Monday, June 29, 2009
I welcome requests for advice from all the readers of this blog, and occasionally people take me up on the offer. I'm surprised though at how few people follow up on their queries. I don't always get back to everyone, and sometimes those emails slip to the bottom of my inbox and off my radar. When someone emails me a second time to ask if I received the first email, 99.9 percent of the time I'll reply.
I suspect most editors and hiring managers are like me, which is why, unless you've been explicitly told not to follow up, it's always a good idea to check in. Use your judgement to gauge how many times and how frequently you can contact someone, but my general rule is a week after the previous email or phone call, up to two or three times. More than that and you have to be very tactful in order not to become a pest.
Monday, June 29, 2009
No. Not paying ones. Sorry.
If you just completed j-school (congrats!), keep up your education throughout the summer, while you're trying to land your first real job. 10,000 Words offers up a 30-point to-do list to improve your journalism skills,
including suggestions like Create an online portfolio; Crop, resize, and colour correct 50 photos; Subscribe to at least 25 non-journalism blogs; and Interview 10 people using a video camera. Many worthwhile goals there, which will expand your technical skills and knowledge base, increase your profile and network, and develop your reporting techniques.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Last night I had dinner with two web folks and we got to talking about the divide between web and editorial departments. One day I'd like my job to include editing stories not just for print, but also for online — I'd like to work in both mediums. I have a lot to learn about web editing, but in my mind, both platforms serve the brand, so why the separation? Have the food editor edit the recipes in the book, as well as pull together cooking demonstrations for the web. Get the editor who handles book reviews to write them across the board. I've spoken to other young editors who feel the same way, and I wonder if we're heading in this direction, if the departments will merge over the next few years — if an editor will be an editor will be an editor.
What do you think? Should it all be part and parcel of the same job? Are you interested in doing both?
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
You smelled bad. ... You wore too much makeup. ... The CEO’s daughter got the job. ... You acted too desperate. Your pants were too baggy. ... They have a diversity initiative and you’re a white male. ... You didn’t make good eye contact.
And there are oh so many other possible reasons. A post on Radiant Veracity
lists 75, and also points out that you can't obsess over everything that you might do or may have done wrong in an interview. Be prepared and do the best you can. After that, the ball is in their court.
Through Lindsay Olson.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Thanks to everyone who turned out at the Ed2010 Toronto web editor's panel discussion last night — we had a great turnout. (From right to left) Bryan Borzykowski from CanadianBusiness.com, Jen O'Brien from Chatelaine.com, Jennifer Villamere of CanadianLiving.com, and Sharon Donaldson from CottageLife.com and Explore-mag.com shared how they got into online editing and what's involved in the job. (That's Ed2010 Toronto event manager Ann Brown on the left.)
Here are a few points from our panellists that stood out for me:
• Being a web editor is not the same thing as being a print editor. The type of writing and style of articles are different, and your duties as an editor will be different. Only a fraction of your time will be spent assigning stories and working with writers.
• If you're looking for a job as a web editor, you'd better be into the web. Have Facebook and Twitter accounts, post videos that you've shot and edited to YouTube, write a blog, purchase your own domain and build your own website. If you don't do all that — if you're not spending time online — the person doing the hiring is going to wonder why the hell you want to be a web editor.
• Don't look as web editing as a way into the print side. They are different departments and require different skills.
If you attended, post your comments on what you thought were the most interesting points made by our panellists. And let us know what you thought of the event.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Just a reminder that Ed2010 Toronto is hosting its web editors panel tonight.
Get online: discover the wonderful world of web editing
Ever wondered what it takes to be a web editor? Even in a slow economy there are job opportunities in online publishing. Find out how you can break into the wonderful world of web editing. Join Ed2010 Toronto and our all-star line-up of senior web staffers from some of Canada's top magazine websites including Jen O'Brien from Chatelaine.com, Bryan Borzykowski from CanadianBusiness.com, Jennifer Villamere of Canadian Living, and Sharon Donaldson from CottageLife.com and Explore-mag.com. Hear how they got into the biz and get advice on how to succeed in the online world.
