On being lucky and making smart use of your parachute

This post was first published on my Perfect Moment Project blog.

John Dille and me at Cronkite's 2014 graduation ceremony.

John Dille and me at Cronkite’s 2014 graduation ceremony.

For the last three years, six semesters to be precise, I have co-taught a 400-level required journalism course with John Dille, the wise man in the video above.

John and I have made a great team.

We teach a course about the Business & Future of Journalism. John is awesome talking about ‘Big B’ Business. And I share lots of information about what newsrooms are doing these days to attempt to guarantee that they’ll be around in the Future.

John had taught the class on his own for two semesters before I signed on. It didn’t take long for us to get in step with each other, using some of what John had taught before and adding new wrinkles to the class syllabus. The topic is a moving target and we are constantly updating our class content. But even so, after six semesters together, we’ve gotten into a pretty smooth routine.

We were lucky to have each other.

I was very lucky to teach with such a caring, passionate educator and journalist. And I think the best students leave our class understanding that too.

In the final minutes of the final day of each semester, we offer some last words of advice to our students. I tell tell them not to be afraid to change directions along the way and to remember that they are snowballs – always accumulating knowledge, experience, skills that will serve them well no matter what they do.

John tells them the story caught on video below.

Because Spring 2014 at the Cronkite School of Journalism has been our final semester (we’re going to take a little break), I was moved to record the tale that John always shares during these last minutes that we still have the students’ attention. It’s a winner. Even graduating seniors stop and take note. You should watch it.

Personal Branding for Journalists: KipCamp 2014

 

Doug Haddix KipCamp

Doug Haddix, Assistant vice president, Editorial Communications at The Ohio State University, with 2014 KipCamp Fellows.

“People have an image of you, whether you like it or not, said Robin J. Phillips, digital director at The Reynolds Center for Business Journalism and co-founder of #wjchat, a weekly Twitter-based community of web journalists.

“ (Your brand) is not just about telling people what you’ve done and how great you are. It’s about anticipating what you can do for them and sharing that,” she said.”

It’s also about relationships. Your personal brand has a lot to do with how people feel having a relationship with you.  I was honored to attend the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs again this year.

Personal Branding: Finding Your Social Media Voice | Kiplinger Program

Some of my tips for extending the Fellows’ brands included:

  • Secure your own domain name; this makes finding your work much easier. A website for checking available domain names is WHOis.net.
  • Google searches for common names can result in many individuals, so determine how to make yours unique. Phillips goes by Robin J. Phillips to differentiate herself.
  • Try to maintain just one account for each social media platform: It’s easier for the public to locate a journalist’s work.
  • Balance your personal and professional lives, excluding private information. The private can include personal relationships and opinions on almost any matter, which should not be shared because this compromises objectivity.
  • Look at other journalists online. Many have already developed their brand. A few that Phillips considers to have a strong presence:
    Twitter: Mark S. Luckie, @marksluckie
    LinkedIn: Yumi Wilson
  • Do not rely on links, which are owned by other sites and could disappear. When sharing work online, use PDF files to ensure they are easily accessible.
  • Look for individuals who have portfolio websites and model something similar. Portfolio sites allow a journalist to bring together various media outlets into one portfolio.

 

Our side hustle takes off like a rocket

SkinneePix Selfie USAToday

USAToday’s Jeff Graham took SkinneePix to Venice Beach to see how people like it.

Sue and I have had lots of publicity this week over our new app. Through our business – Pretty Smart Women - we’ve launched a photo app called SkinneePix. And it has taken off.

We are both journalists. We’ve even got a great journalism-based idea that we’re looking for funding for.  But it’s the fun, light photo app that takes off like crazy so far.

It’s been interesting to be on the other end of the publicity machine. Even though we have been very accessible, we’ve been amazed at how many people have written about SkinneePix and lifted quotes from one of us from early stories without giving us a call  (in particular this one from the LA Times: New app SkinneePix makes your selfies a little skinnier).

 

Here are some highlights from the week:

  • USA Today’s tech reporter took the app to the beach and had a little fun. Take 15 lbs off your selfie with new app  
  • Here’s an interview with the two of us on The Wall Street Journal: Shave 15 lbs. off your selfie SkinneePix on the iPhone
  • We’ve had lots of sensational criticism, people calling our  app is ‘evil’ and accusing of us capitalizing on people’s vanity. (for the record, we are not evil):
  • This Guardian piece is one of the better ones in this vein, yet the reporter did not call us: The ugly truth about SkinneePix 
  • And here’s my response to the writer. My comment on the story has had lots of thumbs up from other readers. Many were happy to see me join them in the comments “below the line”:  Hi, Guardian Crew! 
  • AND here’s a local story which takes an angle about local women do good. I hate that video they stuck on top of the story. Am trying to get them to replace it with the USAToday video:  Phoenix Developers’ SkinneePix App Slims Users’ Faces 

