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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.

Using the Verification Handbook? EJC Wants Your Help.

verificationhandbookWe wrote about the European Journalism Centre’s Verification Handbook this past year when it was released. In case you’ve been using it, they’re looking for some feedback for next editions. You can take the quick survey about what you like, don’t like, use, and ignore right here. If you haven’t heard the handbook, it’s a great resource with input from digital journalism’s finest thinkers: Craig Silverman, Steve Buttry, Mathew Ingram, among many others.

You can follow the EJC @ECJNET.

Freelance Journos: Would You Do A Little Content Marketing?

CONTENTRUNNER LOGOThe one thing every journalist knows (apart from how to get a source to return a call just before a deadline) is that we also have to be experts in something besides getting a good story. Business news. Sports. Tech. National security.

That’s why Content Runner’s new “Offerings” feature caught my eye. Content Runner specializes in matching writers up with people who need content. Yes, when I hear “content marketing,” I cringe a little bit, too. It can feel like making a deal with the devil. Unless that devil is paying you some extra cash. There’s no reason why working journos — especially freelancers — shouldn’t be able to make a little on the side.

It’s not just pennies per word either. Co-founder Chad Fisher explained to me that when they launched seven months ago, they attracted a lot of “users” looking for writers, but paying just pennies. “It was a race to the bottom, price wise. Read more

Journo-Inspired Beach Reads: What Are You Reading?

Lthe last magazineong weekends call for good reads. This summer I’ve already devoured two journo-inspired novels: Sarah Cahalan’s Brain on Fire and Michael Hastings’ The Last Magazine. 

You might have already read Brain on Fire, so forgive me for coming late to the party. It was on the NYT’s Bestseller List  in 2012 and it was just announced that Dakota Fanning and Charlize Theron will be starring in the film adaptation. It’s a compelling memoir chronicling Cahalan’s “month of madness,” while working as a reporter for the New York Post. While the book focuses on mental illness, there’s also little love letters to journalism and what’s its like to be a young reporter scattered throughout. Good prose and an honest voice.

Then, there’s the scathing look at the publishing industry and the state of mainstream journalism — fictionalized, of course, in Hastings’ posthumous novel The Last Magazine. It’s sort of Bonfire of the Vanities, but for journalists. It’s literary merits may be questionable, but the navel gazing and trying to find the real life inspiration for the characters makes it a perfect summer indulgence.

What are you reading? Any good non-fiction tips? Journo-inspired novels and memoirs? Keep us in the loop @10,000Words.

3 Symptoms of the Summer Newsroom Blues

summersky.jpgComing upon a three day weekend — and living through summer in general — it’s easy to make mistakes. We’re lucky, we can post and promote our stories from anywhere. Recently, I’ve seen some summer haze missteps. Don’t let this be you.

1) The post about a post that’s really a round up of other people’s posts.

Come on, guys. I know there is nothing to write about sometimes (I’ll wait for sarcastic comments about this post, too, it’s only fair), but did you really need content there, that badly? It wasn’t even noon yet and they had all but given up. Have another iced coffee and try again.

2) Overuse of social media cliches. 

ICYMI_intell.jpg

ICYMI. Winning the internet. Or worse, emojis. I’ve suffered from newsroom delirium. You stop caring, you think it’s funny, and let it rip. Once is allowed. Twice? Take a ten minute tanning break in the parking lot, come back, and try again. Ariana Huffington would approve. Read more

Best World Cup Coverage Around the Web

nytwc14.jpgIf you don’t have soccer fever yet, I feel sorry for you. It’s the one sport I can actually tolerate, and thanks to an extended overseas stint, know how to watch. With the World Cup playing on every television screen I walk by, it’s hard to not feel like there’s a extended holiday (and if the U.S. advances, it will only get more interesting).

Because I am a soccer geek, I’ve been consuming every bit of content I can find. Explainers that I don’t really need, background on Brazil, and listicles of the most attractive goalies from Ghana to Chile. Here are some of my favorite outlets for the game.

1) The New York Times. The New York Times has made downtime between the noon and three’o'clock games much more informative. Not only is their World Cup homepage clean and easy to follow — you don’t have to fight to find rankings and schedules —  they have great interactives like these diagrams of the clubs that national players come from. There’s also a great collection of essays about how different countries play the game that’s enough to make even the most skeptical soccer fan swoon a little for the game.

2) Vox. True to their mission, Vox does a lot of explaining and curating the World Cup. There’s the primer for those who want to care, but don’t really. And this collection of GIFs that not only shows some of the most popular (or infamous) players, but also has enough stats to fake a conversation with someone about Messi’s performance in past Cups.

3) Slate. By far, I have found myself tweeting and clicking on Slate’s coverage the most. Covering all things cultural surrounding the games, they take taje World Cup to another level with  this explainer about how Mexicans cheer, the ultimate defense of objectifying  soccer players, and my favorite: the Jerk Watch.

How are your favorite news outlets covering the games? Share your favorite World Cup content with me in the comments or @10,000Words.

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