Times Insider: 'I got my dog through The New York Times'

The New York Times once offered a lost-and-found service. The newspaper sold brass tags -- each engraved with a unique number -- for 15 cents in the 1920 and 1930s, according to the Dec. 29 Times Insider. The tag could be dropped in the mail and the newspaper would arrange to get the item to its owner. Read full story.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/29/insider/...

Campaign cliche season

The New York Times has compiled some recent cliches that have been used in campaign coverage in a post on the After Deadline blog called Words We Love Too Much. Here's a sampling: firestorm, moment and pushback. Read more.

LIST: News cliches, aka jargon aka journalese creeps into stories

The New York Times has another list of common news jargon. The tired word and phrases exude a feeding-the-beast quality to news writing that calls for some freshening up. It doesn't hurt to break open the thesaurus every once in a while.

This list was a sequel to an earlier list that was published by the Times. The first one generated many several comments so another round of journalese was created to include more words. The words melee, shots rang out and kerfluffle were among the offending verbiage on this latest list. View the journalese list.




Big chapter ideas from SPJ's Ted Scripps Leadership Institute

The Society of Professional Journalists held its 11th Ted Scripps Leadership Institute on Feb. 27-March 1 in Atlanta. Breakout sessions dealt with these topics: fund-raising, programming and the leadership funnel.

Key takeaway: Chapter must have a good board structure before anything else.

Leading into those breakouts, the group learned some great best practices about events from SPJ Florida to drive membership, sponsorship and more.

Here are some examples:

  • Zine making project
  • Sunshine State Awards
  • Green Eyeshade Awards
  • Obituary writing workshop
  • Job fairs

SPJ Florida's Michelle Boyet discussed some strategies to successfully launch events:

  • Decide the goal of event.
  • Figure you who your audience is and what they need.
  • Figure out incentives to get attendees and experts to attend.
    •     Ex. The chapter held a mentor event with seasoned journalists during a happy hour.
  • Start with simple event. A simple meet-and-greet with food can go a long way.
    •     Ex. Speaker and Q&A is simple.
    •     Ex. Hold a coming out board - Meet our new board. Invite local organizations.
  • Mobile events - to reach out to other members around the state.
  • Get space and food donated.
    •     Ex. Put the business's logo on the chapter website and/event banner.
  • Tap into business expertise.
    •     Ex: Freelance event with H&R Block tax experts.
  • Build partnerships with colleges, journalism organizations, community organizations.
  • They can help you promote events. They tell others about your organization.
    • Invite another chapter to participate.
    • Laid-off journalists -- Great group to reach out to. Hold skills training.
    • Tap into student expertise.
      •  Ex: College students who major in multimedia might want to shoot video of your event. SPJ Florida and FAU teamed up.
  • Plan a series of 3-4 big events. It's easier to secure sponsorship, venue and line up speakers, etc.
  • Try to have an event each month -- This will attract new members, bring in existing members.

Board development & leadership funnel

SPJ's Chapter Coordinator Tara Puckey led this session. Her recommendations:

  • Make sure all SPJ chapter members have the elevator pitch. Have a short explainer of what SPJ to sell it as you meet people.
  • Have students sit your pro chapter board. Find students from each year to champion the group at each grade level.
  • Committee structure -- Have a regional committee such as one for Savannah. Host events such as day trips to newsrooms. Show an SPJ webinar/Powerpoint to explain the organization. Explain that we're looking for people in this area. SPJ.org webinars are a members only tool, but content in there can be used to recruit other members.
  • Attract students -- Professors give extra credit for attending SPJ meetings.
  • Board retreats -- Plan to meet at a venue that's note your regular meeting place. Meet for several hours. Spend first hour not talking about SPJ. Retreats are a way for everyone to connect without cliques.
  • Tie it back to programming -- Develop an event for a group from which you're specifically trying to get buy-in.
  • Local diversity panels -- Good way to attract groups. Make a list of diversity initiatives. National SPJ can help get you speakers who can be Skyped in to speak at the event.
  • Mixers -- Invite other groups. Then start building relationships. Get to know people and their skills. Give them a specific task.

