ASJA’s New Avenues Conference Takes Place This Weekend

Peter Beller

As the freelancing landscape continues to change, the American Society of Journalists and Authors has kept pace. To further explore and embrace these shifts, the ASJA is hosting its New Avenues conference in San Francisco on October 10th and 11th. The event will take place on the campus of San Francisco State University.

With the increase in demand for high quality content marketing and native advertising, new job opportunities are developing for journalists. Though print publications may be shrinking – both The New York Times and CNN recently announced downsizing measures – it doesn’t mean that the home for talented writers and other freelancers is shrinking. ASJA’s goal is to help its members, independent writers, understand the marketplace, and New Avenues should be the perfect place for that discussion to develop. Kara Swisher, co-CEO of <re/code> and former co-executive editor will present the keynote speech.

Peter Beller

Ebyline’s Vice President of Content, Peter Beller.

In addition to Swisher (and many others), Ebyline’s own Vice President of Content, Peter Beller, will also be in attendance, participating on a panel helmed by Michelle Rafter. Rafter, owner of

WordCount editorial services, will direct a discussion on the capabilities of web-based publishing platforms like Ebyline, Scripted, and Contently. The panel will take place at 1PM PDT on Friday, October 10th. 

If you’re following along on social media, follow #ASJANewAves, @ASJAChat, and @Ebyline to keep up with the Twitter news. And if you’re in attendance, drop us a line – we’d love to hear about it!


ASJA Conference Recap

Last week, hundreds of journalists and authors gathered in New York City for the American Society of Journalists and Authors’ 41st annual conference. Ebyline sponsored Saturday afternoon’s coffee break, and director of freelance development Joanne Cleaver chatted with attendees in the expo hall.

Meanwhile, I live-tweeted as many panels as I could. Here are a few takeaways from the conference:

  • Social media is about quality, not quantity. In his popular social media panel, Sree Sreenivasan, Columbia Journalism School Dean of Student Affairs, stressed that the strength of your Twitter following is based on follower engagement and what influencers are following you, not the raw number of followers. Several agents and editors echoed similar sentiments in other panels, too. And in the Find Ideas that Sell panel, Ebyline’s Joanne Cleaver mentioned piggybacking on the social media presence of your sources. For instance, if you interview an organization that has 10,000 followers, it’s likely that the organization will tweet about your article or book and expose those followers to your work, too.
  • Editors want what they want. Some editors told attendees to pitch them over the phone, while others suggested using a certain email subject line to capture their attention. Some want short, tightly focused queries, while others expect more detailed proposals. Presenting the information in their preferred format and contact method increases the likelihood of becoming their go-to freelancer. Not sure about an editor’s preference? Ask a colleagues or check your conference notes. And if you get any feedback from an editor, pay attention! The same goes for a publication’s style and format. If a magazine doesn’t publish first-person essays, you’re better off pitching a reported piece than trying to convince an editor to buy your essay.
  • Value adds are appreciated. In the Secrets of Successful Freelancers panel, Sam Greengard encouraged article writers to do more than the minimum. The past several ASJA conferences have emphasized that the media business is evolving to the point that some writers now provide photos, audio, or video in addition to words (a phenomenon we’ve blogged about, too). Katherine Reynolds Lewis mentioned in the One Plus One Equals Cash panel that she often includes extra stats that her editors turn into charts. Those kinds of value adds won’t always earn you more money, but they’ll often help build long-term relationships.

For more highlights from ASJA 2012, check out these recaps from other attendees:

Did you attend the conference? What did you take away from it?

Join us at the ASJA Conference Next Week

ASJA Conference 2012

ASJA Conference 2012If you’re attending the American Society of Journalists and Authors Conference next week (April 26-28) at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, then we hope to see you there.

Look for the Ebyline table, where you can chat with Joanne Cleaver, Director of Freelance Growth, and Jonathan Joseph, V.P. of Strategy and Development, about freelance opportunities with Ebyline.

Drop your business card in the bowl at the table to receive an invitation to join the platform and be entered to win a $200 Amazon gift card.

Also check out these panels:

  • Power Profiles: How to Stand Out on LinkedIn – Friday, April 27 at 10:15am
    A powerful social networking tool, LinkedIn helps you find sources, connect with colleagues and build your personal brand. Learn how to use apps, answer questions and participate in groups to make your profile stand out in a crowd. Ebyline blog editor Susan Johnston (that’s me) is moderating.
  • Secrets of Successful Freelancers – Friday, April 27 at 5:45pm
    Plenty of freelancers make good money even in this unpredictable economy. Learn the techniques successful freelancers use to thrive. Whether you’re an experienced freelancer or just starting out, you’ll come away with new money-making insights.Panelists include Ebyline blog editor Susan Johnston (me again).
  • Find Ideas That Sell – Saturday, April 28 at 4:15pm
    The news. Your travels. Trends. Ideas can come from anywhere you are or wish to go, even from fellow article writers. The trick is selling them to your editor, publisher or agent. This panel has the scoop on what works–and what doesn’t. Panelists include Joanne Cleaver, Director of Freelance Growth at Ebyline.

See you there!