Jobs of the Day: NPR Tech Reporter, Wine Journalist, Reuters Bureau Chief, Entertainment Blogger

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Want a new journalism job? Sure you do! We’ve been combing the interwebs today to provide you with new journalism and media opportunities. Today, we have some jobs for techies, entertainment junkies, and lovers of the good life. Whether you’re interested in heading up a news bureau or drinking wine for a living, we’ve got some sweet opportunities on our Jobs of the Day:

Reuters, Bureau Chief, U.S. Southeast & Caribbean – Miami
Reuters is looking for a superb writer and manager to run the Southeastern United States and Caribbean, one of the busiest regions in the world for general news stories that are of importance to clients across the asset classes. From covering hurricanes and earthquakes to space missions, Koran-burning pastors and international fraudsters, the southeast U.S. and Caribbean beat offers one of the most varied and busy files in Reuters Americas, including fast-breaking spot news and opportunities for “deep-dive” investigative stories. In “Sunshine State” Florida, huge wealth, high finance and financial fraud often go hand in hand and in recent years the territory has loomed large in some of the world’s biggest and most notorious fraud scandals — Bernard Madoff’s victims included many of his Palm Beach neighbors, while Texas billionaire Allen Stanford is accused of using Florida and the Caribbean island of Antigua as hubs for the $7 billion Ponzi scheme he was charged with operating. Florida is also a key political swing state in what is already shaping up to be a hard-fought 2012 U.S. presidential election. Miami’s varied file includes covering political developments and natural disasters in a string of Caribbean states from Cuba and to Trinidad and Haiti’s 2010 earthquake was Reuters Story of the Year. The bureau oversees the file from Cuba where the cautious reforms and advancing age of the leaders of the Cuban Revolution is setting up one of the most fascinating international political stories in decades.

 

Reporter/Correspondent, Business-National Desk

The National Desk is seeking a Reporter/Correspondent to cover technology from Silicon Valley. This is a high profile business reporting position that will focus on information technology, innovation and the Internet. The successful candidate will cover globally influential companies based in Silicon Valley and will report on the myriad ways technology affects the US economy and its citizens. The successful candidate will develop sources inside and outside of the industry and is expected to produce stories as well about privacy, social media, venture capital and cyber-security. A thorough knowledge of technology and high level reporting and storytelling skills are essential. Radio experience and a proven track record in covering technology are strongly preferred. The selected candidate will report on air for NPR shows and newscast segments, and online for NPR.org.

Wine Industry Journalist

Wines & Vines, a leading wine industry magazine based in San Rafael, Calif., seeks an experienced journalist and technical writer to fill a full-time staff writer position in our office. We need a self-starting, team-playing reporter who knows and loves the wine industry, to write business news, product news, lead our social media writing efforts, and most importantly research and write in-depth technical articles on winery and vineyard equipment and processes. For monthly print magazine, daily news website and digital editions.

The ideal candidate has a bachelor’s degree or more, at least five years of journalism experience, and a scientific/engineering bent as well as excellent writing skills. He or she has also spent enough time in vineyards, wineries or industry supplier companies to understand our target readers, who work in grape and wine production. The winning candidate enjoys learning more about winery technology, enology and viticulture.(via writerjobs)

Entertainment News Writer

A multimedia entertainment news website, Hollywire.com is seeking a dedicated, pop culture savvy writer to join our team!

Qualifications:
• Journalism Degree or background
• Knowledgeable of AP Style guidelines
• Proficient in spelling, grammar, and punctuation

Ideal Candidate:
• Previous writing experience
• Dedicated
• Must be a team player
• Must be willing to drive in the LA area to attend red carpet events to take pictures and collect sound bytes for editorial content
• Must be in-the-know about Young Hollywood and all aspects of the entertainment industry

How to Track Your Freelance Writing Income More Effectively

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Keeping track of money may not be the most exciting part of freelance writing, but it’s still crucially important. In this video, we share a sample Excel spreadsheet and show step by step how I track income, deadlines, and more. If you don’t have a system yourself, Income Tracking Sheet and customize it to your needs. Have another strategy for tracking income? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

Make the Business Side of Freelance Writing More Pleasure than Pain

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Writers have a driving need to describe, explain, and express. The change of seasons intoxicates. The vibrancy of fall leaf colors attracts and the irony of such beauty coming at the end of the growing season causes inner contemplation. The creative soul could at times exist and thrive in the world of individual and craft; however, for most self-employed writers the creative process must also pay the bills.

