Whoa, have I been delinquent in posting. Not good, especially since I had just recently moved all of my blog entries from my old Virtualjournalist blog site to this one. To those who follow me on a regular basis, I apologize, but the past few weeks have seen me: a) lose the computer I’d been borrowing (I have a new one, thanks to a good friend), b) exercise a lot more, and c) volunteering with the Summer Journalism Camp at John Hopkins Middle for the month of June.
The two boys I was mentoring managed to get four stories completed (I believe three was the standard workload). Last Thursday, a week after camp ended, I offered a few hours of assistance by proofreading most of the paper. By the time I was finished, that red pen had gotten a thorough workout.
Now I have a part-time freelance project with a publishing company that I hope will tide me over until I find something — anything — full time.
Tomorrow we’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming. Thanks for tuning in.
UPDATE at the bottom
UPDATE II (June 8, 2009) — enabling the entrepreneurial journalist
Jeffrey Seglin, a professor who has written for the New York Times, makes the case that when writers write for free, they not only devalue their own work, they make it harder for others to receive compensation:
Your work has value. If you start giving it away for free, then it diminishes that value and makes it harder for others to charge for their work as well.
I think this is true. One need only spend a few moments perusing freelance writing job sites or surveying the payments correspondents are receiving from local pubs (online and print) to know just how little contributors are compensated.
Now, do I think it’s wrong for writers to contribute their work for free?
But do I agree that anyone other than a new writer looking to build a portfolio is — to use Seglin’s term — a “blockhead” if he or she writes for free?
Posted in blogging, news industry, news website, newspaper cutbacks, newspaper websites, newsroom layoffs, Online journalism
Tagged bloggers, foreign bureaus, foreign reporting, freelancers, freelancing, Jeffrey Seglin, journalists, Mainstream media, MediaShift, newspaper layoffs, Online Journalism Blog, True/Slant, unpaid contributors, writers
If the St. Petersburg Times wants to start a constructive conversation about St. Petersburg’s relationship with the gay community, they’ve been presented with as good an opportunity as any:
Thus far, Cristina Silva’s story about the clash between St. Pete Pride and the city has generated well over 100 comments.
That’s the kind of reader interest the Times needs to take advantage of — and strike while the iron’s hot.
The issue: Pride organizers want to hang rainbow banners from light posts in the city’s gay-friendly business district throughout the month of June, to coincide with Pride Month.
According to Silva’s story, the city has rebuffed their initial proposal, citing a policy that states “all banners must carry a written message.” Pride organizers see that rejection as a violation of their constitutional rights.
Considering that this story has clearly touched a nerve, the Times would do well by itself — and the community — by dedicating a blog to the issue, one where reporters give continuous updates while also providing a forum for interaction with readers.
Off the top of my head, I can think a few questions prompted by Silva’s article and the reader comments that beg to be answered:
A friend of mine announced that Kentucky Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra might be shut out of this Saturday’s Preakness by owners looking to enter additional horses in order to prevent the filly from making the field, which is capped at 14 horses. When I responded that I’d heard a radio report that Rachel Alexandra would be running, he was incredulous, and showed me a story in today’s St. Petersburg Times to verify his information.
“Right,” I responded with a tinge of smugness. “That was from this morning.”
To settle the disagreement, I quickly found an update on ESPN.com, which confirmed the radio report:
Posted in blogging, media criticism, newspaper websites, Online journalism, Print Journalism
Tagged ESPN.com, horse racing, Kentucky Oaks, media criticism, Online journalism, Pimlico, Preakness, Rachel Alexandra, St. Petersburg Times
One of my favorite media bloggers, Alan Mutter (aka Newsosaur), lists the 10 blogs he turns to for info about the media biz.
I’m sharing a few quotes I’ve excerpted from Gina Chen’s excellent post, “Journalists must change thinking to change industry.” Chen was inspired by Jeff Jarvis’s recent blog entry about the need for journalists to add value in their newsrooms. And while Chen frequently cites Jarvis’ What Would Google Do?, her own observations are equally compelling:
- In my experience, the hurried newsroom culture doesn’t encourage deep thinking.
Indeed it doesn’t. To give but one example: Journalists on a beat are forced to quickly write stories both large and small, with no time to step back and consider, “Is my daily routine serving my readers in the way they would — and should — expect?”
- We forget that we’re a service industry: We’re in the business of helping readers make sense of their world, not of selling them news.
And yet how many times have we read articles that are little more than notebook-dumps of information? Journalists, in the rush to make deadline, have little time but to toss half-baked, confusing stories upon their readers — readers who need knowledge, and don’t care whether we’ve included a minimum of three sources, or have written an award-worthy nut graf.
Posted in blogging, civic journalism, media criticism, news industry, Newspaper industry
Tagged BuzzMachine, Gina Chen, Jeff Jarvis, Journalism, news industry, Newspaper industry, Save the Media, What Would Google Do?