Our podcast is based on conversations we have with journalists about how they do their jobs. Occasionally, someone asks us about how we do our podcast and we have a conversation about that.
That was the case when Shannon McHale, a graduating senior at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, contacted us about an article she was writing for the American Journalism Review about podcasts that journalists should be listening to.
Hey, we’re journalists. We do a podcast.
We were flattered and agreed to talk to Shannon, but with one catch — we’d record the interview and post it as a podcast.
We’re podcasters. We talk to journalists. That’s what we do.
Shannon was game.
She asked her questions. We asked ours. She learned a little bit about us. We learned a little bit about her. That’s a podcast.
Once Shannon posts her story, we’ll add the link.
Why not podcast?
I was a student in American University’s Interactive Journalism program when the idea first came to me.
What I liked about the AU program were the discussions we had about how the journalism industry was changing. We also got to meet innovative journalists who shared their experiences working in digital newsrooms.
This was heady stuff for me, a 50-something editor in the midst of a career crisis. I’d learn these lessons on the weekend and then turn around and apply them Monday morning in my job as a Web editor at a chain of weekly newspapers.
But as the program wound down, I wanted to find a way to continue these discussions and learn more skills from smart journalists.
Continue Reading …
It seems appropriate that Yumi Wilson, journalist, educator and now manager of Corporate Communications at LinkedIn, would use her LinkedIn profile to sum up what she sees as the challenge facing many journalists today and what her role is in helping them meet that challenge.
“In journalism, I believe it is critical that those teaching and practicing the craft learn as much as they can to stay on top,” Wilson wrote on her LinkedIn profile. “That is why I jumped at the chance to help run LinkedIn for Journalists a year ago. In that time, I have learned so much about what journalists and aspiring journalists need to do their jobs well. Most important, I have learned that we all need to take more risks, ask bolder questions, and not be afraid to break away from the pack.”
According to Wilsom, the most important changes she’s witnessed have occured when she was outside an academic setting. Through her experiences at LinkedIn and even earlier as a Knight-Wallace Fellowship recipient at the University of Michigan, she began to see what paths younger journalists need to be focusing on if they choose to pursue journalism in the 21st century.
“When I was given a contract job at Yahoo! as a content producer that was another place where I realized, ‘Wow, things have changed in journalism from the time that I was practicing to now that I’m teaching it. I really need to step up my game, change a few things and really infuse new lessons in our students,'” Wilson said.
Journalism school curricula are far behind where they need to be to address these shifts in the professions, Wilson said
“We in journalism education are lagging far behind the place where we need to be to help young people figure out career paths that are going to pay them a living wage for the talent and skills they have,” she said.
Still an associate professor at San Franciso State University, Wilson works full-time at LinkedIn. In that role, she trains corporate communicators and journalists how to use LinkedIn more effectively in their careers. She runs the LinkedIn for Journalists group, growing it from 16,000 to 40,000 members during her tenure.
Wilson also conducts online tutorials on how journalists can use LinkedIn to locate expert sources, promote their work and build their personal brand. The next tutorial is Feb. 10.
“Studies show that people come to LinkedIn for professional growth and development,” Wilson said. “They come to LinkedIn specifically to be productive and to be successful.”
People’s perception of LinkedIn is very different than that of other social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. For that reason, they tend to use it in different ways.
“When we think of social networks, it is one of the many social networks, and as people figure out their social media strategy or even communications strategy, to leave LinkedIn out of that mix, you’re missing out on an opportunity to reach people who are specifically on a social network to find better products, better services, new networking opportunities, jobs, of course, and other connections, ” Wilson said. “So I know that part of my training and part of what I do is to help people understand that, ‘Yes, if you’re using other social networks, Twitter and all that, that’s great. But to leave LinkedIn out of it, you’re missing a special group of people.'”
Interviewing is the baseline skill of a reporter.
I don’t remember the first interview I ever did, who it was with or what it was about. It was probably in ninth grade, when I was writing for the Craig Junior High School newspaper in Indianapolis. Maybe something to do with the chess club or the cafeteria.
I do remember being an interview subject back then, though.
We were playing floor hockey in gym class. We weren’t wearing any protective gear and I was the goalie.
When the puck shot in front of the goal, I dove on it just as one of my opponents’ sticks came slapping down. I took the full force of the stick in my right eye.
There was an explosion of electric sparks in my head. Putting my hands up, liquid poured between my fingers. I thought my eye had split open.
