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Journalism 101

College Student Revisits Highs and Sweet’n Lows of Summer Newspaper Internship

For his first “Just Add Coffee” column of the fall 2012 school year, San Jose State University student and The Spartan Daily production-art director Leo Postovoit (pictured) focuses tongue-in-cheek on his just completed four-month unpaid summer internship at the San Francisco Chronicle.

He writes that cat video playlists outnumbered his output of straight journalism, and that Giants-Dodgers trash talk took precedence over completed graphics. He also shares his unusual big-picture view of what lies ahead after graduation:

It seemed that this internship may have on the surface been about a specific trade or task that I had committed to, but on a much deeper level, it was about building a ritualized interpersonal relationship with the people you meet…

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Hemispheres Wants Your Not-So-Typical Travel Stories

United’s in-flight magazine Hemispheres is not your everyday travel mag. Its list of contributors boasts high-profile bylines like David Carr of The New York Times and Tom Chiarella of Esquire. Don’t worry, though — most of its content is written by freelancers, and editor-in-chief Joe Keohane is open to quality pitches.  “If the story’s good and the writing’s good, I don’t care about the name,” he said.

What separates Hemispheres from the rest of the magazines in your front seat pocket is its focus on general interest topics. Twelve million fliers a month get their hands on it, so travel takes a back seat to topics that will appeal to a broad range of readers. They must be “informative, well-reported, well-written and interesting to a general audience,” said Keohane.

For more information on what to pitch and who to contact, read How To Pitch: Hemispheres [sub req'd]

Inside a Magazine Pitch That Worked

Keen observation skills are key to a journalist’s trade — that’s how freelancer Jennifer Nalewicki landed a piece in Texas Highways. After watching the documentary “Truck Farm,” she noticed that one of the farms listed on its website was in Dallas. After remembering an “odd garden” from an event she attended a year earlier and finding even more examples online, Nalewicki knew she was on to something and pitched TH‘s “Taste” section.

“Jennifer thought of a lively, original concept that fit the magazine’s mission and needs; communicated it clearly and concisely to us; and demonstrated that her abilities fit the topic,” said senior editor Lori Moffatt. “The concept was already well conceived, and the pitch demonstrated that she knew both the magazine’s style and readership.”

THE PITCH:

Dear Jill:

I saw a documentary the other day called “Truck Farm,” about a filmmaker/farmer named Ian Cheney, who, upon moving to Brooklyn in 2009, discovered that finding a plot of soil in the concrete jungle was impossible. So he transformed the bed of his grandfather’s 1986 Dodge Ram Pickup Truck into a portable garden…

Read the full pitch and find out why the editor chose it in Pitches that Worked: Texas Highways. [Mediabistro AvantGuild subscription required]

LA High School Students Complete 2012 Princeton Summer Journalism Program

Check it out. The just-published 2012 edition of The Princeton Summer Journal includes the bylines of three LA area high school students: Angela Kim (Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies), Laura Nunez (Animo Leadership High School) and Marco Rivas (Bishop Mora Salesian High School).

A total of 22 students from around the country came together at the Princeton University campus August 3-13. Now in its tenth year, the program was founded by a group of Class of 2001 students and once again featured lectures, working on the annual newspaper and some cool field trips:

One night, the group attended a Trenton, NJ Thunder minor league baseball game as part of a unit on sports journalism that included a talk by Dick Friedman, senior editor at Sports Illustrated. Another day, the group boarded a bus for New York and toured the offices of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, The New York Times and CNN.

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Nieman Lab Congratulates LA Times Employee for ‘Best F-Bomb of the Conference’

Thanks to the wonders of Web video, it’s possible to point readers to the exact minute and second mark where the good stuff can be found. Case in point: Nieman Lab staff writer Adrienne LaFrance’s item extolling some of the best video clips culled and belatedly posted from this spring’s International Symposium on Online Journalism.

