Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

Thank you!Over the past few months, I’ve had to rely a bit on others. I emailed contacts for job leads, asked to have my resume sent out, asked for people’s time and understanding, and for recommendations. During all these favors, the majority of people have been beyond willing to help. Sure, you get a few here and there who can’t be bothered, but by and large, people want to help.

One of the jobs I am waiting to hear back from was never posted online. I only knew about it from person A, who put me in touch with an old co-worker, person B (the job). Person A has never met me and only knows me through a mutual connection. When I was first laid off, I contacted everyone I knew for help. A got back to me and said A’s ears would be open. Two weeks later, A had a job lead for me, and I had an interview and new prospect. Even people you’ve never met before can answer your questions and offer advice and connections.

You should never, ever be shy about asking for help, but you shouldn’t just keep taking it without paying it back, or forward. I might never be able to help person A (or maybe one day I will), but whenever you wonderful readers ask me questions or students get in touch with me for advice, I take the time to help them. It makes the world go round, it’s good karma and it really brightens that person’s day.

This holiday season, make sure you carve out time to help others and thank those who helped you. The holidays are a great excuse to network, too. Be sure to send cheerful notes to your contacts and wish them a happy and healthy New Year. A little note like that can go a long way.

Till tomorrow,


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bookEveryone seemed to like my reading suggestions last week, so let’s keep this new feature going. When I search the web for content, I’m looking for writing advice, where to find gigs, increasing my network, career advice, ideas for this blog, media trends and news, ideas for freelancing and budgeting, and ideas for the clients I already work for. This explains the random range of articles that I’ll feature on “What to Read.” Keep sending me what you are curious about, and I’ll keep finding awesome and educational reads. Here is double the amount from last week’s “What to Read,” from giving gifts with meaning to networking tips and 100 places to find a job.

  1. Social Media Predictions 2009– Exactly what it sounds like and you can download a sweet .pdf. Hint: Web 2.0 is about passion and quality, not quantity (though that is important, too).
  2. How to Blog and Grow Rich– Makes it sound easier than it is, but some helpful tips.
  3. Are all Bloggers Journalists?– A very personal and interesting take on this endless debate.
  4. How to Give Gifts Unconditionally– A very sweet take on cheap and thoughtful gifts (and just in time for you holiday procrastinators).
  5. 8 Job Interview Tips– They are a bit obvious (like looking the interviewer in the eyes), but these gentle reminders are still key interview rules, and this article is nice crash course.
  6. How to Update Your Resume– Again, some are gentle reminders, but all are very important. These tips (like preparing a separate resume to tackle salary history questions), are a great place to start if you are beginning to revamp your resume.
  7. Personal Branding Lessons from an Advertising Exec– Great tips like, “Define and articulate your vision, mission, and message” and my personal favorite, “Learn and grow professionally.”
  8. Top 100 Blogs– If you are trying to get a new job, freelance write or blog, you NEED to be reading these. This is what the world is talking about.
  9. 100+ Places to Find a Job– Comprehensive list of sites to find gigs ranging form education to tech. Lists career building sites as well, and explains briefly what they all can do for you.
  10. Networking Tips– Been following @DailyCareerTips on Twitter. This is last week’s roundup. My fave: “When asking to network, don’t ask for appt convenient to you ask for a time that is “amenable to them across the next few weeks.” If you are on Twitter, I would follow them!

Till Tomorrow,

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(Ok, failed attempt on posting twice in one day. But I was so close…)

Yesterday, while blogging to you about what job articles you should check out, I was hanging in Montclair State University‘s Audiology Department with my ear-loving pal, Raia. She needed some extra observation hours, I’ve got some free time and before you know it, people were prodding my little ears with foreign tools (the good news is I actually woke up on time, so there was no need for Raia to throw pennies at my window).

According to trusty source Wikipedia, an audiologist is “a healthcare professional specializing in identifying, diagnosing, treating and monitoring disorders of the auditory and vestibular system portions of the ear.” That means (most simply speaking) that they deal with inner ear balances issues (think vertigo), deafness, hearing loss, aids and implants.

A second year audiology student was playing with my ears and testing my hearing for about 40 minutes while Raia observed the whole shebang. Since I’m as curious as a cat (a fine characteristic of a good journalist if I do say so myself), I asked a whole bunch of questions from “What is this in my ears? It really itches” to “Explain why you used this specific pattern of words for me to repeat—what do these particular sounds indicate?” My intense curiosity prompted the actual audiologist in the room to suggest to Raia that I apply to the program.