Enter Dr. Victor Vroom’s Expectancy Theory of Motivation. Dr. Vroom’s theory works on the principle of maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. Within this work management theory a writer can find a financially rewarding balance between the creative and the mundane.

Simply put Expectancy Theory asks what you expect the outcome of your tasks will be and offers a formula for how well you will succeed based on your mindset. How well you expect the task to proceed will affect your motivation to begin and complete the task. For example, you pitch an article idea but have heard this editor is slow to respond and is even slower to pay after the article is filed or you have worked with this editor before and have firsthand experience of this fact. The creative part of you loves researching and writing on the topic this magazine covers, but what will be the outcome of the task knowing there may be hazards ahead? By using Dr. Vroom’s Theory, you can work through the emotional part of taking this assignment based on how motivated you will be to begin and finish. Motivation has a distinct effect on your bottom line.

The Theory’s three factors grant insight into how you see an assignment from past experiences and if you perceive the outcome to be rewarding or unsatisfying. Do you see the project as producing pleasure or pain? The factors are: Expectancy, Valence, and Instrumentality.

Expectancy: You have the assignment. It is penciled in on your calendar but the closer it gets to the time to contact sources to set up interviews the more you dread getting started. Why? What’s causing your hesitation? Check your motivation so that before you pitch this market again you will know whether it is worth your time. Ask yourself is the pain worth the pleasure. Figure your hourly rate and consider time lost due to procrastinating.

Valency: What is your reward for completing this article? If the subject matter is not your specialty and in fact you find it boring, think through what will make completing the article more pleasurable to you. Will you be compensated well, help others with the information in the article, or will writing the article have long-term positive effects on your career.

Instrumentality: After thinking through your motivation for pitching and completing the project now measure the probability of obtaining the desired outcome which is your project will be more pleasure than pain. Use the following equation:

Force (Motivation) = Valence x Expectancy

The Force or motivation you apply to the project is a direct result of the outcome you want (Valence) multiplied by how you fared previously producing the project or a similar project. For example:

1) If you feel the outcome of this project will reward you in ways that will help your career the Valence rate will be high. The same is true of the Expectancy rate. 2) If you do not believe payment for the project is sufficient and completing a similar project was previously unsatisfying then both rates will be low. 3) One rating can also be higher than the other i.e., you feel the Valency of doing the job is low but did have a good experience previously then the rates will vary. The expectancy rate can be high with a low valency rate, as well.

1) Force (64) = .8 (V) x .7 (E)
2) Force (16) = .2 (V) x .1 (E)
3) Force (36) = .6 (V) x .2 (E)

Force in each of these equations measures your motivation to do a job and can help you make a conscious business decision of whether to accept a project. As usual, you will initially figure your hourly rate for a project but factoring in previous outcomes can keep you from taking a project that will become a time drain. Ask yourself is the pleasure worth the pain as a freelance writer. If not, find a project you are better suited doing. You will, at times, have to take projects you are not excited about, but if the outcome is rewarding then you know you have made the right decision and knowing that will produce a positive attitude toward the project.

How to Repurpose Print Stories for Radio and the Gear You Need to Do It

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Many journalists and investigative technical writers try to maximize their time by repurposing their stories for multiple publications. You can do the same for print to radio stories with some preparation, and you don’t need to know how to use Pro Tools sound editing software. You just need a suitable story slant and some decent quality recordings. Public radio shows like “Marketplace” work with print journalists all of the time so can assist with sound production and fine tuning stories for format.