Wild and healthy

SkinneePix is fun and came about after years of hearing friends say, ‘Use the skinny lens on this photo.’  In the fall of 2013, we looked at each other and said, ‘Maybe we can make the skinny lens.’
Sue is using the app to lose some weight and get a little more healthy. She’s written about it in Getting Healthy With My Selfie.
So far, this has been wild and fun.  And the app isn’t even a month old yet.  Sue is on her way to New York City, representing Pretty Smart Women in more interviews. We’re not sure where this will take us, but in a few weeks, we’ll turn back to some of the other projects we’ve got in the works.

AWSM, social media analytics and creating a personal brand

Yet again this weekend, I hung out with a group of journalists and found myself amazed at how this band of story warriors can be, all at once, each others’ competition and the very best of friends.

I am lucky because my job allows me to talk with journalists all over the country. This weekend, a very cool group of them met almost in my backyard.

awsmfoundersI was asked to speak on Multimedia Storytelling to a group of women sports journalists, public relations folks, and educators at the 2013 annual convention for the Association of Women in Sports Media (AWSM). This was the 25th anniversary of the organization and they gathered at the Montelucia Resort & Spa, a gorgeous resort in the shadow of Camelback Mountain.

The location and the anniversary meant the atmosphere was understandably pretty special, but I got the feeling that this sisterhood of sports journalists is a collegial bunch every year.

Here are a few highlights from AWSM’s weekend in the Valley of the Sun. And below, I’ve added the slides from my presentation and a few links for people who want to know more.

Thanks, women of AWSM. I was honored to be an honorary member for a couple of days.

My slides (so no one had to take notes):

Below are a few links that I hope answer one of the most common questions from my session. (I also had a specific question about some iPad broadcasting software. I am still looking for the answer to that and will update here when I get it.) And, many people wanted to know about an image I showed of a reporter broadcasting live from her iPad. I found that here at NewscastStudio, Reporters broadcast live from mobile devices with new app. Good luck with it. Let me know if it works as promised.

SOCIAL MEDIA ANALYTICS
I recommend that journalists make friends with their social media editors and whoever analyzes your web analytics. Find out what is working and what isn’t. Here are a few other social analytics tools to explore:

  • Buffer: Free for 3 accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and 10 updates on each. $10 monthly premium account.
  • TweetStats: Graph how you’re performing on Twitter (number of tweets by day, time, etc.)
  • FollowerWonk: Extensive analytics. (freemium model/ $99 a month)
  • Simply Measured: Some free reports (must tweet about the service to get the report). Free trial.
  • Hootsuite: Organizes social tools. Helps you track topics. Free.
  • Bit.ly: URL shortening tool. If you register, it tracks analytics on the links you share.
  • Twitonomy: Detailed information about your tweets.
  • SproutSocial: Free trail. $39/month.
  • PeerIndex: Rates your authority and reputation on social media.

AND A FEW SWEET TWEETS FROM MY SESSION:

And this one I LOVE:

Boston bombing lessons for social media

SocialMediaLessonsBombing

Happy to help my friends at 12News and azfamily as they were trying to make sense of a very crazy news week and how it played out on social media.

Boston bombing makes history on social media for speed and inaccuracy.

Social media has once again proved to be a critical way for people to stay informed during a tragedy.

KipCamp revisited: 2-day Social Media Summit

I just returned from a two-day Social Media Summit presented by the Kiplinger Program at Ohio State University – known as KipCamp to its friends.

It was wonderful. And although I was there because I was asked to teach, I came away full of new ideas, new tools and a better understanding of what’s going on in newsrooms around the country. I learned so much.  And made new friends.

A career in journalism today takes more than a well-placed byline. Editors, producers, publishers, and readers want and expect more from the journalists who tell our stories – they want to know you.

Journalists are expected not only to continue to deliver exceptional work, but also to use the digital and social media tools to get their work out there. It’s essential to understand  how to convey what’s unique about you.

Here are some resources that might help you figure that out.

GOOD BLOGS ON BRANDING & JOURNALISM

BRANDING / SOCIAL MEDIA RESOURCES

And one final word. This two-day KipCamp was self-selected and made up of a great group of journalists and communications specialists who were at all different places on the social media spectrum. They were very engaged and helpful and I think they represent where newsrooms are right now in regards to using social media — some people get it, others want to know more and there is less and less resistance to social media and other online tools as time goes by.

Social is a conversation, not a message

I contributed to Fast Company’s The Rules for Social Media recently and people seemed to like it.