Posts tagged careers

Journalists my age and younger (I’ve been in the business since 2005—right around the time digital media emerged as a plausible career option) have never operated under the illusion that a staff job at The New Yorker or a New York Times column was in our future. But nearly a decade into the digital-media revolution, another shift has occurred. It’s not just that journalists understand former “prestige” jobs will be nearly impossible to get. Now we don’t even want them.
Ann Friedman, The New Dream Job, Columbia Journalism Review

JOB: Internet Cat Video Festival Coordinator

"The Internet Cat Video Festival is a celebration of online cat videos that has received national and international recognition since its inception here at the Walker in 2012. For our third edition, this years festival will be a free event on the Walker’s Open Field on Thursday, August 14th 2014.

"We are seeking a dynamic, well organized and capable individual to coordinate and support production and logistics for this amazing event.

"Position Specifics

  • Duration: Immediately through August 30,2014
  • Hours will vary with an average 7-15 hours week through June. Up to 20-30 per week July through August 30, 2014
  • Wages: $16.00/hour”

FJP: Don’t say we’re not watching out for you. Apply away.

How Do I Get Started in Journalism?

I’m an aspiring journalist. That’s what I want to do with my life. However, I’m not sure where to start. Could you help me?raetschi

May we direct you to our QA Tag where you’ll find FJP deep thinking on subjects such as:

I hope these links help.

One item perhaps not mentioned in the above though is this: Ask every journalist you know (and even those you don’t) how you can break in, who you might be able to talk to and if, of course, they know of any openings you might be able to pursue.

Have other questions? Ask away. — Michael

I think I am a late bloomer. I think I’m getting less in my own way.

Errol Morris, documentary film maker and writer, to the Boston Globe.

The Globe profile focuses on the 65-year-old Morris’ involvement in and defense of Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing, “a unique documentary in which the squad leaders of Indonesia’s mid-1960s mass killings confront their crimes by reenacting them for the camera.”

German IT Firm Seeks Autistic Workers

Via The Guardian:

Declaring its eagerness to find workers that “think differently”, a German software giant has announced it plans to recruit hundreds of people with autism within the next few years…

…People with autism have a neural development disorder that often undermines their ability to communicate and interact socially, and their brains process information very differently to people who are not autistic, leading to repetitive and restricted behaviour.

But in the world of computers the tendencies they often display such as an obsession for detail and an ability to analyse long sets of data very accurately can translate into highly useful and marketable skills.

The move was welcomed by Germany’s largest organisation for people with autism, Autismus Deutschland. “This is the first major company to make such a commitment, and from that point of view alone it’s groundbreaking for sufferers of autism,” said Friedrich Nolte, of the group. “We will be watching closely to see that they follow through and also looking to see that these workers are not being exploited.

The Guardian reports that the program is underway with a few employees with autism hired in both India and Ireland.

SAP is an international enterprise application developer with approximately 65 thousand employees.

The Stressful Careers of Photojournalists and Newspaper Reporters
Using metrics such as career opportunity, compensation, deadlines, working in the public eye, and danger among others to generate an overall “stress score”, CareerCast has a top ten list of the most stressful jobs of 2013.
Congratulations, photojournalists and newspaper reporters, you’ve cracked the list.
Reiterating what we already know, CareerCast reports:

Two careers in the media industry score highly on the stress scale: photojournalist and newspaper reporter. Professionals from each field can be thrown into the epicenter of dangerous situations, such as war, natural disasters and police chases. Both careers also have declining job opportunities as the 21st century media landscape evolves. Newspaper reporters in particular face a shrinking job market; the BLS estimates a 6% job decline in the industry by 2020.
The growth of online media has transformed the newspaper reporter’s job immensely. The immediacy internet outlets provide can be a useful tool, but it can also be a huge trap. Striving for the fastest reports can lead to inaccuracy and heightened stress. Watchful public eyes are trained on reporters at all times, so an incorrect report can compromise a reporter’s reputation as quickly as they can send a tweet.