When: Wednesday June 17 from 6:30pm-7:30pm
Where: Northern District Library, 40 Orchard View Blvd (Yonge and Eglinton)
$5 admission fee (Seating is limited, availability is given on a first come, first serve basis)
If you'd like to become a member of Ed2010, a networking group for young magazine editors, join our facebook group or email us at toronto[at] ed2010[dot] com.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Last weekend I headed down to Harbourfront Centre to catch the free Cirque du Soleil performance as part of Luminato. The crowd was large and expectations high. And then a few acrobats splashed around in the pond.
The performance that Cirque delivered was so low key, the audience didn't know when it was over. We all sat there waiting for the next act for about half an hour before someone thought to make an announcement. "Hope you enjoyed the show. See you tomorrow."
Everyone expected more. Not only does Cirque have a well-deserved reputation for delivering fabulous shows, but the setup for this show in particular led us (well, at least me) to believe there was more to come. The "stage" props included, among other things, a trampoline and a boat that were never used. (Though word has it they made cameos in the Sunday show; I say Friday's performance.)
This failure to deliver is one of my greatest pet peeves as a magazine reader: If you're selling me something on the cover, you'd better make sure I find it inside in sufficient quantity/quality to meet the expectations that you set up.
Likewise, be smart about how you sell yourself. You can stretch the truth about how good you are with deadlines, but miss that first one and your editor/boss will be more disappointed in you than had you said nothing about your ability to meet deadlines at all.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Well, if it has to be said again...
Some people still haven't gotten the message that you need to be careful of what you say on Facebook, Twitter and any other social networking site. An Associated Press reporter is the latest victim of officious corporations.
But beyond any nasty comments you might make about your company, its clients or your magazine's readers, you also have to be careful of how you present yourself. Many editors now find that part of their job description is to manage their magazine's Facebook page, or to tweet about all things related to their publication's content. So consider this: Is your profile pic a tad too sexy? Have you set up a professional and a personal account? When you're making announcements to the world, remember who might be listening.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Jennifer Villamere of Canadian Living will join next week's panel discussion of online editors presented by Ed2010.
Also on the panel: Jen O'Brien from Chatelaine.com, Bryan Borzykowski from CanadianBusiness.com and Sharon Donaldson from CottageLife.com and Explore-mag.com. Come hear how they got into the biz and get advice on how to succeed in the online world.
Wednesday June 17 from 6:30pm-7:30pm
Northern District Library, Toronto
40 Orchard View Blvd (Yonge and Eglinton)
$5 admission fee
(Seating is limited, availability is given on a first come, first serve basis)
Monday, June 08, 2009
A few notes on service journalism from the session "Service Centre: How to Tune Up your Magazine"
with Anthony Licata, editor-in-chief of Field & Stream
Clear is better than clever.
Don't make your readers do too much work; they'll just turn the page.
Make it fresh.
Evergreen stories can be deadly; if you've seen it before, so have your readers.
"Wouldn't it be cool if..." ideas are always worth pursuing. Take them as far as you can go before reining them in.
Don't cut the life out of short writing.
It's hard to write short, but when you're trying to fit, cutting the fun phrases and other bits of personality out can make a piece read like an instruction manual.
Teach with a smile.
Service pieces can pack in a lot of information and be exhausting. Lighten the mood and keep it fun so you don't tire out your readers.
Your cover should make a compelling promise.
Deliver on it with a service package that's well worth the cover price. Even if they read nothing else in that issue, readers should feel they got their money's worth.
It's not all about service.
Pacing is important; you can't use the same approach for all stories. Neither should all stories be service pieces; sometimes you just need to tell a good story. Give breathing room to all those itsy bitsy pieces.