101

Cover Black Hollywood for Sister 2 Sister

Initially launched as a newsletter for women in entertainment by industry veteran Jamie Foster BrownSister 2 Sister has been breaking stories in black Hollywood since 1988. And, unlike the gossip and innuendo rampant in the blogosphere, S2S routinely gets its information from the stars themselves.

“Our stories, they’re longer than what you’ll find in other publications, but they’re really more like conversations than interviews,” explained senior editor Ericka Boston. “Our mission is to try to teach. So, we’ll talk to the entertainers about the lessons that they’ve learned from whatever experiences they’ve gone through, and it’s more so about achieving an understanding, as opposed to just fishing for a headline.”

The pub also covers food and fitness trends and has an abundance of opportunities for freelancers. Have a great story in mind? For pitching etiquette and editors’ info, read How To Pitch: Sister 2 Sister.

Sherry Yuan

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Mediabistro Course

Freelancing 101 Online Boot Camp

Freelancing 101Starting April 28, this online event will show you the best way to start your freelancing career, from the first steps of self-advertising and marketing, to building your schedule and managing clients. By the end of this online boot camp you will have a plan for making a profitable career as a freelancer, and the skill set to devote yourself to it. Register now! 

USC Annenberg Associate Director Moonlights as KPCC Intern

There is always something valuable that can be learned from the ever-evolving digital media workplace. That’s the essential takeaway from a piece by Kristen Villareal publishing today on the Annenberg website.

Villareal reveals that USC Annenberg professor and associate director Bill Celis, 57 (pictured), is interning this summer at Southern California Public Radio (SCPR) in Pasadena. For a common-sense, admirable reason:

“Even though I’ve been in the field a long time, I thought it was crucial to re-immerse myself in a newsroom and take advantage of up-to-the-minute training in the new news ecosystem,” Celis said.

He’s a former education correspondent for the New York Times and a former reporter and columnist for the Wall Street Journal. His work on education reform has been published in American Prospect magazine, the Sunday Boston Globe and Columbia University’s Teachers College Record and Voices in Urban Education at Brown University.

Read more

USC Annenberg Alhambra Experiment Running Out of Funds

But the good news is, per an article in Pacific Standard, the Alhambra Source website may still survive as USC communications professor Sandra Ball-Rokeach is currently trying to find new sources of support to replace the grants that are scheduled to go away.

The overhead for this community news experiment launched in 2006 is low. Ball-Rokeach, together with USC colleague Michael Parks, sought to address the changing demographics of Alhambra and a paucity of coverage by the LA Times and Pasadena Star-News. From Joel Smith‘s article:

The site’s commitment to using community contributors rather than professional reporters has produced some journalistically unorthodox but popular stories: first-person accounts of being a second-generation immigrant, for instance, and a piece by the Alhambra High student body president, who explored the question of why he was the only Latino in a leadership position in a school that was half Latino…

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Write a Feature on Fabulous LA Homes for Dwell

Still going strong after 13 years, Dwell sets itself apart from other design magazines by providing insights on modern design and architecture that are as fresh as they are practical . “We don’t want people to create an artificial idea of how they live in their home,” said editor-in-chief Amanda Dameron. “We tell the owners to clean their house as if they’re having a good friend over. Don’t go buying pricey flowers!”

Dameron says that even though her team receives more than enough pitches, one of the best ways to distinguish your submission is to get behind a camera. ”We put a lot of resources behind how we tell our stories visually. So when we’re reviewing initial ideas, having good pics always helps.”

Get contact info, pitch suggestions and more at How To Pitch: Dwell

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Nick Braun

6 Tips for Landing Repeat Writing Assignments

As Sara Horowitz, founder of the Freelancer’s Union, once said, “One of the challenges for all freelancers, though, is it can be feast or famine.” Sometimes you could be raking in the assignments; at others, editors could be strangely silent when you want to hear from them the most.

In the latest Mediabistro feature, magazine veterans give tips on how to foster your relationships with editors to keep the assignments, and the paychecks, rolling in.

Read more in 6 Tips for Landing Repeat Writing Assignments.

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6 Tips for Finding Sources Worth Their Salt

When it comes to journalism, the credentials of your sources can make or break your article. Fortunately, there are a number of tools that can help you weed out the nobodies from the knowledgeables online.

By now, you’ve surely heard of HARO (Help a Reporter Out), but founder Peter Shankman, said writers can also look to trade organizations for leads. “Each trade or industry has an organization behind it that serves as spokespeople for the industry,” he explained. “They’ll always take your call.”

Get more tips in “6 Surefire Ways to Find Sources in the Digital Age.”

– Nicholas Braun

ag_logo_medium.gifThe full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

LAT Entertainment Journos Talk to ASU Students About the Job at Hand

Talk about an informative field trip stop. Last month, a group of students from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication came to LA and got to listen to the following LA Times entertainment journalists panel March 12: Steven Zeitchik, Amy Kaufman, Chris Lee, John Horn, Mary McNamara, Meg James, Scott Collins and Dawn Chmielewski.

The event was part of an ASU west coast swing titled “Covering the Business of Entertainment,” which has also encompassed visits to studio lots. From the Reynolds Center report about the panel discussion:

Kaufman said that reporters have to be careful about what information is on and off the record. It’s not a good idea to ruin a relationship with a publicist or contact, she added.

Read more

Writers Can Pitch Any Section at Journey

Journey is a bimonthly magazine that covers travel, both between states and international, in a manner that appeals to residents of Washington and other Northwestern states. With 75 percent of its content penned by freelancers, the pub is always looking for writers who can identify with the AAA publication’s readers.

“There are certain angles that make sense for a Northwestern audience and others that don’t,” explained editor-in-chief Rob Bhatt.

He also stressed that the publication likes destination pieces that don’t leave anyone out on the fun. ”We’re more of an experiential market than a luxury, high-end shopping audience,” he said.

For more details on which sections are ripe for pitching, How To Pitch: Journey.

Nicholas Braun

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Land Up to $2 Per Word at Bicycling

Bicycling, the world’s largest cycling magazine, is looking for writers who can cover the hobby from new and fresh perspectives. “There has to be a bigger story besides the fact that you rode someplace cool,” said senior editor Emily Furia.

Bicycling tries to appeal to the biking community as whole, as opposed to other cycling publications that focus on specific subcultures. And, with half of the content in the mag provided by freelancers, these editors are more than willing to take on new scribes who lack experience or whose ideas need polishing. “In the case of freelance pitches, we will typically work with the writer to refine the story angle and format,” said Furia.

Get all the details and editors’ contact info in How To Pitch: Bicycling.

Nicholas Braun

ag_logo_medium.gifThe full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Cover Entertainment and More at Instinct

Instinct, the bimonthly magazine for gay and bi-sexual men, is always on the hunt for quality content from freelance writers.

Editor-in-chief Jeff Katz told Mediabistro that he appreciates writing that has a casual but personal voice. “Our tone is approachable and fun. We want to say the things you’d hope your best friend would tell you, so we’re also a little bit sassy, sometimes a little provocative,” he added, “but we’re honest.”

Katz is also looking for stories that pertain to issues facing the LGBT community. “As gay rights change and people are getting married and adopting children, we want to continue to reflect those stories. In the upcoming issue, we’re doing a piece on finances to discuss how marriage laws play into power of attorney,” he said. “I don’t think that’s a story that would’ve been done 10 years ago, but it’s a nice change.”

The best part? 30 percent of all pitches are accepted. For more, read How to Pitch Instinct [Mediabistro AvantGuild subscription required]

Nicholas Braun

ag_logo_medium.gifThe full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

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