Preparing for the real world

Although I won’t be graduating for another year, I’d be lying if I said I’m not already terrified of it.  Jobs can be difficult to come by, and the real world is intimidating.

In three years of journalism school, I’ve learned a lot.  Here are some things that I’ve been told and have taken on in hopes that it will help my job prospects after receiving my degree:

Be confident, but not too confident.  A wise professor of mine once told me, “you think you know everything, but you don’t,” and he was right.  The sooner you realize you’re not God’s gift to earth, the better.  Be confident in your work, but do it without shutting criticism or help out.  Both will make you a better writer and eventually a better professional.

Rather than talking about them, show your skills:  Keep all of your written work. Whether they’re online links or newspaper cutouts, a large portfolio full of published, professional work will mean more to an employer than just resume fillers.

If you‘re unemployed for awhile, at least do something: Always work to build your portfolio and make connections with people.  Blog or experiment with freelance publications, read the news, read everything else, and stay involved.

Be flexible: Your first job probably won’t be your dream job.  However, it might be the way you get that dream job.  Take the job, gain experience and make connections.

Develop yourself as a brand: Find what you like and what you’re good at, master it, and market it.

Relax:  You won’t get anywhere without a clear, calm mind.  Focus on your task.


New media and its powerful “tribes”

We all can agree that social media is a place for conversation.  To blogger Seth Godin, it’s a place where people can come together, tell a story, connect a “tribe”, lead a movement and make a change.

Throughout the above TED talk, Godin outlines the importance of these tribes and calls it “a new model of leadership” in which “people on the fringes can find each other, connect and go somewhere.” He compares it to marketers using demographic information to most efficiently target a specific audience,  just as tribe leaders use their own passions t0 do the same.

Conversation over the internet is effortless and instant, regardless of distance.  A tribe can be created while its supporters are in different places all over the world.  This can make a group of people extremely powerful, and Godin is encouraging it.

He says tribe leaders, like those of the past, must share common qualities such as “challenge, culture, curiosity, connection and commitment.” Through the use of these qualities, a tribe leader can effectively change a part of society that they believe could be better for the overall good. Godin repeats that it’s not necessary to create a problem, as he says, “The Beatles didn’t invent teenagers,” but instead, that those experiencing a similar problem just need someone to lead them into making it better.

New media is bringing people together in more ways than one. If it’s this easy to find supporters for a certain cause, what will tribes use its power for next?

 Think about it.

Facebook becomes even more mobile-friendly; others should too

As if Facebook isn’t everywhere already, it is now available on the home screen of your cell phone.

On April 12, HTCreleased an android phone called “HTC First” on the AT&T network.  This is the first phone to come fully equipped with Facebook “Home,” the social network’s new Android app that replaces your home screen with Facebook photos and notifications.

Facebook’s Home brings a user’s news feed, messages and notifications to your lock screen where they can respond to people on their friend’s list without opening an application. From there, other apps can be accessed too.

Upon announcing the new app, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg referred to a study that found smartphone users check Facebook nearly 14 times a day and look at their phone around 100 times a day. He said the company developed Home in an effort to give users more value in the quick moments when they glance at their device.

It might not be entirely necessary, but it’s smart.

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Resuming media activity after a tragedy: How soon is too soon?

Monday afternoon, tragedy struck Boston.

Following the news that two explosions had gone off near the finish line at the Boston Marathon, everyone seemed interested in what would follow. In a lot of ways, conversation did.

Many took to social media to express their feelings, ask questions or post recent developments in the story.  It seemed to stay like that for awhile, too.

Once I started to see posts and tweets not regarding the situation in Boston, I felt uncomfortable. It felt wrong.

I started to think; when is it too soon to change conversation following a tragedy?

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Media professionals will benefit from “the art of asking”

Don’t make people pay for music, says singer/songwriter Amanda Palmer.  Let them.

Palmer proved this to be possible by placing her plans on Kickstarter, a website created to help people host and fund their creative projects.

While on tour, Palmer would often use Twitter to ask fans for anything she needed (housing, food, clothes, etc.) in exchange for hugs, merchandise, music or beer.

After signing with a major label, Palmer disagreed with their plans for her music.  She left the label, choosing to instead use the same approach she used on other social media websites and ask for donations from fans so she could continue to make music.

Her goal?  $100,000.  At the end she found herself with nearly $1.2 million in donations to fund her next music project.

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The “Unemployed Reporter” porter

Behold, “The first beer brewed by print journalists, for print journalists.”

At least that’s what former Hartford Advocate writer Jon Campbell calls it. He has created a beer called “Unemployed Reporter” that according to the label is “as dark and bitter as the future of American journalism.”

“Porter style beers were first popularized in the nineteenth century by merchant sailors and manual dock laborers,” the label reads. “Unemployed Reporter is crafted in the same tradition, honoring a profession likewise doomed to decline and irrelevance.”

Other digs at the industry are made, including, “…a high alcohol content designed to numb the pain of a slow, inexorable march toward obsolescence. While Unemployed Reporter is especially delicious as a breakfast beer, it’s still smooth enough to be enjoyed all day, every day. And let’s be honest: what else do you have going on?”  Campbell even added comedy to the usual government warning label; “drinking alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car, but it’s not like you have to wake up and drive to work tomorrow so fuck it.”

Campbell said the porter hasn’t expanded outside the five gallon bucket in his closet, yet.

For every working, unemployed or soon-to-be journalist’s sake, I hope it will soon.

And I’ll be first in line when it does.

Join the conversation

Yesterday, social media went red.

Many Facebook users changed their profile picture to a red-hued logo, belonging to the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.

While many social media users are showing their support for marriage equality as The Supreme Court decides its fate, there are plenty of opposing arguments too. Regardless of the side, most have plenty to say.

Barack Obama has even publicized his own thoughts, tweeting yesterday “#Marriageequality for all” and today “Reach up and close that gap. #Marriageequality.” This makes him the first American president to do so.

Through developments in social media and especially hashtags, everyone can be their own reporter and advocate of social issues. 

Join the conversation.