Letters Home: Juana Summers

Juana's Twitter picture
Written Dec. 2, 2011

Dear ONA Mizzou,

If I could entrust you with one piece of advice during your time at what I consider the best journalism school in the country, I would tell you this: fail.

No, not your classes, because  -- let's face it -- your professors won't appreciate that and neither will your parents. But I want you to experiment with what you do, try different forms of storytelling, take a class in something completely foreign, get in front of the camera if you're more comfortable behind it -- all with the knowledge that you might not succeed.  You might trip over your words anchoring cut-ins at KOMU, or turn in a story for convergence reporting that sends Karen Mitchell into a "what were you thinking" tailspin.  But it's all worth it because you'll be learning what works and what doesn't.

The art of creating an online portfolio

By Ashley Crockett

A screen shot of my portfolio
Every journalism student at the University of Missouri is required to have a portfolio to graduate. But there's more to crafting this online showcase of your work than just posting anything and everything on a page and calling it a day.

Before digging through all of your work, you first need to figure out what you are. Your emphasis area doesn't define you, but it can help narrow the list of potential self-appointed titles. "Multimedia journalist" is a popular go-to, but what about news curator? Anchor? Producer? Decide which of these best applies, so you can ensure your portfolio reflects that.

Five ways to write a more concise script

By Andrew Gibson
What advice do you have for writing more concise scripts?
The ability to write a concise, informative script is one of the most powerful tools journalists can have in the digital age. "Script" might seem specific to radio and TV, but you'll also need one each time you produce a Web video or create an audio slideshow.

Knowing this, it's important to remember the differences between writing for the eye and ear. Inverted-pyramid stories happen in space. The entire text of a print article sits in front of a reader, meaning a person can skip around it while easily referring to earlier information if something doesn't make sense.  Putting the most important information first means anyone can leave the story early and informed.

Conclusion: Readers can cruise through a lengthy inverted-pyramid story and still "get it."

Audio and video stories happen in time. The entire story isn't in front of people at once, so they can't quickly decide what's worth listening to or watching. Also, these stories can lose coherence if people jump around within them because the most important information isn't always first.

Conclusion: People often have to consume the entire length of an audio or video story to "get it."

That's why it's imperative for you to write concise scripts. You're deciding how much time people must set aside from their day to watch or listen to it. To help, here are five conciseness tips, several of which I learned while completing my first convergence-reporting team story last week.

Live Blogging: Mobile Brown Bag with Mizzou Grads

Miss the meeting live? Watch the video!

1:00: The brown bag finishes up! We had a great time with Amanda and Matt!

12:55: With several May grads in the room comes the natural question: How do you make it through to graduation and what comes next? Both answer it's about knowing what you ant to do and what you're interested in. "Put the effort into stuff that's your dream job," Amanda says.

12:53: A large portion of mobile developing is trying to make things seamless for consumers. The idea is to make a sale - the easier it is for the consumer to pay, the easier it is to make the sale.

12:50: Question: When working with a mobile campaign, how do you keep everyone in the loop? Amanda talks about how it's common for clients to come to The Marketing Arm with ideas that are dispersed between different departments and agencies to make sure there's no overlap. "There's a lot of people that play," she says. Matt says it's not common for clients to only use one agency anymore. On some accounts, clients have have multiple agencies working on mobile strategies.

12:45: Often, clients know what they'll want later on down the road, but for re-branding campaigns, things can change overnight. Matt and Amanda work with clients on both long-term and short-term goals  and sometimes on very short deadlines. Amanda discusses how her work with JCPenny's re-branding campaign. No more of those JCPenny's coupons in the mail - check your texts for weekly deals.

12:42: Amanda stresses taking the initiative to start learning about developing skills, getting on a developing project, trial and error with app building.

Calendar Alert: A Mobile Brown Bag with Mizzou Grads - 12 p.m, February 17

Photo courtesy of jeffgun on Flickr
Do you read news on your iPhone more often than on your computer? Are you interested in learning how to think with a mobile-first mindset? If so, join ONA Mizzou at noon Friday in Walter Williams Hall Room 35 (a conference room off the red-carpeted hallway). We'll have Amanda Bromwich and Matt Schmertz, 2011 convergence graduates, on hand to talk about their jobs at The Marketing Arm. Both work at this Dallas-based marketing agency as project managers. Topics will include mobile advertising, mobile-first publishing strategies and job hunting.

Do you have questions you’d like answered at the event? Tweet them to us now (@ONAMizzou), so we’ll have a list before the discussion starts. You can also comment below or write on our Facebook Wall.

Three $20,000 grants for digital media startups by female entrepreneurs

By Ashley Crockett

The 2011 grant winners with IWMF board members.
(Left to right - Maria Balinska, Liza Gross, Gene Robinson, Julia
Reischel, Lissa Harris and Jeanne Pinder) Photo by Anthony Tilghman

Are you a woman? Do you have a great idea that would be a great contribution to digital news media? 

If you answered yes to both questions, then consider this: the International Women's Media Foundation is offering three grants, each worth $20,000, to female journalists looking to advance their digital media startups.

This is the second year for the Women Entrepreneurs in the Digital News Frontier grant program, which aims to "(diversify) the digital news media landscape by expanding the voice and role of women entrepreneurs."

How journalism students can stay humble while promoting their work

By Andrew Gibson

Searching "journalists personal brand" on Google calls up a
slew of varying opinions.
Should journalism students ever feel shame after a shameless self-promotion?

Maybe that sounds ridiculous. Especially to the wave of upcoming journalists programmed to be both news professionals and unique brands. Heck, you might have found this blog because I promoted it on Twitter from
@ONAMizzou. I'm not ashamed to say I've blasted multiple posts from my own blog into the social sphere, as well. 

Media giants like to show their feathers, too. Tweets from 13 "major news organizations" linked to their own websites 93 percent of the time during Feb. 14-20, 2011, according to a
study from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism and The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs.

But even so, posting, "Here's what I wrote, look at it," on social media might still seem brash to a portion of the younger generation. Here are four less conspicuous ways to build acclaim for your work.

Live Blogging: ONA Mizzou Meeting 2/2/12

Watch the video from this meeting:

6:02: The meeting has concluded. Thanks to everyone who came out. Our next meeting is Feb. 23. See you then. 

5:59: Very few people are stalked by people that don't know them says Sgt. Schlude. 

5:56: Schlude makes a great point about comparing the real world to the virtual world. We share things we shouldn't online and sometimes it feels anonymous, but it's not. 

5:53: Mayer on how to reach a balance: Use privacy settings and location settings make the most nervous. We live publicly and people will eventually will find you.  

5:49: Schlude talks about how her Facebook is extremely private especially with her past in undercover narcotics as a police officer.

5:45: Jen Reeves, a member of the audience, talks about being safe with photos.

5:43: "Imagine what a private investigator can do when it comes to social media. Pictures and other things are gone forever as soon as you hit send or tweet."-Schlude