Tag Archives: Media

How to ‘wow’ during a newsroom internship interview

At a job interview
You don’t have to feel like this (Photo credit: Arroz y Asado)

Recently I was contacted by a candidate who had been short-listed for the Ottawa Citizen’s year-long internship opportunities.

(Note: all our interns are paid positions. Understatement: This has become a hot topic recently.)

(Also to note: If you’re entering the newsroom as an intern this summer or fall, here are a few tips I blogged about last year.)

Okay, enough notes, back to the point of this post…

I’m not on the hiring committee for these positions, but I was impressed that this candidate was doing his homework and felt comfortable reaching out to me. This was, after all, the kind of ‘cold call’ he’d be required to do on the job should he be hired.

This person’s questions were simple, but direct: how had past candidates ‘wowed’ me in interviews? And what about the top interns, what sets them apart?

Continue reading How to ‘wow’ during a newsroom internship interview

Top 10 multimedia skills new journalists should have

Photo by Flickr user EIU
Photo by Flickr user EIU

Now that I’m in a university environment, I’ve been thinking about the skills I learned as a journalism student, and what schools are teaching students today.

Ideally, a student should graduate from journalism school with skills that prepare them to walk into a newsroom – any newsroom – and thrive. (These skills should of course be in addition to sound news judgement and an understanding of journalism ethics and the importance of responsible reporting.)

So here’s my grocery list of ideal skills for the newsroom newbie:

Continue reading Top 10 multimedia skills new journalists should have

How I plan to examine/research/submerge myself in community newsrooms

Photo by Flickr user Aprilesole

Soon I’ll find myself out of a newsroom as I head for university life, spending the next four months in academia.

(Cue fish-out-of-water cliches.)

In June, I was awarded the first-ever Michener-Deacon Fellowship for journalism education.

As part of that fellowship, I’ll be a journalist-in-residence at Carleton University, and teaching a multimedia class to third-year journalism students.

Another part of that fellowship involves a research project, and in my proposal I outlined how I’d like to examine community newsrooms.

My original plan was broad enough to be a PhD dissertation, I worked with Christopher Waddell, the Director of the School of Journalism at Carleton, to sharpen its focus. I’d like to examine Canadian initiatives, as well as projects south of the border. And most importantly, it has to be a study that can be completed in four months, the length of the fellowship.

So, here goes – thus far:

Continue reading How I plan to examine/research/submerge myself in community newsrooms

Letting the crowd direct Parliament Hill coverage

Photo: Chris Mikula, Ottawa Citizen

Albeit quietly, there was an interesting journalism experiment conducted on Parliament Hill this week.

Every day, there is a list of committee meetings, panels and other goings-on in Ottawa. The trick for most journalists on the Hill is figuring out which one to attend, and which event will hold the most interest for readers.

So Macleans‘ Nick Taylor-Vaisey decided to ask his readers to decide: to tell him where he should spend his day.

Continue reading Letting the crowd direct Parliament Hill coverage

You just can’t ignore the dollars and sense

If you’ve read an earlier post on metred content how it changes the objectives of a newsroom, you might think I’m all about the cash grab.

Or that I’m a Pollyanna, putting a positive spin on things.

Yeah, people got mad at that post. The thought of public service journalism  (and that is exactly what journalism is when done correctly – I’m talking about more than a Kim Kardashian photo gallery) costing something is outrageous.

To which I say: how much did that coffee cost you this morning?

Here’s the thing, here’s the ugly truth: reporters, photographers, editors, copyeditors, paginators, web editors, developers… cost money.

Continue reading You just can’t ignore the dollars and sense

What I’ll be doing during my Michener-Deacon Fellowship

The amazing folks at the Michener Awards Foundation have recognized the importance of journalism education, and created a Michener-Deacon Fellowship this year that allows for a ‘journalist-in-residence’ at a journalism school in Canada.

More amazing is that I’ve won it.

I’ve had a few people ask me what exactly I’ll be studying/researching/teaching about community journalism at Carleton University from January to May 2013. So, I decided to post my proposal here. (Where, I’ll also be reporting my findings throughout the Fellowship)

Continue reading What I’ll be doing during my Michener-Deacon Fellowship

Do not fear the newsroom: Tips for journalism interns

Recently I was asked to share tips as part of a panel at Carleton University for journalism students looking to be interns at a newsroom near you.

I’ve interviewed prospective interns, I’ve managed interns… and I’ve been an intern in TV news,  at a national women’s magazine, and in online news. (Full disclosure: Most of these were paid. The magazine, however, was not –  but they took me out for a nice lunch at the end of the internship.)

I’ve made some mistakes as an intern, witnessed some mistakes, so I have a few lessons to share. And heck, I’m just so impressed by the students I see in school these days I couldn’t say no.

The students gave us  a list of questions they wanted to see addressed. I don’t want to suggest for a minute that any of these ‘brilliant’ thoughts are trademarked, so I thought I’d post some of my key points here too:

Continue reading Do not fear the newsroom: Tips for journalism interns

Journalism, by the numbers

Today, I am giving the students in my second-year journalism class a math test.

When I told the students in this lab – which is mostly a “journalism boot camp”, focusing on interview skills, background research, focusing a lead, writing a strong feature story with an emphasis on CP style – they were shocked.

“But we went into journalism because we aren’t any good at math,” one student said.

Indeed, many of us did, I answered. But journalism is not a refuge from math, numbers are everywhere. And if you’re wrong on your math in a story, it’s as detrimental to your credibility as misquoting someone, or being wrong on the basic facts of a story.

Continue reading Journalism, by the numbers

AP proves the business model of a news wire needs updating

  1. During the clear out of Occupy Wall Street protesters early Tuesday morning, some Associated Press staffers were swooped up with the arrests.
  2. They did what most modern-day journalists would do: They Tweeted about it.
  3. On Wednesday morning, the hammer fell: AP sent out a directive to staff: “In relation to AP staffbeing taken into custody at the Occupy Wall Street story, we’ve had a breakdown in staff sticking to policies around social media and everyone needs to get with their folks now to tell them to knock it off.”