Ideally, a two-track digital recorder with XLR inputs like the Marantz PMD 661 will work best for radio. It offers a stable, noise-free platform with a lot of recording options like the ability to use two lavalier mics. But you can get away with using an Olympus LS10 or newer LS11 which both have good preamps that are not too hissy when the recording gain is increased. Just using an external mic with any cheap digital recorder can drastically improve sound quality.

You want a recorder with sound levels that can be adjusted while recording. This allows you to keep the meter out of the red where the sound will “clip” or distort. You also want the ability to record uncompressed wav sound files with a sampling rate of 44.1 KHz. That’s the same quality as an audio CD. Even the cheap Zoom H1 has this capability.

Don’t use the internal mic since holding the recorder will pick up handling noise. And leaving the recorder on the table is too far from your source to get clean sound. Get a decent handheld mono microphone like the Electro-Voice RE50 , a Sennheiser MD46 or a wired lapel mic and practice using them. You want to learn how to cradle the mic in your hand to minimize handling noise.
A few tips:

  • Hold the mic close to the speaker’s mouth. The farther away you are from your subject, the more that you will have to increase recording levels, which will increase background noise and hiss. This is especially true in noisy rooms or with soft-spoken subjects.
  • Position the mic to the side or below the speaker’s mouth but pointed towards the mouth. This is called being “on axis” and it helps to reduce clicks and pops. A mic windscreen will help as well. Foam windscreens are cheap but fur windscreens work best.
  • Always keep your headphones on and listen to the interview through your recorder. I use the Sony MDR-7502 headphones (http://amzn.to/na31T5) but you can also use earbuds. Turn off automatic sound level settings and limiters, which will wildly fluctuate the volume of your recordings and make them unusable. Frequently check your sound levels and manually adjust them as needed. I find that interview subjects get louder as they get more comfortable.
  • Limit how much movement you make while holding the mic to minimize handling noise. Sit or stand close to your interview subject so that you’re not swinging the mic back and forth.

Record 20 seconds of background sound at the beginning and end of the interview session. This extra helps the sound engineer to make clean editing transitions.

Radio is actually a visual medium so record any extra sounds that are related to the story that can give the story more presence like milk bottles rattling if you’re doing a story on dairy farming.

Why Using a Smartphone as a Recorder is a Bad Idea

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One of the most common questions that I’m routinely asked by new journalists and investigative article writers is what recorder I use to tape interviews. I actually have two small portable Olympus digital recorders (WS-300M and an Olympus LS10) that I’ve been happy with. Both recorders have intuitive controls and good recording quality. I’ve even used the latter for broadcast interviews. Occasionally, I see journalists using iPhones as a recorder, which is fine if you’ve got nothing else. But the many disadvantages are not worth the convenience for the following reasons.

  • Using your smartphone as a recorder will diminish the short battery life that you already have to deal with. A dedicated recorder uses cheap AA and AAA batteries that you can more easily replace on the go.
  • Dedicated recorders typically have blinking recording lights that allow you to see from afar that they’re actually recording.  
  • Smartphones are harder to operate and monitor on the fly than a dedicated device. Try wading through menus on a touchscreen while in bright daylight and running to keep up with an interview subject. Most digital recorders have a single physical record button.
  • Using your smartphone at a press conference or roundtable means that you’re giving up your link to the world until the event is over. Not a good idea if you need to make or take a call, look something up on Google or snap a photo.
  • The biggest issue I’ve seen is how some smartphones can affect electronic devices while sharing a podium or press roundtable. Cell phones transmit regular signals to communicate with local cell towers and these pulses, especially when on GSM or EDGE mode, can be picked up by nearby digital recording devices and it is loud. Your colleagues will hate you for ruining their recordings.

A few tips:

If you do see a smartphone being used as a recorder, place your recorder as far away as possible from the device. But keep the recorder close to the speaker since distance increases how much background noise the microphone will pick up. If you insist on using your smartphone as a recorder, turn the cellular feature off. Inversely, keep your own smartphone away from your digital recorder while doing interviews. Switching the phone to “airplane mode” is the safest precaution that you can take in both instances.

 

 

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