Posts tagged ‘journalism’

June 6, 2012

One of the Most Under Appreciated Careers of All…

This just in: Journalists get no respect.

When you think of under appreciated professionals I bet a few of them come to mind. They’re probably the same ones that come to most modern Americans’ mind. Each and every one of you probably drum up fond memories of teachers, nurses, military professionals and even social workers. However, the profession I’m referring to is the one that seems to get bashed on nearly a daily basis. One might argue that it may be the most under appreciated profession for that fact alone. They receive little to no gratitude. They work long hours, are faced with heartbreaking situations regularly, accomplish impossible tasks, have almost no holidays, expose injustices and change the world. They’re the media professionals known as journalists.

The job description asks for a lot. A lot that many aren’t willing to do. There’s also a lot depending on what they do. Think about it. Teachers may depend on those newspapers and books composed by writers to teach their next class. Business professionals depend on the updated Yahoo news story  written by a journalist to determine how the real estate industry can effect their next big business decision. Parents look towards their stories to learn about the state of education so they know whether or not to vote in favor of passing the school budget increase. Senior citizens need them to read about how to best plan their retirement funds and deal with health issues. Teenagers and young adults turn to their magazines to get advice on resume techniques or to simply brighten their day with fashion tips or heartwarming story. It’s one of the few professions that can stir up emotions from anger, inspiration, curiosity, empowerment, frustration, betrayal, content and enlightenment all with one breathe.

Writers’ words hold a lot of power and really can change the world. Yet, they are constantly criticized, swiped at, and accused of blowing things out proportion. It’s a lot of responsibility and heat to take for such little pay. The average writer/journalist/reporter salary rings in around $30,000. With a masters degree under their belt, that salary only goes up to about $45,000 to $50,000. There is no such thing as overtime or holidays because the news doesn’t stop.

They also aren’t  honored on any holidays because many don’t respect them or recognize all they do. And the ones that are honored on holidays are few and far between because they are so easily forgotten. When was the last time you thought about journalists who risked their lives to keep the public updated on wars and terror on Memorial day? Or what about that writer who was able to make you realize you weren’t alone as she captured the exact thoughts you had the moment you found out you were diagnosed with cancer? Have you thanked her?

Journalists don’t get discounts to stores, receive special perks or have a week dedicated to their greatness like some other honorable professions do. It takes a special person to put in such hard work with almost no acknowledgement. It’s about time journalist/writers/reporters were added to the ranks of honorable careers noted for their ability to make moves and change the world.

Do you think journalists are under appreciated? What other careers do you think receive little appreciation or respect?

TERRIfic Quip: Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself.

February 1, 2012

Why I Love HARO

As a journalist, there are a few tools I depend on to survive in this crazy world of media. One is the Associated Press Stylebook. The other is my subscription to Media Bistro. I also can’t go on without my MacBook Pro. And I can’t forget about Google Alerts.  Then there’s my digital recorder…  Ok, so there are a lot of things I can’t survive without in the journalism world (learn about them here), but I’m here to tell you about one of my favorite survival tools, Help A Reporter Out (HARO).

HARO is an email list in which media professionals can submit queries regarding sources they are in need off and have it sent to thousands of subscribers who can then contact them directly. It has come in handy in several occasions when I needed to find sources in short time periods. I highly suggest any business professional looking for exposure to sign up. However, that’s not the only reason I love HARO. Unbeknownst to many, HARO is great for many other reasons and uses.

One thing I like to do is  look at each media outlet and see if there is a publication I never heard of that I would like to target for freelance opportunities. I then begin researching that company and see what kind of topics they look for. This method isn’t just for freelance writers, though. Any business professional can go through HARO queries and find businesses they may like to work with in some way. Think of it like an innovative “phone book.” (Whatever, you do refrain from using the email listed in the query for other business opportunities. That’s a big no-no.)

I’m a big fan of random fun facts. Every once in a while, queries list an interesting statistic that you otherwise never would have given a second thought about. And those interesting statistics, I found thanks to HARO then become great conversation starters. – Not to mention they end up serving as inspiration for future pitches I may want to craft.

But  when I’m sick of writing pitches or queries, and choose to be on the other side of the computer I turn to HARO to become the source of a journalist’s dreams. I’ve been quoted in many articles and I’ve gotten lot’s of opportunities from using HARO to be the source. Hey, writers like some exposure too…

And I thoroughly like the exposure to like-minded professionals. Freelancing can get kind of lonely sometimes, so I find it find to interview or be interviewed and continue to stay in touch with the person. For some reason, I tend to feel a sense of camaraderie with my sources and interviewers. Sometimes, building a relationship with them has led to some great business opportunities. Just goes to show you that networking can happen anywhere.

On those days, I like to be anywhere but here, I turn to HARO and hope to find some tidbit about a different location. HARO founder, Peter Shankman, is an avid traveler and tends to include very short blurbs about his destinations at the top of some of the emails. Just the other day, he mentioned something interesting about Europe and Los Angeles. On the days, that he doesn’t mention anything about his travels, I simply use the top portion of those emails as a shopping guide. Every email has a short paragraph about advertising a service or product you should think about purchasing.

And of course, when you read as much as I do, sometimes you run out of things in your stash. Reading HARO queries allows me to pick out stories I may find interesting and make a mental note to look it up once it’s published. After all, I can’t write them all so I might as well read it all when I get the chance!