The least stressful job for 2013? University professor.
Image: Stressful Careers. Select to embiggen.

The Stressful Careers of Photojournalists and Newspaper Reporters

Using metrics such as career opportunity, compensation, deadlines, working in the public eye, and danger among others to generate an overall “stress score”, CareerCast has a top ten list of the most stressful jobs of 2013.

Congratulations, photojournalists and newspaper reporters, you’ve cracked the list.

Reiterating what we already know, CareerCast reports:

Two careers in the media industry score highly on the stress scale: photojournalist and newspaper reporter. Professionals from each field can be thrown into the epicenter of dangerous situations, such as war, natural disasters and police chases. Both careers also have declining job opportunities as the 21st century media landscape evolves. Newspaper reporters in particular face a shrinking job market; the BLS estimates a 6% job decline in the industry by 2020.

The growth of online media has transformed the newspaper reporter’s job immensely. The immediacy internet outlets provide can be a useful tool, but it can also be a huge trap. Striving for the fastest reports can lead to inaccuracy and heightened stress. Watchful public eyes are trained on reporters at all times, so an incorrect report can compromise a reporter’s reputation as quickly as they can send a tweet.

The least stressful job for 2013? University professor.

Image: Stressful Careers. Select to embiggen.

The Web is your CV and social networks are your references.

Where to Start as a Journalist? Try the Peabody Awards

I’m graduating in May in hopes of becoming a journalist. I’ve had internships and I’ve worked for my university’s online news source. Can you steer a terrified senior in a direction? Where should I look? What should I be looking for? What should I work on?” — Helena

We get questions like this fairly frequently and there’s no exact answer. But with yesterday’s announcement of the 2012 Peabody Award winners we’re seeing the incredible range of today’s journalism.This isn’t to say that you can’t quibble with this story winning over that story, or say they could chose more innovative work, but it is to say that if you look at the winners from the Web, radio, television and documentary you see a wild diversity of storytelling approaches and ideas.

And reviewing some of the winners, I think, is a great place to start.

Start with the Web and The New York Times win for “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek,” a multimedia feature using aerial photography, video and words while taking advantage of contemporary presentation techniques such as responsive design and parallax in order to augment and further drive the story forward.

SCOTUSBlog is the other Web winner. There are no bells and whistles. Instead, it’s pretty much a text only blog that’s become a go to resource for stories, background and explainers on all things that have to do with the US Supreme Court. Here, deep, thorough, consistent reporting and analysis wins out.

Radio, I think, is in a golden age and the reason I think this is is because of the launch of iTunes back in 2001. This allowed people to easily subscribe to podcasts — and by extension radio programming — that we previously didn’t have access to. Yes, RSS already existed but iTunes gave us an easy interface to either hear or distribute programming. While your local public radio station might not carry it, you can now hear everything from the BBC’s From Our Own Correspondent to The Moth Radio Hour, 99% Invisible and Radiolab among a host of other exceptional programming.

Each of these programs uses different techniques and styles. By listening and analyzing, we learn new tricks that expand our understanding of what’s possible in audio storytelling.

One of this year’s radio winners comes from Radio Diaries, is called “Teen Contender" and follows the 16-year-old Olympic boxer Claressa Shields in a first person narrative from Flint, Michigan to London. Here’s a great breakdown by Julia Barton on the techniques used and how this created great radio.

Other radio winners include WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show, a “traditional” hosted show about New York’s political and cultural life; This American Life’s “What Happened at Dos Erres,” an incredible radio documentary about a Guatemalan immigrant in Boston “who learns that the man he believed to be his father actually led the massacre of his village”; and NPR for its hard news reporting in Syria by Kelly McEvers and Deborah Amos.

