Tons of transformational ideas, tools and Twitter tips highlighted the AAJA Seattle Spring Training Social Media and Self-Branding Bootcamp on March 28. Sona Patel, Lauren Rabaino and Brian Rosenthal of the Seattle Times did a dynamite job dishing out info and inspiration (plus a tour of the newly consolidated Times newsroom).
The talented trio asked us to blog about our five top takeaways. My list:
Interact. Subscribe to blogs. Follow people who are doing what you want to do.Â Comment on their posts. Lauren shared an anecdote from her student days how she posted on a Big-Shot Journalistâ€™s blog and he responded, much to her delighted astonishment. It marks you as someone who contributes to the discourse and helps establish you as a credible source of information.
Use your name or a consistent alias across all platforms. To build the brand, you need a unified naming convention on Twitter, your website, Facebook, LinkedIn.
Tweet where youâ€™re at. Beaming out that youâ€™re at a school board meeting, tech conference (or AAJA event!) builds credibility that youâ€™re covering whatâ€™s important, doing the footwork.
Donâ€™t sweat the SEO. People will find you if you write well about what matters to you, said Lauren. Brilliant strategy.
Always have visuals â€“ makes posts more shareable. To wit: Fueling up for the drive home to Bellingham, I stopped afterward at Molly Moonâ€™s Homemade Ice Cream for a triple hot fudge sundae (salted caramel, Scout mint and vegan coconut chunk!). Noticed they had a map showing their ingredientsâ€™ origin. Noticed their milk and cream come from the Edaleen Dairy in Lynden. Realized this would make a fun post on my Blue Ribbon blog about local food, farming and fairs. Also, realized, with regret, that a photo of the little thumbtack on â€œLyndenâ€ wouldâ€™ve made the post 10 times cooler. Hit home that I need to take my camera everywhere — even the malt shop.
Rain gear comes in handy for Lori Matsukawa's job as a Seattle news anchor.
Name: Lori Matsukawa Lives in: Bellevue, Wash. Born: Honolulu, Hawaii Education: B.A. from Stanford University, masterâ€™s degree from University of Washington Work: news anchor, KING-TV, Seattle Formerly: Anchor/reporter at KOMO-TV, Seattle; KPIX-TV, Portland, Ore.; KRCR-TV, Redding, Calif.; college intern, Honolulu Advertiser. AAJA member since: 1983. Co-founded Seattle Chapter in 1985. Must-reads: Wall Street Journal, Seattle Times. Often checks out TIME Magazine, Honolulu Magazine, Twitter, Facebook. Print or online news? Both. Go-to website: KING5.com Best journalism moment: Documenting Gov. Gary Locke’s first trip to China in 1997. Worst journalism moment: â€œWhen my photographer was arrested at Pearl Harbor covering the 50th anniversary.â€ Twitter handle: @LoriMatsukawa Languages: English and â€œtouristâ€ French. â€œI can order a beer in Japanese.â€ Canâ€™t put down: â€œThe Hunger Gamesâ€ trilogy. Favorite Seattle restaurants: Tie: Kaname and Wann Izakaya. Must-see TV: â€œ60 Minutesâ€ Fave flick: Tie: â€œGone With the Windâ€ and â€œThe Terminatorâ€ Heaven on a plate: Spam musubi. Top toy: â€œMy golf clubs.â€ You might not know:â€œI decided to study journalism during my year as Miss Teenage America 1974. I was always being interviewed by reporters and decided this was the job for me: getting paid to talk to people!â€ Main motivation: â€œJournalism is the first draft of history. It’s the only job thatâ€™s protected by the First Amendment, so we’d better take it seriously.â€
Former NJC scholarship recipient Thanh Tan, a multimedia reporter for The Texas Tribune, delivered the keynote speech to this yearâ€™s scholarship recipients. If you want to be inspired, watch her outstanding speech:
Our chapter and the Seattle Association of Black Journalists presented a leadership plaque to Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen for his consistent support of diversity nationally and locally. And we cut a red velvet cake to mark the 25th anniversary of the NJC scholarship, which has helped more than 100 aspiring journalists of color from Washington state with college expenses.
The Seattle chapter had an impressive showing at the AAJA National Convention in Detroit. Three of our members â€“ Caroline Li, Sarah Wallace, and Sunny Wu â€“ were awarded Ford Foundation fellowships to attend the conference. The chapter also sponsored University of Washington student Peter Sessum with a Founders scholarship. Whitworth University graduate Kyle Kim joined the team at this yearâ€™s VOICES convention newsroom project, which was led by the able Marian Liu (now community manager at Storify.com). Athima Chansanchai represented the Seattle chapter on the convention programming committee co-chair and on the Governing Board as National Secretary.
President: Sona Patel, social media producer, seattletimes.com (term expires in 2013)
VP-Programs: Lauren Rabaino, associate web producer, seattletimes.com (term expires in 2013)
VP-Events: Caroline Li, web entrepreneur (term expires in 2012)
Treasurer: Mai Hoang, business reporter, The Yakima Herald-Republic (term expires in 2012)
Secretary: Samantha Pak, reporter, The Redmond Reporter (term expires in 2013)
National Board Representative: Sanjay Bhatt, business reporter, The Seattle Times (term expires in 2013)
The new board already has stepped up to the plate, and itâ€™s not even Jan. 1! Sona Patel helped organize Holiday Scoop 2011, an unaffiliated event, with AAJA members Sharon Chan and Candace Heckman and Online News Association member Tiffany Campbell. The event raised $2,000 for the Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship!