More awareness/growth ideas:
Explainer video -- Minnesota pro chapter created a "did you know" video about SPJ with local anchor/reporter.
Freelance event -- Speed dating-style event for freelancers. Outlets for journalists to learn. What's new in their profession, for example.  

Fund-raiser ideas:

Sponsorship approach:
Common question: What do you offer with your sponsorship?
Suggested answer: What would you like for your sponsorship?
What do you hope to get out of your sponsorship?
What are your goals with the sponsorship? Next steps: Put a package together and run it by the board.

Friends of SPJ concept:

  • Define what it means. Non-members or businesses that support your mission.
  • First Amendment attorneys, for example.
  • Decide the major benefit of joining this program.
  • Have a sticker or designated logo for this program.
  • Create elevator pitch for program.
  • Reach out to businesses, professors, newsrooms, parents, alumni of student chapter.


Big leadership ideas from SPJ's Ted Scripps Leadership Institute

The Society of Professional Journalists held its 11th Ted Scripps Leadership Institute on Feb. 27-March 1 in Atlanta. Participants learned more about SPJ and how to work with different people in their SPJ leadership role.

Here are some big leadership takeaways from the workshop:
5 Whys -- Keep asking why to get to the "real" reason or purpose of a task, behavior or action. If you don't ask why then you don't have a clear intention because you didn't ask the right questions. Keep asking why -- drill down -- to re-evaluate that purpose until you get to that clear intention.

Lenses -- How you see the world and roles that influence your perspectives. One lens: Have an open mind. You get out what you put into it.

DiSC personal profile system -- Group members took an evaluation to figure out which profile type they were: Dominant, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness. No one in our group were in the steadiness group.
D's and C's = prioritize, reason, logistics and facts
I's and S's = feelings people; share a focus on relationships; prioritize relationships or feelings

The DiSC test also reveals adjectives called the Intensity Index -- for each of the four types D, I, S or C. The index reminds us to either tone down these tendencies are be aware of them if they're blind spots (i.e. Behaviors that others see, but you don't necessarily know you're doing.)

Solution process for leadership -- Function from the position reasonable restraint. Ask these two questions:

  • Does it have to be done right now (the five whys)?
  • Do I have to be the one to do it?

Focus on your strengths and manage around your weaknesses.
Relationships affect thinking and clarity.
"Who we become together will always be different than who we are alone."

Social media's influence on world events

I finally received a copy of the book 2013 Social Media Guidebook published in February 2013 by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. It was published both in English and Russian. My chapter discusses the impact that social media has on newsgathering, the challenges social media brings with issues of verification and how social media platforms are increasingly like news platforms themselves -- issues that are more relevant today than ever. Read my chapter here.

LinkedIn Yumi Wilson's tips for optimizing your profile

A LinkedIn corporate communications manager offered fascinating insights into how the algorithm works and how best optimize your profile for SEO purposes and getting discovered.

It was part of the session I led called “Jobs? They’re in Social Media: The New Frontier” at the 64th annual Southern Regional Press Institute hosted by Savannah State University.

Sharon Dunten, president of the Society of Professional Journalists Georgia and longtime newspaper journalist, and Yumi Wilson, manager of corporate communications at LinkedIn and journalism professor at San Francisco State University, spoke about trends in social media landscape for journalists.

Wilson leads LinkedIn training sessions around the country. She said your online presence being found is incredibly important and that contributing to social networks gives search engines more to pull from.

She demonstrated ways to optimize LinkedIn profiles for the professional network’s algorithm. Optimizing the profile is key to getting your name higher up in LinkedIn search results compared to others with the same name. Here are some key insights from her presentation:  

Think of profile as a whole package – Wilson pointed out: Employers see you as a whole so they are more likely to contact you if you have other things in common. Even adding something that isn’t directly tied to your industry, such as working as a fitness instructor, can round out your abilities.

Attract recruiters – Appeal to recruiters by expressing feeling. Wilson said that statistically speaking recruiters are looking for passive candidates – those who are not looking for a new job. “If you’re excited about what you’re doing right now, tell us that,” Wilson said. That excitement expressed in profile tells recruiters that people aren’t actively looking for a job, which makes it more attractive to them. “Let’s talk about the things you truly love to do,” she said.

