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How to Be a Community Journalist

There’s no doubt technology has made it easier to cover current events and breaking news on a global scale. Likewise, websites like Patch have helped to reignite the notion of reporting on local news. And for some freelance writers and photographers, going local is the ticket to getting steady work. In Mediabistro’s latest Journalism Advice column, we share some tips on how freelancers can break into the oft-forgotten field of community journalism.

The first step is to be invested in the community you’re covering — and to know it well. Lance Knobel, founder of community news site Berkeleyside, which covers Berkeley, Calif., said:

The benefit of writing for sites like Berkeleyside is that journalists can really dig into a local issue. It’s very much ground-level reporting; nothing happens at 35,000 feet.

You should also be prepared — at least for the first story or two — to write for free. The benefit, of course, is getting your name out there and gaining the trust of your editors. According to Tracy Record, editor of the West Seattle Blog:

Your work is likely to be read and remembered by more people via our readership than if you are buried somewhere in a mid-level metro.

For more tips from editors on how to start working in community journalism, read: 6 Ways to Break Into Community Journalism.

The 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.

 

Four Ways to Become a Social Media Influencer

fb logoIf you’re active on social media and want to know how to become an influencer, listen up.

According to serial entrepreneur Marc Fischman, there are several key factors to keep in mind. We connected with the CEO and co-founder of Hyperactivate to get the scoop and we figured he knows a thing or two about the topic since his company was named one of the top three social media start-ups last year by Entrepreneur.

1. Become an expert. That’s right, go ahead and master a topic so people trust your opinion! Fischman explains, “The idea here is to embrace your area of expertise so passionately, that your blog or twitter feed goes beyond just reporting news; it actually espouses opinions that you formulate and that people will seek out and evaluate.  Does this represent a commitment on your part? For sure.” Read more

Four Ways to Assert Your Independence Over Technology

email at signThat is, a digital detox. Who’s with us?

With the July 4th holiday of course comes fireworks, barbecues and thoughts of independence. What better way to declare your independence than break free from the shackles that bind. And by shackles we mean technology.

Yes, we know mobile devices make life easier and oh-so-convenient but they also make it oh-so-possible to work when you’re at the beach, on vacation and in the mode to detach and ultimately recharge.

According to a piece on Entrepreneur, there are a few ways to deplug the next few days.

1. Practice mindfulness. Be aware of the constant distractions. Set aside time on your calendar for a distraction-free zone. No interruptions. You can thank us later.

1. Reset your internal cycle. The piece points out, “A detox allows you to impose a cycle upon your technology use — while it’s constantly available, you can isolate your interaction by cutting it off completely and setting a new schedule once you resume using it.”

3. Reflect on your goals. Be still and evaluate our goals and better yet, how you’re going to accomplish them. What actions are moving you in the direction of your dreams? What achievements have you already surpassed? Take time to celebrate them, too.

4. Change your schedule to change your lifestyle. A detox shouldn’t only be a one-time deal. Sure, you can implement it this weekend but why not make it portable for use down the road?

The piece mentions the detox is a way to boost your lifestyle. “People need to have periods of activity followed by a break when they unplug and reflect. Embrace your design: Stay in rhythm.”

Pack Your Bags, Journalism Majors: New York is the Place to Be for Media Jobs

shutterstock_152295734Growing up in Central New Jersey, I experienced no shortage of access to major cities. Manhattan was a 45-minute train ride away; Boston and D.C., only four hours north and south, respectively. And for making the transition from intern to a professional in the news and media industries, there probably is no better place to be. Except maybe living in New York City itself.

Travel two hours outside the Tri-state area and job opportunities and internships drop significantly. Yet on the tiny island of Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs, media jobs reign.

A friend of mine from Indiana recently shared her media job struggles on Facebook. My immediate thought was, “Well how many jobs are even out there?” Read more

Lookin’ Good! Labor Department Releases Strong Jobs Data

job oppsAs we head into the holiday weekend, there’s good new to report as per the Department of Labor.

In June, employers added 288,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.1 percent. Can we get a woo-hoo? In addition, the number of jobs created in May was boosted to 224,000 from the original number of 217,000.

Let’s keep in mind 2014 got off to a very slow start thanks to an abysmal winter — in turn, frigid temps and horrid conditions ultimately froze hiring. According to a CBS piece, the new jobs should expedite economic growth. The math is simple: More jobs lead to more money lead to more products and services being purchased. Read more

Three Reasons to Avoid Scheduling That Early Morning Meeting

bosstoclientIf you’re in the position to run a weekly meeting (or any meeting), raise your hand! Now, keep it raised if you think the best time to hold it is 8 or 9 a.m. Well, according to a Fast Company piece, you may want to think again.

1. Different times of the day have different opportunity costs. Per a white paper, energy levels during the day peak at 8 a.m. Yes, you read that right! Go time. By late afternoon, people start dragging. So, if you have a meeting at 8 a.m., you’re erasing the opportunity for productivity. Read more

And the Number One City for Job Satisfaction Is…

employee satisfactionSan Jose!

Glassdoor released their second annual employment satisfaction report card by comparing cities of overall employee satisfaction, number of employers hiring, business outlook expectations and more.

Results are based on local employee feedback from the past year and as per results, the Bay Area has taken the honors. San Francisco has taken the second spot. In fact, both areas are the homes for a few companies that won the Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards, too. Read more

Editors Discuss How Interns Can Make a Lasting Impression

As we all know, every career — media based or otherwise — begins at the bottom of the rung. But while you toil away at data entry work, research or transcribing interviews, it’s important to remember that your time spent as an intern could be your launching pad — so it’s imperative to make a lasting impression.

One of the first things interns should understand is what their priorities are. It’s great if a media job allows its interns to regularly pitch content and story ideas, but those opportunities should be secondary. Taylor Trudon, editor of Huffington Post Teen had this to say:

It’s not to discourage or dissuade anyone from writing about what they’re passionate about or taking a side project. But it’s also important to keep your editor’s priorities in mind.

You should also be open to being mentored by your supervisor or colleagues. Don’t just listen to your boss, really take in and implement what they are trying to teach you. Mandy Stadtmiller, deputy editor of xoJane, appreciates when she sees her suggestions being used:

I really notice when someone actually takes action and doesn’t just say, ‘Oh, thanks for the good advice.’

For more internship tips from editors, read: 8 Ways to Succeed at an Editorial Internship.

 

Survey Shows How Social Media Packs a Punch in Hiring

new_twitter_logoIf you’re scanning your Twitter and Facebook profiles right now to see if anything is potentially harmful, you’re making the right move.

That’s because a new survey conducted by CareerBuilder discovered 51 percent of employers who have researched job candidates actually found content that caused them to not hire the candidate. This is up from last year’s findings of 43 percent and from 2012′s results of 34 percent. Read more

What’s Protocol for Flying With Your Boss?

globeSilently nod with us in agreement if you board a flight and slip on those earphones even though you may not even be spinning tunes on the other end. The goal? Of course, to block out chatty neighbors.

Well, when your boss is flying in the seat next to you on an international flight, the protocol is a bit more formal and professional. According to a piece in today’s New York Post, it’s important to follow your boss’ lead. Read more

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