Articles Archive for May 2009
I covered a fashion show recently, one called “Fashion Hits a High Note.” The designer, Leonard Simpson, who is a celebrity here in San Diego with his fashion production company Fashion Forward, rushed up and shook my hand after the show. Granted, he hugged about a hundred people before and after he passed the press area where I was packing up. I won’t let that keep me from feeling special.
Over on A Photo Editor, Rob Haggart links to a great list of successful pitches made by writer Dan Baum and his wife Margaret Knox, the same list Jackie wrote about a couple posts ago on this blog. An important thing that Haggart points out is that it’s not just a skill for writers – a photographer should be able to write a good pitch as well.
My networking attempts seemed to have paid off a few weeks ago because I just became the new “Resident Blogger” for Spot.Us, the Bay Area community-funded journalism project I mentioned in my most recent post.
It’s an unpaid internship; we just gave it a new name, but it’s a job that I sought out for the mutually-beneficial potential it has for both me and the organization. In general, I have mixed feelings about internships. I’ve had only one that I think helped me, and I’ve heard of far too many that turn talented young people into glorified slaves for little to no pay and irrelevant job experience. This one, on the other hand, will undoubtedly enhance my blogging and multimedia skills while also offering tremendous possibility for networking, increased exposure, and learning about the industry and issues of the Bay Area. How did I get this internship? I simply asked for it.
Backing up a bit, I met David Cohn, Kara Andrade and the Spot.us crew at a fundraiser/party the night before the May 1 journalism conference I attended. Believe me, networking is a lot easier with drinking, Indian food and dancing involved! I was already interested in the Spot.us crowdfunding model, and I’ve been realizing more and more the increased demand for blogging, web, and multimedia abilities in the journalism job market. I’ve also been feeling a little lost in the way of meeting people, discovering new places and learning about important issues to write about, so I asked Kara and David after if Spot.us needed an intern. Two weeks and a handful of followup emails later, the symbiotic relationship began. Of course I need some way to supplement my lack of income, so I’m actively seeking paid employment as well. But in the meantime, I’m going to learn every thing I can from this internship and hopefully it will launch me–and Meridian–to new heights.
To get a feel for my new gig, check out a Spot.us blog post I wrote today about an environmental activist from Oakland who is doing every thing she can to cut down her plastic consumption and track it on her blog, fakeplasticfish.com. I interviewed her on BlogTalkRadio, which is an online radio show that records interviews and archives them into podcasts. I learned that I need to work on my radio voice and loose the commentary, but hey, at least I’m learning. Check back to read more about my experience with Spot.us.
My networking attempts seemed to have paid off a few weeks ago because I just became the new “Resident Blogger” for Spot.Us, the Bay Area community-funded journalism project I mentioned…
Perhaps I am a bit biased, living in New York and having been obsessed with the New York Times for the better part of my adult life but I am thrilled about the new photojournalism blog NYT started called Lens. I am hoping Lens provides a daily source of inspiration and another (paid?) outlet for photogs to display their work. The premiere post states:
The New York Times introduces Lens, a photojournalism blog that intends to present some of the most interesting visual and multimedia reporting: in photographs, videos, audio slide shows and any other medium that fits — our format.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Perhaps I am a bit biased, living in New York and having been obsessed with the New York Times for the better part of my adult life but I am…
So my pitch for City Scoops might have been successful and all, but what about pitching some of the big boys?
Dan Baum, a former New Yorker staff writer has a bunch of pdfs of the pitches that worked for Wired, LA Times, Playboy and the likes. The lengths of each pitch vary but all put my quick e-mail to shame. One proposal for a series in Rolling Stones is a whooping 15 pages! That is longer than all but one of the papers I wrote in college.
Most of the proposals read very well with plenty of liberties taken with creativity while still laying out the article in very technical terms. It’s a nice refresher course (although I am not sure I can say I ever had a course to begin with) in making the editor curious about the story while proving it is also feasible. Interestingly, he also shares the pitches that failed, although I do not see anything that immediately sets them apart. Just goes to show you editors are individuals with personal opinions and while a pitch for killing and cooking a whole bull might work for one editor, it won’t work for all.
So my pitch for City Scoops might have been successful and all, but what about pitching some of the big boys? Dan Baum, a former New Yorker staff writer has…
I have emerged from my lair into the light, just briefly, after several days of polishing photos, getting frustrated, ripping up my portfolio and starting the process over again. The respite comes because the Eddie Adams Workshop has postponed their application deadline until Friday May 15th – as they promised in their very enlightening webinar on Friday.
I recently moved to Northern California, among other reasons, to focus on journalism. Most people think I’m crazy for quitting a perfectly good (although temporary) job while millions are getting laid off to try my hand at arguably the most unstable profession in recent history– journalism. Thinking logically about these facts, most people are probably right. I am crazy. But, out of some strange compulsion perhaps, I feel like I’m right where I need to be: twenty-two years old, ambitious, living in the Bay Area amid a digital revolution.