Continue Reading …
During his 44-year career at The Washington Post, Leonard Downie Jr. oversaw many important investigative stories, from the Watergate break-ins to mismanagement at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
When Downie stepped down after a 17-year stint as The Post‘s executive editor in 2006, one might think he would retire and leave journalism behind. Instead, he has continued to give back to the media industry through various foundations and journalism organizations.
With Sara Rafsky, Downie recently wrote a special report for the Committee to Protect Journalists detailing a lack of transparency within the Obama administration.
As a Weil Family Professor of Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, Downie is one of the instructors at News21, an initiative started by the Carnegie Corporation and the Knight Foundation to promote professional training at several journalism schools around the country.
A new seminar takes place each spring, in which a group of advanced students receives instructions in intestigative reporting techniques and plan a multimedia project to be posted online later in the year. Each project is built around a theme. This year it was veterans returning home from war and the services they receive.
“Next year’s topic, which is gun legislation in the state legislatures around the country, another timely topic that the rest of the news media cannot cover adequately enough because they simply don’t have the resources that we’re going to have,” Downie said. “We’re probably going to have 26 reporters all across the country, a number of the them at the Cronkite School, but a number of them, at least 20, at other universities literally from coast to coast, from Florida to Oregon. They’ll all participate in the spring seminar by teleconference, during which we will do research for the project.”
News21’s 2013 project — Back Home: The Enduring Battles Facing Post 9/11 Veterans — contains 26 stories and more than 50 multimedia pieces, ranging from photos, videos to a 26-minute television documentary produced by the students in the program.
“We launch our own website that has everything on it and then all of our partners can use whatever they want to use, which they did last year through September and October,” Downie said.
Part of the goal of News21 is to supplement the coverage of news organizations that don’t have the resources to conduct such a large-scale investigative project.
“The main goal is to prepare these young journalists — and sometimes not so young journalists that come back to school — for work,” Downie said. “They’re already the best in the country. We’re able to select the best in the country. It’s a national competition. They learn an awful lot during the experience.”
Chad Garland, an older student with an interest in business journalism, has been a veteran since 2002. When heard about the topic of this year’s News21 project, he knew he had to get involved.
“I knew when I was applying that I was one of the few people that had veteran’s experience,” Garland said. He used that experience to become an investigative reporter, focusing on charities that were not what they professed to be.
This type of project, where journalism education intersects with professional training, is something Downie thinks more journalism schools ought to be doing, not only to help their students but to foster the future of investigative reporting.
“There are still a relative minority of journalism schools engaged in this kind of professional journalism with state news agencies as some schools have,” he said. “The Cronkite School has a Washington bureau for all the news media in Arizona, staffed by students. American University has the Investigative Reporting Project that produces professional level work. This is what I think journalism schools should be doing across the country.”
Garland agreed. “News21 was a way to get that real world, multimedia journalism experience that I hadn’t had outside the classroom,” he said.
Jeff Sonderman learned early in his journalism career that you have to keep teaching yourself and finding ways to learn outside the classroom: trying new tools, reading about the latest developments, listening to podcasts.
“That’s on you now after you graduate,” he said. “There’s less of a sense of ‘I got a degree, I know journalism, I’m good for the rest of my life.’ It’s only going to keep evolving.”
Jeff is the deputy director of the American Press Institute, an educational non-advocacy, nonprofit organization affiliated with the Newspaper Association of America. He is an adjunct faculty member of The Poynter Institute, and previously a digital media fellow there. He also teaches digital journalism at Georgetown University.
His early awareness of the limitations of formal training and willingness to experiment have taken him far, far from where he planned to end up.
When Jeff came out of journalism school in 2004, social media didn’t really exist yet. Facebook was Harvard-only. YouTube had another year until it rolled out.
Continue Reading …
Jan Schaffer, the executive director of J-Lab, wants to help media entrepreneurs find new ways to succeed.
A Pulitzer-Prize-winning business editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer, she left her daily journalism gig in 1994 to become one of the pioneers of the growing civic-journalism movement.
In 2002, she launched J-Lab to help journalists develop new projects with innovative technologies.
“I think journalism is very much in flux,” Schaffer said. “A lot of legacy news organizations have been disrupted. But at the same time, a lot of media entrepreneurs are coming up with entirely new media products that are very exciting. They are filling the gaps that have been created by old media, where old media has pulled out of areas or pulled reporters off the streets. So, there’s a lot of innovation going on and a lot of entrepreneurship going on.”
Continue Reading …