Archives: July 2010
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TV personality and travel journalist Robin Esrock wants to teach you how to be a travel writer.
Well, immersion’s the best solution, right? So that’s why you can join him (read: pay a rather large amount of money) to trek through the Himalayas for a view (from afar) of Mt. Everest while picking his brain on how to write and pitch stories and learning how he landed his National Geographic show.
And, because every company on the planet likes these free-publicity-for-a-”job” gigs, the fifteen people on this three-week trip will be blogging about the trip, and the best blogger wins a trip to Peru.
Still, if you’ve got $3,890 and a plane ticket to LA (where the expedition leaves from), there are worse ways to learn about travel writing. Ask your accountant if it’s tax-deductible.
Second thought: what a brilliant money-making side business for a writer. Anyone ever given thought to doing something like this? “Plein aire” writing workshops, anyone?
flickr: Joe Shlabotnik
Are you telecommuting, perhaps because your employer wants to save on office costs or because you want to have a little more freedom?
Among them: check e-mail first thing in the morning, and work on weekends (until 5p.m., the article seems to imply). Also on the list: decide when to quit and stick to it (then Miller suggests 7 p.m. as a quitting time).
As a long time home office user, our suggestions are a bit different.
Checking e-mail first thing can be an OK way to wake up, but the first thing to get done when you sit down at your computer is something productive (admit it, in the morning your inbox is just clogged with newsletters, press releases, and the Groupon of the day). Obsessive e-mail checking is actually a productivity killer—just as bad as watching Law & Order reruns while you’re “working.”
And as for working on weekends, well, you probably won’t need to. As long as you can get over the initial hump of telecommuting, which is the period of time where you want to do nothing but watch TV, raid the fridge, and do laundry, you’re going to get more work done from home than you ever thought possible at work. So if you want to take off in the middle of the day to go to the gym, yeah, you’ll make up for it later, but not by working four hours on Saturday. Just take your Blackberry to the gym and fire off a few e-mails in between cardio and strength training.
Any other work-from-homers want to chime in?
Do you ever feel like you’re not challenged at work or simply need something different? It’s a problem many of those lucky enough to find full-time employment during the Great Recession have. You got the job, the paycheck, health insurance, but it’s time to move onto something better, more challenging or enjoyable.
Still, you got to find that new job and with an unemployment rate over 9.5 percent, there’s a lot of competition. But if you do the search right, it could speed up the process. Gordon Curtis, author of the networking guide Well Connected says the key to finding that new job in the down economy is all about connecting with the right person.
“For many, the mere thought of having to embark on a job search under such conditions is overwhelming,” said Curtis. “Therefore, the key is to be as focused and strategic about one’s networking in order not to waste any precious hours that can be eked out for a campaign.”
And those grasping at social networking followers need to take note that more friends you have, doesn’t necessarily mean you have the friends that will land you a new job. Curtis says besides simply finding 1,000 friends on Twitter, you should research and figure out whom in a company could help you land that perfect upgrade.
“It is very easy to succumb to the false sense of security derived from spreading oneself too thinly and just adding to their LinkedIn connections, Facebook friends, Twitter followers, etc. Hence one needs to determine exactly the knowledge, intelligence and relationships they need to fulfill a specific goal.”
Once you find this person, you’re also supposed to figure out how you can help that individual’s company. After all, why would this powerful professional want to waste their time with you, unless you bring something to the table as well?
Ughh, that sounds like a lot of work, still thinking about finding that new job? Curtis also had some advice for media professionals on the prowl, looking to network.
Well that was quick. Two years after the Slate Group launched The Big Money, they’ve announced it will shutter the economic commentary site. And they will end it immediately.
“We regret having to share the news that we’re ceasing publication of The Big Money as of today. This has been a difficult decision, in part because so many aspects of the project have worked as we hoped,” wrote Slate heads Jacob Weisberg and John Alderman in a memo released by Romenesko.
They continued, saying, “The problem, in a nutshell, is that the site is not pointed toward profitability on a fast enough timetable. We’ve struggled to grow the site’s traffic to carry enough ad inventory to run a profitable business.”
Editor of TBM, Jim Ledbetter will transition onto Slate as a business writer. The publisher, Brendan Monaghan, will also move onto Slate’s business development team. There’s no word yet on what will happen to the rest of the TBM team.
Here’s a debate many of those entrepreneurial journalists out there might be interested in. Yesterday, during a conference about start-up investing in Silicon Valley, angel investor Ron Conway made a comment that would make many entrepreneurs heart’s flutter.
Conway argued that if someone has “the guts” to start a company than s/he should gets funds. His argument was that angel investing was a “spray and pray” business so any company should get funds to get going, just to see if it can make money. This doesn’t mean it would go funded forever, but just enough to get the idea off the ground.
Some investors agree, but not Michael Arrington of TechCrunch. He came out later in the day to say that all the investors in the start-up world are creating “an entire generation of entrepreneurs who are building dipshit companies.” That’s not exactly high-praise for the state of new businesses.
This is the message Village Voice editor Tony Ortega has for freelancers in an open memo posted to the site this morning.
It comes after an over-eager writer pitched a story, was rejected, and then just had to know why he was rejected…while dissing the magazine.
“You can imagine how much I look forward to a future pitch from this genius,” Ortega says. He adds: “The vast, vast majority of story pitches we get are really poor. Yes, this is a bad economy, there are few permanent jobs, and you seem to be up against an army of other freelancers all competing for space. But the truth is, many, if not most, of your competitors aren’t very strong.”
This advice applies to not just freelancers, we think, but also anyone looking for a job. Remember, the “average” unemployed American spends two hours looking for a job each day (and the rest of the time playing World of Warcraft or something…we assume). And many J-students are totally unprepared for journalism, missing deadlines and generally lacking in any sort of basic knowledge of how the world works.
So remember. It’s like that old joke. You don’t have to outrun the bear…you just have to outrun the other guy.
photo: Carl Chapman
The freelancers and journalists of the world have had to deal with the new “content farms” created by the likes of AOL and Yahoo!, which produces thousands of stories in hopes that some of them get clicked. Now video producers might need to take notice.
Howcast could very well do with video what Seed.com and Demand Media are doing with text. It has amassed nearly 200,000 videos online. It focuses on instructional videos, so when people search “How to buy a bike” or “How to enjoy Burning Man,” a Howcast video will pop up on the Google search.
ReadWriteWeb spoke with Howcast’s chief product officer Sanjay Raman about the site. He said that Howcast pays video producers $50 to $300 per video produced. That’s not much. But it seems even though the company wants “quality content” most of the contributors are “wanna-be filmmakers, who are looking for a place to prove their skills.”
Ahh, experienced video producers, welcome to the new age of online media and to the wonderful world of video farms.
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