I’ll leave it at this and with the recommendation to explore different types of journalism awards across magazines, multimedia, photography, documentary, radio and the rest. Through it, you’ll come across work that brings about an “Aha!” moment, one that makes you say, “This is what I want to do.” And then start positioning yourself and aiming towards doing it by applying for work — or learning the skills needed to apply for work — in that area.

Hope this helps. — Michael

Have a question? Ask away.

Journalism, Degrees and Jobs

From the Inbox: I’ve always been curious, is it possible to find work as a journalist without a degree? — Anonymous

I’d like to think it shouldn’t matter. Unlike being a doctor or a lawyer, there aren’t license or degree requirements for practicing journalism.

It might be harder to initially get your foot in the door but if you have the skills and the portfolio, people will (or should) look at that before checking out where or where you didn’t go to school.

Here’s what Joe Grimm once wrote at Poynter:

Some great journalists working today do not have college degrees. Few of the people working around them give it much thought or even know their degree status. It is all about “what have you done lately?”

Magda Abu-Fadil, a foreign correspondent and director of the Journalism Training Program at the American University of Beirut, doesn’t believe a journalism degree should be required but notes the realities of the job market in this interview with the International Journalists’ Network.

I don’t know if it’s worth all the money spent going to journalism school today since the landscape is changing so fast and we’re in a race against time with all the new technology, but it’s definitely worth investing in a degree since most employers still require it.

Mindy McAdams, who teaches journalism at the University of Florida, once indicated that the internship process is probably more important than the degree:

These challenges do not erase the simple fact that most journalism jobs are off-limits to all applicants who have not completed at least one internship. No internships = no job. It really is that simple. Many students, it seems, refuse to believe this applies to them. These are usually the students who are obsessed with getting high grades — as if anyone in a newsroom would ever care what grade you got in any class! (No one but a graduate school cares what your grades were.)

Hope this helps, and good luck. — Michael

Have a question? Ask away.

An Exercise in Kickassery and Multimedia Journalism
What’s Blake referring to?
Our spring intern program. Get the details here.

An Exercise in Kickassery and Multimedia Journalism

What’s Blake referring to?

Our spring intern program. Get the details here.

Future Journalism Project Spring 2013 Internships
The FJP is kicking off our spring journalism internship program. This is open to college students, masters students and recent graduates who can work with us in New York City.
If you’re reading this you probably know us by Tumblr, Twitter or The FJP proper, and our focus on journalism education, business models, technology, and journalism’s role in society.
The FJP internship program seeks qualified applicants who have demonstrated an interest in the themes we pursue, strong writing skills and one or more of the following: audio and video production, design and/or coding.
What FJP Interns Do
FJP interns spend 80% of their time working on ongoing projects such as assisting in the research, interviewing and post-production of on-camera interviews we do with publishing industry thought leaders; and curating and writing/recording original content for our blogs.
The remaining 20% is spent conducting independent research on the business and/or technology of a specific aspect of the media ecosystem (eg., ebooks, podcasts, video networks, app development, subscription models, etc.) with the goal of publishing his or her findings in a longform article (or multimedia package) at the conclusion of the internship.
We offer mentoring and guidance throughout your independent research project, and invite you to join us in weekly conversations with outside guests we bring in who discuss their work in their respective newsrooms.
The Spring Internship is 15-20 hours per week and runs for three months from the candidate’s start date.
To Apply
FJP internships are based in New York City. To apply, send an email to hello@theFJP.org. In it, include a cover letter (no attachments) that includes links to your online persona (eg., blog(s), clips, Tumblr(s), Dribbble, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.), why you want to work with the FJP, and what you’d like to actually accomplish during your Internship.
Need help with a cover letter? Here’s our advice on writing one.
Application Deadline: March 1, 2013.
If you’re in school and your school supports it, FJP internships have been used for college/graduate credits. A monthly food and travel stipend is included.
Outside New York City
Successful internships require a level of interaction that only occurs when we’re in the same room together. That said, we recognize that many of the best and brightest are a long ways away from where we are. If you’d like to get involved with the FJP in a collaborative role, send us a note at hello@theFJP.org. Follow the same instructions as above and we’ll get back to you if we think it’s possible to work together.