Although this was quite a nice compliment and I love the cochlea as much as the next guy, I can’t help but think such a drastic career change six short months after graduating college is not a good idea. Sure, I went to college thinking I was going to be an M.D., studied pre-med (and cried myself to sleep three weeks into Bio 101) and have dealt with medicine and science in my real life, my whole life (I have a parent with a chronic disease), but does that mean I’m to abandon my editorial dreams and give it all up for the ear? Yes, it would fulfill my desire to help others but what about media?

I shrugged off the audiologist’s and Raia’s compliments on my research abilities and intelligence. Then earlier tonight I was doing my nightly tweets, when I stumbled upon U.S. News & World Report’s Best Careers 2009. There it was—audiology—in slightly large, bold print. Was this a sign?

It’s scary to see the media world morphing and collapsing faster than any of us can comprehend, but as silly as it may sound to others, I know I’m not going anywhere. I’m riding this crazy storm out. People still need the news. People still want information. As long as there is that need, the media will stick around in some form or another, and I truly believe that.

No matter where you are in your career, have you been thinking/fantasizing about doing something else in this economy? How are you handling it?

Till tomorrow,

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lightbulbWhat I think separates this blog from others about jobs and freelancing is that I am learning with you. I can’t claim to be an expert, but I can talk about my experience and what works for me (oh what wonderful things the web is doing to journalism?).

As you know, I’m taking an online freelance writing class through Ed2010.com. During tonight’s lecture, several students asked the instructor where to look for ideas, and he anecdotally answered with tales of walking into places and having story ideas almost hit him on the head. While that’s great for him, I understood where these students were coming from.  Though I’ve come into a setting and seen story after story walk by, when I sit down and say “OK, I’m going to develop some freelance pitches now,” I clam up and my mind goes blank.

Although the simple answer to “Where do you get story ideas from?” is everywhere, what works for me is focusing on when the ideas come.

5 Tips for Finding Stories

1- Write ideas down when they come to you.
I don’t know if you carry a notebook, put everything in your Blackberry or keep an insane system of organized post-its—but whatever you do, document your ideas when you get them. A twenty minute subway ride and two smelly passengers later, and that idea is long gone.
2- Document the ones that don’t make sense. When an idea hits you, its not always in its finished form. As a matter of fact, it hardly ever is (for me at least). You won’t see the whole picture right away, so jot down these ideas and come back to them later to flesh them out during a brainstorm session. These are valuable and can often lead to my best ideas—don’t toss them in your brain trash!
3- Please read the news. I can’t tell you how many students in my college media classes wouldn’t be remotely knowledgeable on major news stories. What’s in the news is what people want to know about! Now Ex-NY Giant Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg. The more interesting angle? The possibility he was carrying a gun because these diesel football players are scared they could get robbed in the bars and streets of New York City. Everyone wanted to know about Burress, so the story was covered from all angles. From reading the news you won’t just learn the trends of what is being covered, but you’ll see what isn’t. You’ll learn to distinguish what is actually lacking coverage and what people just don’t give a damn about—all vital information when you are trying to come up with ideas to pitch to an editor.
4- Open your eyes and ears. Make sure you aren’t just going about your day without noticing everything that goes on around you. If you overhear people ordering at Applebees and discussing how the calories listed on the menu deter them from ordering salads, that’s a story not to be ignored. Jot it down and flesh it out later.
5- Learn from ALL your experiences. Things happen to you all the time that are potential story ideas. A few months ago, I was going to my best friend’s sister’s wedding. I wasn’t in the bridal party, didn’t want to wear a little black dress and was so confused as to what to wear as a result. During last week’s freelancing class, a student pitched a story on what to wear to a friend’s wedding if you’re not part of the bridal party— everything from clothes to shoes to hair and jewelry, and to all different types of weddings (beach, church, etc). That’s a killer idea and it was right in front of me just a few months ago.

Till tomorrow,

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Dear Blogosphere,

I know I have to start writing daily–these weekly recaps are not nearly as effective as my day to day struggles. Once things calm down a bit over here, I promise I will post more often than weekly.

Monday, 4/21: Went to gynecologist. Nothing exciting, though I did wonder how many “unpleasant experiences” my doctor has had in his twenty something years of practice. I chalked this up to my journalistic sense of wanting to ask questions and learn more about everything..

