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Archive for December 21st, 2006

Interesting job postings

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

So, being that I am “unemployed” currently — as my sister Brandiann has pointed out, “After you graduate, you’re not on winter break. You’re just unemployed.” Thanks, sis. — I spend a lot of time looking at job postings.

Although, I am currently putting the search on hold until after Christmas/maybe New Years because nobody’s around at the papers; I’m hoping to hear from places I’ve already applied/interviewed; and most importantly, I need to sleep. As much fun as I had rushing through in three and a half years, and as much as I learned working at the Stater and going to an insane amount of classes, the truth is college exhausted me. I need to take a week to recoup my strength and energy. Plus, I figure, I deserve a week off.

Anyway, as far as job postings go, some of the pitches are pretty fun. I just came across this one for a Florida paper. The subject caught my eye, “Give your J-School degree a good home.” I clicked (aside: mom, if you read this, I’m not moving to Florida, so please don’t call me crying about how you will never see me again)…

We offer a relaxed atmosphere, reasonably competitive pay, a dress code that doesn’t include socks or ties, the opportunity to mix with fifth generation fishing guides, third generation politicians and a few first generation celebrities and pirates…

I can’t tell which is my favorite part, the dress code or the pirates. Either way, it’s a different way to attract job candidates.

And, this posting for a Connecticut paper, knows how to grab people by their egos. Although the ad itself isn’t as interesting as the previous was, the subject will get people to click: “Become a statewide name.” I mean, who doesn’t want that to happen?

Finally, this post to work for Bob Woodward, which I saw last week, made me laugh out loud. I’m sure it’s an AMAZING opportunity, but I totally get The Devil Wears Prada visions dancing in my head after reading the description. Plus, they don’t want me:

To be blunt, we are probably NOT looking for someone 24-25 years old, two or three years out of college, looking to move on from his or her first job.

Although, this seems to entirely dismiss new graduates by just skipping them over. Their loss, I’m sure. Though, I do know a number of people who would die for the opportunity to work for him. :shrug: But it’s not for me, not now at least. I have other arenas to conquer.

Those are just a sampling of the odd ads I come across.

There’s also a whole other post in the things editors like to play up when talking about their papers to you. For example, at a paper I was talking to earlier in the semester every exchange, even voicemail and e-mail, between myself and the ME included some mention of the weather. Yes the weather is different in the Midwest than on the West Coast. Yes, it’s nice that it’s “sunny” or “beautiful” or 70 degrees in November, but is that really the best selling point you have for the paper/area? That doesn’t bode well for someone like me who really does prefer having definite seasons. :shrug: There are other examples, but as I said, another post someday.

Kent State College Prowler

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

I just stumbled upon the Kent State University College Prowler book on Amazon. I don’t remember what series of clicks or searches landed me there. But it made me smile.

A book I helped edit can be purchased online on Amazon.com.

Yeah, in my list of things to achieve in life, writing a book is in the top 10. It will be a long time before that happens. But copy editing and fact checking the College Prowler book for Steve was one of those random forays into book publishing. The book is essentially a college students take on Kent State. (College Prowler has one student at each university compile the information and put together the book with his/her team.)

If you look at the “search inside” pages and click on “Copyright” you’ll see my name listed as a member of the bounce-back team. I don’t get any credit or money for the week I didn’t sleep because I had to read and re-read the manuscript or the constant complaining from Steve I had to endure as he struggled to compile the information for the book (with the help of most of the Summer Kent Stater staff). But, in the end, just seeing this on Amazon is kind of cool.

Coke, mentos and way too much time

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

By now, everyone has heard that when you combine Diet Coke and mentos it makes one crazy fountain of foam. I saw it on Myth Busters this summer, so I know it’s been around for awhile. Still, this chain reaction video is pretty impressive. Using 251 2-liter bottles of pop and 1,506 mentos on the ridiculous project. They have way too much time on their hands, but the outcome was insanely amusing.

Why a crappy job market doesn’t scare me…

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

I saw this speech from the Scripps CEO to Arizona State University j-school grads on Romenesko.

Reading it made me feel even better about my chosen profession. Even though every week I read about dozens of reporters and editors being laid off, and I do worry about my own prospects, this speech only reaffirms for me that I have a chance. I am fortunate and excited to enter the profession right now. I have the right set of skills at the right time. Hopefully it will pay off for me.

What most excites me about the opportunities that lay in the years ahead for me is this: nobody is saying, “What do you know? You just graduated from college. This is how it’s always been done.” That phrase, “how it’s always been done” is quickly and necessarily being removed from our lexicon. Instead, newspapers and media companies are listening to people like me, people who might not have decades of experience but who have eyes and minds wide open to the future and are ready and willing to take risks. As I always say, I might hate something or fail at it, but anything is worth trying once.

Some choice spots from the speech:

We’ll also be looking to you to be good story-tellers.

We believe this is critical to the future of our local news franchises.

To stay relevant in today’s crowded media environment – to rise above the din – we have to tell compelling stories. We may have to jettison police blotter reporting. We may have to miss some city council meetings.

Or it may be a matter of breathing life into the mundane and providing insight and perspective.

All I know is that everyday, our readers should be afraid of what they’ll miss if they don’t pick up their local newspaper off the front lawn or log on to the Web site.

Immerse yourselves in the fullness of the communities in which you work and live.

Know your neighbors and know what really matters to them. It’ll make you better reporters and great storytellers.

AND finally:

When it comes to changing technology, we’ll be looking to you to be flexible. You’re probably already well aware by now that change will be the only constant in your lives.

My recommendations to you are to keep an open mind. Be early adapters. And reject complacency and the status quo.

We – and by we, I mean the business of media as a whole – will be depending on the risk-takers of the world to identify and seize all of the opportunities that flourish in a world of constant change.

My hope is that you’ll be those risk takers.

Some things to think about.

Harry Potter 7?

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

I began reading the Harry Potter series in middle school — early middle school. That I haven’t outgrown or gotten bored with the series is testament to the quality of the content and writing.

I started with book two and have had to wait it out for each subsequent book to arrive. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the final installment for quite some time now.

Apparently, now Scholastic has announced the final book’s title, and drumroll please, it will be “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”

Cue wild fan speculation and fanfic for the next year and a half before the book ever hits stores or even Amazon.com.

UPDATE! Wait, you don’t even have to wait for the speculation and book stores. Borders immediately jumped on this bandwagon with a mass e-mail announcing the name asking users to sign up and reserve copies today. Come on…

Customized front pages on news Web sites

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

So, after talking with one of the reporters I met in the past few days and thinking about this, I have a question… Why aren’t newspaper Web sites more like My Yahoo! or Google‘s personalized home?

Hear me out. It isn’t hard to create elements that are movable. On a very small scale, I did it with my magnetic poetry at typical. It was super easy, a little DHTML script. (Admitedly, I didn’t write the script, I found it on Dynamic Drive. I haven’t had time/desire to learn and teach myself yet.)

So, as much as newspapers are saying, “We want to give you what you want!” Why don’t they make their Web sites fully customizable? So, if sports are the most important thing to me, I can put that up top. If breaking news is most important, I can make that higher in the hierarchy. If I want to know when new videos are posted, I could move that above the blogs or columnists I don’t care as much about.

This would also give readers a reason to sign up (ask a few demographic questions, which helps the paper know who the viewers are beyond IP addresses.) People would be less inclined to use services like BugMeNot to avoid registration, if the layout/content was customized to each user’s experience.

I don’t know of any newspaper Web sites that are doing this. But it is a really good idea and I can almost guarantee it will happen eventually. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for some examples.