You may have noticed that AAJA Seattleâ€™s website has a new look and feel. The site has served mainly as a bulletin board for chapter news and job listings as well as an archive of photos, videos and stories about past chapter events. Thanks to incoming chapter VP Lauren Rabaino, as well as AAJA members Sarah Wallace, Furhana Afrid and Sunny Wu, the site now is integrated with our @aajaseattle Twitter account and designed to offer a better user experience and engagement. If youâ€™d like to contribute stories to the site, please contact Lauren, whose Twitter handle is @laurenrabaino.
As we close out 2011, you still have a few days to make a tax-deductible donation to AAJA! You can make an online donation to AAJA Nationalâ€™s Power of One campaign or its scholarships. The Seattle chapter also welcomes donations by check to its P.O. Box. The chapter will have a PayPal option in 2012.
Donâ€™t forget to renew your AAJA membership! I encourage you to renew at the Gold or Platinum level, each of which include perks and special mention on the chapter and national websites. Platinum level membership includes your registration fee for UNITY 2012 in Las Vegas!
For the past four years, I have been honored to serve the chapter during a period of turbulence for our employers and our occupation. Working together, we finished the campaign to establish a $100,000 endowment for the NJC scholarships, grew membership despite the closure of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and increased our reach through workshops, partnerships, field trips and digital media.
We are blessed in Seattle with a cadre of leaders who have an ethic of giving and paying it forward. I’d like to thank several people who supported me in ways large and small during my term: my fellow board members Nicole Tsong, Mai Hoang, Athima Chansanchai, Venice Buhain, Caroline Li, Owen Lei; AAJA Executive Director Kathy Chow; Karen Johnson of Hacks & Hackers; former AAJA chapter officers Sharon Chan and Lori Matsukawa; and the leadership of The Seattle Times, especially Publisher Frank Blethen, Executive Editor David Boardman and former Executive Editor Mike Fancher.
Being a journalist today is more challenging and entrepreneurial than ever before. Journalists must sharpen their skills, cultivate their network and have a community to stand behind them. You and your fellow members are AAJA. Together, we are charting a new course for journalism in the 21st century.
If you’ve been looking for your next journalism position then you know your journey has probably been painfully bumpy against the backdrop of the lingering recession, newsroom cut backs, leaner paychecks, scarcity of jobs and scores of unemployed journalists eager to get back to another newsroom. Many others have even jumped the journalism ship in search of other opportunities.
Want a journalism job? Carry more tools to get hired, survive and thrive in the news industry. (Photo by Furhana Afrid)
You may have invested the last few months or years doing everything you could possibly do to help secure that next job. Youâ€™ve sent out hundreds of resumes tapes, relentlessly telephoned news directors to tell them why you are the â€œOne,â€ hit the journalism conventions running and networked until you are blue in your face. You tweet and follow the whoâ€™s who on social media, and perhaps you accomplished all that on a very tight budget. Itâ€™s no wonder that your backpack feels heavier with discouragement and doubt about your future in journalism.
You thought you paid your dues by busting your rear end when you were trying to break into the journalism industry and then working yourself to the bone at your first or next job. Now it seems you are back to ground zero. Not really. You are a backpack journalist! (also known as a video, multimedia, multiplatform, digital or one-man/woman band journalist). You are accustomed to producing several stories a day under deadline. The tools in your backpack and your story-telling skills make it all happen. And with so much versatility at your fingertips you can do it all over again even if you are not working in a newsroom right now.
So journalist whatâ€™s in your backpack that can turn that long or short spell of unemployment or underemployment into an opportunity to innovate, explore and keep your skills sharp?
Three Tips to Strengthen Your Job Search Backpack:
Create Web Footprint: Employers are looking for creative self-starters. Your website is your broadcasting channel to showcase your multimedia skills. Itâ€™s your story-telling portfolio for video/online/audio stories, photographs and news writing. Many journalists are using WordPress.com or WordPress.org to create their sites and tell their stories. The good newsâ€¦website design credentials are not required to own your own piece of real estate on the internet. You can also use other website developers like Tumblr, Drupal or Joomla. Plus free online tutorials will show you what to do. Iâ€™ve been using a WordPress tutorial from the Knight Digital Media Center. Itâ€™s an easy to follow, step-by-step approach. Try it.
Practice Super Story-telling: Jobs will come and go. So will tools. But your story-telling skills will be yours to keep and nurture. NBC multimedia journalist Thanh Truong told me at a recent AAJA convention that many journalists can shoot video, edit and deliver the news. But itâ€™s how well you capture the essence of a story that differentiates one storyteller from another. As a master story-teller your chances of hitting a home run to your next journalism position improve significantly. So put your video gear to work. Check out Poynterâ€™s News University online courses. These courses are affordable, sometimes free and will really help you craft compelling visual stories.
Nurture Strong Relationships: The journalism industry continues to shed jobs. CNN is reportedly one of the latest casualties with some fifty out the door. You know that you are not the only one. But when times are tough it is easy to spiral down into the abyss of pessimism, low self-esteem and isolation. So donâ€™t turn into an island. Reach out to your trusted family, friends and peers. They will help you weather the storm and encourage you to stay afloat. Stay active in your community. Start groups with like-minded people. Volunteer your skills for a worthy cause. You have the ability to help change lives and your circumstances.