Future Journalism Project Spring 2013 Internships

The FJP is kicking off our spring journalism internship program. This is open to college students, masters students and recent graduates who can work with us in New York City.

If you’re reading this you probably know us by Tumblr, Twitter or The FJP proper, and our focus on journalism education, business models, technology, and journalism’s role in society.

The FJP internship program seeks qualified applicants who have demonstrated an interest in the themes we pursue, strong writing skills and one or more of the following: audio and video production, design and/or coding.

What FJP Interns Do

FJP interns spend 80% of their time working on ongoing projects such as assisting in the research, interviewing and post-production of on-camera interviews we do with publishing industry thought leaders; and curating and writing/recording original content for our blogs.

The remaining 20% is spent conducting independent research on the business and/or technology of a specific aspect of the media ecosystem (eg., ebooks, podcasts, video networks, app development, subscription models, etc.) with the goal of publishing his or her findings in a longform article (or multimedia package) at the conclusion of the internship.

We offer mentoring and guidance throughout your independent research project, and invite you to join us in weekly conversations with outside guests we bring in who discuss their work in their respective newsrooms.

The Spring Internship is 15-20 hours per week and runs for three months from the candidate’s start date.

To Apply

FJP internships are based in New York City. To apply, send an email to hello@theFJP.org. In it, include a cover letter (no attachments) that includes links to your online persona (eg., blog(s), clips, Tumblr(s), Dribbble, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.), why you want to work with the FJP, and what you’d like to actually accomplish during your Internship.

Need help with a cover letter? Here’s our advice on writing one.

Application Deadline: March 1, 2013.

If you’re in school and your school supports it, FJP internships have been used for college/graduate credits. A monthly food and travel stipend is included.

Outside New York City

Successful internships require a level of interaction that only occurs when we’re in the same room together. That said, we recognize that many of the best and brightest are a long ways away from where we are. If you’d like to get involved with the FJP in a collaborative role, send us a note at hello@theFJP.org. Follow the same instructions as above and we’ll get back to you if we think it’s possible to work together.

Unemployed Reporter Porter
Via CT.com

Jon Campbell, who briefly made Hartford a more interesting place with his presence and reporting for the Advocate, has entered the homebrew game with his signature Unemployed Reporter Porter (pictured).
"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."
For this new class of “expendables,” the label goes on, “we’ve included chocolate and roasted barley malts that are as dark and bitter as the future of American journalism, and 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?”

FJP: Give it up for Jon. Brewing up the best out of a difficult situation. Here he is on Twitter.
Image: Brewing it dark and bitter. Select to embiggen.

Unemployed Reporter Porter

Via CT.com

Jon Campbell, who briefly made Hartford a more interesting place with his presence and reporting for the Advocate, has entered the homebrew game with his signature Unemployed Reporter Porter (pictured).

"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."

For this new class of “expendables,” the label goes on, “we’ve included chocolate and roasted barley malts that are as dark and bitter as the future of American journalism, and 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?”

FJP: Give it up for Jon. Brewing up the best out of a difficult situation. Here he is on Twitter.

Image: Brewing it dark and bitter. Select to embiggen.