We wrote at the time about LA Times database producer Ben Welsh’s participation. But we did not realize until now that it featured a “crescendo that ends with the best F-bomb of the conference:”

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Freelancers Needed at This Bitchin’ Pub

Bitch provides its readers “a feminist response to pop culture,” and with such an eye-catching, jaw-dropping title, its content is nothing short of edgy.

“We rely on freelancers to pitch us,” editor-in-chief Kjerstin Johnson said. “If we generate an idea in house, we may send a query to a group of established freelancers,” but she emphasizes that the Bitch team is hungry for solid stories with new angles.

Without any staff writers to fill the gaps, freelancers generate almost all of the magazine’s content — including features, which are anything from analytical essays on the power of style to author Q&As, running 2,000-4,000 words.

For more guidelines and editors’ contact info, read How To Pitch: Bitch.

Andrea Hackett

ag_logo_medium.gifThis article is one of several Mediabistro features exclusively available to AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, you can register for as little as $55 a year and get access to these articles, discounts on seminars and workshops and more.

OC Weekly Editor Joins Chapman University Faculty Ranks

Gustavo Arellano has a solid piece today in the OC Weekly about the civil unrest in his hometown, titled “Anaheim’s Tragic Kingdom.” But he’s also in the news for another reason.

Per an item in the OC Register, the OC Weekly editor will be teaching journalism this fall at his Alma Mater Chapman University:

Arellano, known for his award-winning “¡Ask a Mexican!” column, will teach a journalism class for staffers of The Panther student newspaper… He has taught classes in the Department of Chicano and Chicana Studies at Cal State Fullerton for the past two years and previously taught at UC Irvine and UCLA.

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Pitch ‘Girlfriend Commentary’ to Clutch

Digital magazine Clutch prides itself on providing information and community for African-American young women. And, with 90 percent of its content penned by outside contributors, the freelance-friendly site is looking for pitches from the readers who know it best.

“We love having voices of people who actually read the site, from actual Clutchettes,” said founder and editorial director Deanna Sutton.

Fresh off a redesign that focuses on one feature daily, the site has grown by leaps and bounds, but Sutton said she’s still very attuned to what will appeal to her target audience. ” I know I can’t talk about Kim Kardashian. I know I can’t talk about [model] Amber Rose. There are certain topics that are going to cause a fight if we try to go there.” So, Clutch focuses instead on the 1,000,000,001 other subjects that are relevant to readers’ lives.

For more details and editors’ contact information, read How To Pitch: Clutch.

Andrea Hackett

AvantGuild logoThis article is part of Mediabistro’s AvantGuild program. If you’re not a member, sign up now for access to 157 “How To Pitch” articles, course discounts and more.

Peter Arnett Talks About His Chinese Journalism Students

When he’s not residing in LA, Pulitzer Prizer winner, Osama bin Laden interviewer and one-time CNN war correspondent Peter Arnett is teaching journalism students at Shantou University in southern China. He tells Fairfax NZ News reporter Alex Fensom that his charges are exceedingly industrious:

“I’ve got 60 to 80 students each semester … They are better educated than I ever was. There’s no smoking, no drinking, no fighting.”

Intriguingly, Arnett says he senses that the Chinese government realizes its days of being able to control the flow of inbound and outbound news information are gradually coming to an end. Which would leave the country’s unlikeliest ally North Korea as a Asia’s only remaining hidebound nation.

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The Secrets to a Successful ‘Hacks-a-Thon’

We were there last month to watch the climax of io/LA’s second annual “Hollywood Hack Day.” This great coding meet-up concept is being repeated July 27-29 and, per a report this morning on the PBS MediaShift website by Investigative News Network (INN) editorial director Evelyn Larrubia, has also been co-opted for journalism purposes:

How do you get a group of journalists scattered around the country to coalesce around an idea? There are many different approaches, but one we’ve taken recently  is running story workshops at journalism conferences. We first tried this approach in April, at the Collab/Space event before the Logan Symposium at UC Berkeley.

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