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Mona Zhang

Mona is the editor of SocialTimes and social media coordinator at Mediabistro. She graduated from New York University with a degree in journalism and East Asian Studies. Before moving to NYC, she lived in Beijing, London, Madrid and Chicago.

How to Get The Most Out of Your Expert Interview

Whether you’re new to the journalism trade or just introverted, interviewing can be a daunting task – especially when you’re on deadline. In the latest Mediabistro feature, veteran writers give tips on how you can get the most out of your interviews, and what tools to use in the process. Though we have all sorts of technology to help us nowadays with recording and transcribing, there are some skills that will always be necessary in the art of interviewing:

Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. If your expert uses an unfamiliar term or draws an analogy that doesn’t make sense, ask her to expound. If you don’t understand something your expert says, your readership may not, either — and your job as a writer is often to boil down complicated or abstract ideas into practical information.

Freelance writer Rachel Heston-Davis admits she learned this after trial and error. She emphasizes the importance of asking an expert to reiterate because “you will not be able to figure something out from context later.” She adds that having misinformation in your article, or a lack of information, reflects poorly on both you as a writer and your interviewed expert. Getting clarification in an interview “really is better than the [expert] looking at your article and feeling like you didn’t understand what you’re writing about.”

For more on interviewing skills and tools, read Get the Most Out of Your Interview With an Expert.

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.

AOL’s CEO on Patch, Native Advertising and Why Journalism Won’t Die

This morning, media pros gathered at the Bryant Park Grill for the inaugural “Media Minds” breakfast, featuring Tim Armstrong, chairman and CEO of AOL, and Susan Lyne, the newly installed CEO of AOL’s brand group. Alex Jones, director of the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics & Public Policy at Harvard, moderated the event, which covered everything from women in leadership roles to the Time Inc. spinoff. While the panelists shared many insights, Armstrong’s comments on the future of content were heartening.

While the rise of digital has been blamed for the “death” of journalism, people are still voracious content consumers.  ”Technology changes a lot, but human behavior doesn’t change as much,” said Armstrong. “One of the things that’s most important to [humans] is trusting information.” He cited Google eye-tracking studies that show that, when people search, they immediately look at the URL after seeing a result to asses where the information came from. “Human beings want fast information from trusted sources… trusted brands of information, and I believe trusted brands of information come from powerful sources of people.” That means you, editors and journos. Read more

Eminent EICs Offer Advice to Aspiring Media Pros

Previously, we gathered some of the highlights of last night’s “Media Talk” panel at NYU. Here, we’ll bring you advice from all the panelists: James Bennet of The Atlantic, Joanna Coles of Cosmopolitan, Chris Hughes of The New Republic and Jane Pratt of xoJane. The panel was moderated by David Carr, who asked the panelists to offer their advice for students who want to get into the media biz. Here are their edited responses:

Joanna Coles, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan:

This business is all about ideas. If you have a good idea, I or one of my team, will hire you to write it. It can’t be a subject or topic you happen to be interested in, it has to be a genuine idea, you have to have a story. Read more

How to Keep the Comments Section Productive

(L to R) David Carr of  The New York Times, James Bennet of The Atlantic, Joanna Coles of Cosmopolitan, Chris Hughes of The New Republic, Jane Pratt of xojane.com

Last night, eminent editors-in-chief gathered for a discussion at NYU’s annual “Media Talk” panel. The event was moderated by David Carr of The New York Times and the panelists included: James Bennet of The Atlantic, Joanna Coles of Cosmopolitan, Chris Hughes of The New Republic and Jane Pratt of xojane.com. Among the discussion of the changing media biz was some helpful advice on how journalists and publishers can approach online commenters. We’ve gathered some of the highlights below: Read more

Send Your Multimedia Story Ideas to Audubon

Journos covering all things green can land a byline at the website of Audubon, one of the nation’s oldest continuously published magazines. The advocacy magazine promotes the mission of saving birds, wildlife and habitat and serves as the flagship publication of the National Audubon Society, one of the oldest environmental groups in the country.

The mag’s website covers the same nature-friendly topics as the print mag, and editors are open to hearing from freelancers who want to write Web content and establish a relationship with the pub. In particular, they would love to receive more multimedia pitches, like videos, slideshows and audio pieces. 

For more info, read How To Pitch: Audubon.

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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