The Cover Letter
We’ve been sitting on a question in our inbox. Courtesy of Ceillie Gordon it goes like this, “What should we put in our cover letters when applying for journalism internships and jobs?”
It’s a good question, and one I’ve answered more or less before (see here and here and here and here).
The TL;DR version of each is to basically get your online presence in order, which means: create a portfolio of your work and/or a blog that demonstrates both what you know about the subject matter of the organization that you’re applying to and how you present that information (aggregation, original reporting and musings, etc). If your current online presence (say, on Tumblr) is a bunch of Justin Bieber gifs and other blinky things, consider launching something new that digs into ideas and content you’re looking to pursue. Spend time on this. Spend 30 minutes to an hour a day for a few months and you’ll have plenty to impress whoever it is you’re applying to. Then, in your letter, link to this. Talk about this. Show whoever it is you’re writing to that you’re invested in the subject and know about it.
That said, be human. Express your personality. Show people what makes you tick. There’s neither harm nor foul to include in your cover letter something along the lines of, “While my journalistic interest is in commodities pricing and international trade, I must admit a cultural fondness for animated Justin Bieber gifs which you can see at my personal site, Viva La Bieber.”
See what I did there? I combined a bit of the professional seriousness with the fun of your personality. (And as an aside, I had no idea that Viva La Bieber existed as a Tumblr but wasn’t surprised to see that it actually does.)
Yes, it may turn some hiring people off but it will also turn some hiring people on. There are a lot of smart people out there and hiring decisions often come down to whether or not — all else being equal — the person applying will fit into the culture of the existing team. We are, after all, going to spend a lot of time working together. And for you, you’ll have a better time working with people who get your Bieber fetish than with those that look down their nose at it.
About this time last year I received a cover letter from Jihii for an internship opening we had. She will hate me for what I’m about to do but since she doesn’t know I’m writing this I’ll take the hate in hopes that maybe her example might help you.
Here’s some of what she wrote.

I cannot tell you how happy I was to see your Tumblr post about the internships in NYC.

This is a good start. She knows our Tumblr and isn’t just blindly mailing out cover letters.
After a brief biographical overview (she grew up outside of New York City, studied at a small liberal arts college in California, was editor in chief of the school’s student magazine and worked on an independent documentary project) she writes:

I wrote my senior thesis on literary journalism and how it can survive and be developed in a new media age… ie: how can multimedia/web tools help hit the same emotional spots and create the same visceral experiences that literary tropes traditionally have? That’s one of my biggest research interests at present and FJP’s work is one of the few places I feel I can bring that conversation up.

See what she did there? She linked her interests to ours by demonstrating previous work that dovetails into a question we occasionally pursue. She also outlines what she would like to pursue in the internship and this is her taking a chance. Does she know we’re interested in the topic? Generally yes because she know the type of themes we’ve been publishing.
She then goes on to tell us about her overall digital skills and then what she’s done since graduating:

Right now I’m… waiting on some admission decisions for graduate studies in journalism. I’m working on a documentary film with some friends on undocumented Latino immigration. I’m curating a Tumblr that is kind of my own version of FJP: navigating media (thank you for the inspiration!) and I’m also doing some freelance writing. I just finished up an internship at The New Press in all things publishing, and I’m currently working at Columbia University Teachers College Edlab.
I’m there because I’m fascinated by all the ways technology is revolutionizing communication and I’m getting the opportunity to learn a lot about design and multimedia. I write a blog on Data Visualization for them (I adore infographics) and I’m also working on putting together an exhibition on dataviz.

Sprinkled throughout her cover letter were links to her online work which is important. It’s one thing to say you’ve done X, Y and Z. It’s another to actually show it. End result: If you follow the FJP you know that Jihii’s been with us and, arguably, writes and posts the more thoughtful material we have.
So, how to write your cover letter: think inverted pyramid, tailor it to who you’re sending it to, provide concrete examples of relevant work you’ve done and link to those examples where possible.
And yes, your resume should be online (and here’s a wonderful, funky example of one that’s making the rounds).
Hope this helps. — Michael
Have a question? Ask away.
Image: Twitter post from Scott Leadingham.

The Cover Letter

We’ve been sitting on a question in our inbox. Courtesy of Ceillie Gordon it goes like this, “What should we put in our cover letters when applying for journalism internships and jobs?”

It’s a good question, and one I’ve answered more or less before (see here and here and here and here).