Make the algorithm work for you  – The headline and summary are more heavily ranked in the LinkedIn algorithm than description of job experience, according to Wilson. The algorithm adds up all your years of experience for recruiters. If you have several freelance jobs going on at once, combining them under one or a few single titles might be the best way to consolidate them under one block of time. Wilson said by combining those positions under one section, the algorithm will pick up that as part of the keywords, not the total years.

Humanize your profile with storytelling – Applying storytelling techniques to your profile can make a significant impression. Wilson said: At the end of the day we want to like you. We want to see your passion. Tell your story. For instance, Wilson said she has a tagline that describes what she loves doing on her profile. “You have to kind of weave your own narrative,” she said.

Create a rich summary – Tell the story in three paragraphs. Consider it as a conversation – emotional truth telling. Make it at least 40 words. The second line of your summary should describe your true calling before keywords that effective describe your skill set, Wilson advises. Break the summary into paragraphs and focus on the aspirational and true calling parts. “Whatever your goal is, think of yourself as a storyteller. Tell your story,” she said.

Think outside the box – Wilson pointed out that recruiters are looking for people who think outside the books with their profile content. Is there a slide presentation or video that can be added to make your profile stand out? “It’s a visual story that we’re telling now,” she described of the trend with profile content.

Choose your industry wisely – Don’t pigeonhole yourself. Wilson’s advice: Choose the industry you want to be in, not the industry you’ve been working in. This section is located two fields below your name on the edit profile page.  

Seek recommendations – Have others tell the story. Wilson said LinkedIn advises getting three letters of recommendation. That letter goes right into your experience by the submitter. She emphasized how content is critical in personal branding. “Everyone who is occupying the content space, they’re marketers,” she said.

Gauge your profile’s strength – See how strong your profile is by checking out the types of jobs that are recommended to you based on your profile. Wilson said that is an indication of how your profile is doing – and is viewed in the eyes of others.

Aim for all-star status – LinkedIn displays your profile strength. Wilson said everyone can have an all-star profile by following LinkedIn’s tips such as adding a section to your profile.

Sharing strengthens networking – Try sharing good job listings to other social networks using the share options in LinkedIn. Wilson said because now what you’re doing, you’re being a value to others before the ask.

Don’t discount unpaid experience – Those who might have limited professional experience, Wilson suggested having a section to talk about aspirations and especially relevant volunteer work. She recommended then moving those volunteer and causes up higher on the page if you don’t have job listings. For example, if you worked three to five years as a TV producer, all of those can be listed as volunteer that can be added in a separate section. Then that section can be prioritized using the drag and drop. Experience that doesn’t relate directly will help illustrate your multiple experience. Courses, transitioning or transforming into a new industry, area of study or more are just as important to include in the profile.

Join groups – One of the benefits of joining groups is monitoring and interacting with others around the same topic. Wilson put forth another benefit: Join the same group that a recruiter belongs to, then you can message the recruiter for free. In that message, mention the job and url. However, she added that getting an introduction from someone connected to that recruiter is even better though. 

Do you have other suggestions for what has worked for you on LinkedIn? Share them in the comments.

Southern Regional Press Institute coming up

Looking forward to directing the workshop "Jobs? They’re in Social Media: The New Frontier" at next week's 64th annual Southern Regional Press Institute at Savannah State University with speakers from LinkedIn and Society of Professional Journalists Georgia. The two-day event runs Feb. 19 and 20 with sessions on topics such as social media, advertising revenue and becoming a filmmaker. View the schedule.

Radio Interview: Power of Content Engagement, Sharing

On Feb. 3, I spoke on Bert Martinez’s show “Money for Lunch” about content engagement, sharing and new ways of reaching digital audiences. Here are the topics I discussed on the show:

  • Why engagement is a powerful benchmark.
  • Why people share content.
  • Key factors in trying to get people to share content.
  • Why snackable content is engaging.
  • What makes content go viral.
  • Issues to consider with virality.
  • What you should focus on with digital audiences.
  • New ways media companies and businesses are reaching audiences.

My interview starts at around the 42:15 mark. Listen to the radio show.