That feeling was enhanced by a “Journalism Innovations” conference I attended last Friday. I heard about it through Kara Andrade, a friend of my cousin, who is an organizer for Spot Us–a Bay Area startup that’s experimenting with community-funded journalism. The conference was a meeting of the minds between news veterans and innovation leaders, centered on one main question: what is the fate and future of journalism? Being new in the area, I went to the conference with the goal of networking; however, I left with much more than a few business cards in my pocket. Yes I did my share of shmoozing; I think I even said the words, “let’s be friends” after discovering that a man with Nuestra Voz lived in Santa Cruz, but moreover, I was inspired and thoughts have been swarming in my head ever since about the media revolution we are currently facing. As a newbie in the field, I won’t relay all of my personal thoughts, but I do want to pass along some of the avant-garde ideas that were shared:
First and foremost, we should be comforted by the overwhelming sentiment among media veterans that journalism is not dying; it’s just the business model of the newspaper industry that has collapsed and needs to be recreated, mainly due to the rise of the Internet. That’s not to underscore the current crisis we’re in, where people have less access to the fact-based journalism that may help them recover from economic crises, swine flu, you name it. But, on the other hand, there is tremendous opportunity to break out of the corporate owned model, tell stories in more creative ways and connect people more than ever before through the Internet, blogs and social media. Of course, it’s funding quality journalism–which takes time, editing and fact checking–that is the challenge, so whatever emerges from this “crisis” needs to meld journalism that serves the public with a sustainable business model (the hardest part for us creative folk). Below is a list of startups that may hint at our future:
Reelchanges.org is owned and operated by the nonprofit Center for Media Change. Like sites such as IndieGoGo, Reel Changes uses the concept of “Crowdfunding” to facilitate public funding for documentary film projects. Filmmakers upload works in progress and fans donate in return for perks like screen credits.
Spot Us is another nonprofit crowdfunding project of the Center for Media Change, pioneering community funded journalism in the Bay Area. Freelance writers pitch story ideas (mostly investigative) to the public and individuals can fund the stories they wish to see written. A New York Times article wrote about this concept and questioned the possibility of content creation by donors. Founder Dave Cohn said that each article must be funded by a group of individuals and any one person cannot donate more than 20 percent of the article’s cost.
Kachingle is a very interesting for-profit business model, also based on crowdfunding, that targets money for existing news sites and blogs through a very simple, user centric program. Users pay $5 per month to fund the sites they love, chosing which sites to donate to and the money is then distributed fairly based on how often the user visits each site. Learn more about Kachingle on this Poynter Institue blog.
L3Cs or “Low Profit Limited Liability Corporations” are what many news organizations hope to be their saving grace. Like LLCs, they can attract wealthy investors but there is one amendment–an L3C must provide some social benefit, besides just maximizing profit. L3Cs solicit a new breed of investors that share the values of the social enterprise–in this case, public service journalism. L3C investors can put in large sums of money up front without expecting the immediate, high returns associated with venture capitalism. Learn more about L3Cs here.
And, of course, there are many other quality sources of online journalism that predicted the media transformation early on such as Slate.com, the Huffington Post, ProPublica and VoiceofSanDiego that utilize various funding models, just to name a few. Whatever becomes of journalism, it is our generation that is creating it through blogs and multimedia, on facebook and twitter, and it is us young journalists who will carry it out. We can either sit back and wait for this new industry to emerge or we can join the revolution and help create it. Please share your ideas and comments below so we can start a dialogue about the digital renaissance and our role in it.
For further reading on the media shift, see this Slate.com article, the PBS ‘Media Shift’ Blog, the Poynter Institute’s ‘NewsPay’ blog and Charlotte-Anne Lucas’ blog.
I recently moved to Northern California, among other reasons, to focus on journalism. Most people think I’m crazy for quitting a perfectly good (although temporary) job while millions are getting…
On a daily basis, between work and my Google reader, I must look at close to thousand photos. Besides fffound, one of my favorite places to peruse photos is MSNBC’s Week in Pictures. Looking through the newest photos on Week in Pictures, I noticed that the layout had been changed.
From this two weeks ago:
Perhaps the powers that be were inspired by Boston’s Big Picture , a few times a week photo essay of newsworthy events or trends based entirely around photos, shown large as all hell and always interesting (their recent essay on North Korea had the mindblowingly simple but spectacular vantage point of getting all their shots from the border). Seeing lovely photos big is akin to a religious experience (for me at least) so it’s quite nice to have more media repping some seriously amazing photojounalism as big as they can.
On a daily basis, between work and my Google reader, I must look at close to thousand photos. Besides fffound, one of my favorite places to peruse photos is MSNBC’s…