The TL;DR version of each is to basically get your online presence in order, which means: create a portfolio of your work and/or a blog that demonstrates both what you know about the subject matter of the organization that you’re applying to and how you present that information (aggregation, original reporting and musings, etc). If your current online presence (say, on Tumblr) is a bunch of Justin Bieber gifs and other blinky things, consider launching something new that digs into ideas and content you’re looking to pursue. Spend time on this. Spend 30 minutes to an hour a day for a few months and you’ll have plenty to impress whoever it is you’re applying to. Then, in your letter, link to this. Talk about this. Show whoever it is you’re writing to that you’re invested in the subject and know about it.

That said, be human. Express your personality. Show people what makes you tick. There’s neither harm nor foul to include in your cover letter something along the lines of, “While my journalistic interest is in commodities pricing and international trade, I must admit a cultural fondness for animated Justin Bieber gifs which you can see at my personal site, Viva La Bieber.”

See what I did there? I combined a bit of the professional seriousness with the fun of your personality. (And as an aside, I had no idea that Viva La Bieber existed as a Tumblr but wasn’t surprised to see that it actually does.)

Yes, it may turn some hiring people off but it will also turn some hiring people on. There are a lot of smart people out there and hiring decisions often come down to whether or not — all else being equal — the person applying will fit into the culture of the existing team. We are, after all, going to spend a lot of time working together. And for you, you’ll have a better time working with people who get your Bieber fetish than with those that look down their nose at it.

About this time last year I received a cover letter from Jihii for an internship opening we had. She will hate me for what I’m about to do but since she doesn’t know I’m writing this I’ll take the hate in hopes that maybe her example might help you.

Here’s some of what she wrote.

I cannot tell you how happy I was to see your Tumblr post about the internships in NYC.

This is a good start. She knows our Tumblr and isn’t just blindly mailing out cover letters.

After a brief biographical overview (she grew up outside of New York City, studied at a small liberal arts college in California, was editor in chief of the school’s student magazine and worked on an independent documentary project) she writes:

I wrote my senior thesis on literary journalism and how it can survive and be developed in a new media age… ie: how can multimedia/web tools help hit the same emotional spots and create the same visceral experiences that literary tropes traditionally have? That’s one of my biggest research interests at present and FJP’s work is one of the few places I feel I can bring that conversation up.

See what she did there? She linked her interests to ours by demonstrating previous work that dovetails into a question we occasionally pursue. She also outlines what she would like to pursue in the internship and this is her taking a chance. Does she know we’re interested in the topic? Generally yes because she know the type of themes we’ve been publishing.

She then goes on to tell us about her overall digital skills and then what she’s done since graduating:

Right now I’m… waiting on some admission decisions for graduate studies in journalism. I’m working on a documentary film with some friends on undocumented Latino immigration. I’m curating a Tumblr that is kind of my own version of FJP: navigating media (thank you for the inspiration!) and I’m also doing some freelance writing. I just finished up an internship at The New Press in all things publishing, and I’m currently working at Columbia University Teachers College Edlab.

I’m there because I’m fascinated by all the ways technology is revolutionizing communication and I’m getting the opportunity to learn a lot about design and multimedia. I write a blog on Data Visualization for them (I adore infographics) and I’m also working on putting together an exhibition on dataviz.

Sprinkled throughout her cover letter were links to her online work which is important. It’s one thing to say you’ve done X, Y and Z. It’s another to actually show it. End result: If you follow the FJP you know that Jihii’s been with us and, arguably, writes and posts the more thoughtful material we have.

So, how to write your cover letter: think inverted pyramid, tailor it to who you’re sending it to, provide concrete examples of relevant work you’ve done and link to those examples where possible.

And yes, your resume should be online (and here’s a wonderful, funky example of one that’s making the rounds).

Hope this helps. — Michael

Have a question? Ask away.

Image: Twitter post from Scott Leadingham.