Tuesday, 4/22: Dinner with my friend Jessica, also a journalist. She interns at The Daily News and used to be the EIC of her student newspaper. Over clams in a green sauce and garlic bread at a Spanish tapas bar/dive she told me how she landed her first gig at USA Today. Jess is really excited about it and I am too–she’s moving to Virginia for it and I’m proud. It was also good to be able to discuss work with someone who really cares about it. I know this is ridiculous, but I hate talking about work with people who are just “eh” about it. It takes away from my passion and just makes me plain annoyed.

Wednesday, 4/23: My first job interview! Interview with Jake Greene, author and informational meeting with Meredith Halpern, Executive Director, Marketing & Communications at Hunter. I really enjoyed the job interview–it was great conversation and I got to put some ideas out there. I would love to work there. I think it went well, did the edit test and will keep you posted.

Interview with Jake went great, I think his book, Whoa, My Boss is Naked! is such a good read, well written and perfect for my age group. It was also really cool just to be talking to an author.

Meeting with Meredith also went well. I really like her. I think she is such a great asset for Hunter and she never talks down to me, always treats me as an equal, and I really appreciate and respect that.

Thursday, 4/24: I get my first press badge. Press passOhhh and it felt so good. Time Out New York printed it up for me for the Tribeca Film Festival. It has my name and photo and says “Writer, TONY” which is totally cool. I tried to play it off like “no biggie” but I was celebrating. My parents were so excited, haha. (Never mind them, I was so excited I photographed it.)

Friday, 4/25-Sunday 4/27: is a blur. The Rangers lost the first two games against Pittsburgh. I was devestated. I did see Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay on Friday night though–I love bad college movies. It tried to be all satirical but I think it tried a little too hard. Sunday I felt so burnt out that I watched like 4 hours of Gossip Girl. In the morning, me and my male counterpart Michael did the extremely city thing of going to Sunday brunch. We went to ONE and dropped, well a bunch of city cash. I did have a bloody mary though, which made me feel super cool.

Monday, 4/27: I interview someone I really look up to, Sloane Crosley. Sloane works in publicity at an imprint at Random House and just recently published a book, I Was Told There’d Be Cake, which is a bunch of essays detailing her very New York experiences. I did it for our summer reading piece for The Envoy but talking to her was great. I tried not to let her know how cool I really thought she was but in my thank you email I said “Thanks for speaking with me today! I love the book and totally corny, but I am hoping my career will be as successful as yours has been.” Ok so that is not exactly keeping it cool but I can’t help it, I do aspire to do what she had done.

Also on Monday: I downloaded The Kills “Sour Cherry.” It is the song that plays during the OMFG Gossip Girl commercials. I know, I’m addicted. But it is an awesome song and the show is addictive, New York-ish and my guilty pleasure. In other GG news, 4/28’s episode featured Yin Chang, student at Hunter and new co-star to Blake Lively. Read about this local girl hitting the CW 11 here. Hunter was actually on the show tonight–the incredibly attractive twentysomethings-playing-high schoolers took the SATs there.

This Week:

Press screening at Tribeca Film Festival
Informational meetings with various editors at different publications. I went crazy and sent out emails to not just try to hook myself up, but to learn. I hope it works.

Rangers play tomorrow night, 4/29 and with work and all I probably won’t post again until Friday. Check back 🙂 .

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When you are in your twenties and you live in NYC life is good. Though you really don’t have or make much money you manage to visit some wild art galleries, catch Broadway shows and a few concerts at MSG, eat at amazing restaurants with your friends and see free movie screenings.

Sometimes in between happy hours (at a place with outside seating that makes you feel like sitting on a nasty sidewalk off 3rd Ave is doing an outdoor activity) and Pinkberry, you find yourself eating a peanut butter sandwich for dinner on a paper plate, with chocolate soy milk and a banana. This is usually because you live alone.

While savoring your kind-of-nutritious-yet-not- a-real-meal dinner you are usually in the midst of another activity, despite the fact that it is almost 10:30pm. If you are still in college/grad school this can range from research papers to the Pope visiting the synagogue next to your school tomorrow and you don’t have anyone covering the event to finding semi-cheap restaurants in the Hamptons for a story you are freelancing. In my case, I was freaking out because the Pope was in town, The Envoy wasn’t on it and I hadn’t even gone through all my emails yet.

OK let’s rewind–I wasn’t just freaking out because of the Pope issue. I was in one of those mind-whirlwinds, where you get caught up in your own world that you deem to be too chaotic and too pressure-filled so you have a mini panic attack just thinking about all the stuff you didn’t finish (and didn’t blog about).

Recap of important events/happenings/semi-epiphanies:


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