April 11, 2009

Michigan State workshop: How to find a job in tough times

Mid-Michigan Career Development Showcase

Monday, April 20, 2009
7:00pm - 9:00pm
147 Communication Arts & Sciences Bldg
East Lansing, MI
RSVP Email:
I pulled this off Facebook and want to make sure the many Michigan State University grads are aware that three MSU grads are offering an opportunity to increase job-hunting skills.

The free mid-Michigan area networking reception hosted by the MSU Alumni Association on Monday, April 20 will feature Molly Fletcher -- author of the book "Your Dream Job Game Plan - 5 Tools for Becoming Your Own Career Agent", Kevin Donlin, contributing co-author of “Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0”, and John Hill, Director of Alumni Career Services with the MSUAA.

The three will discuss proven job-search tactics, including
  • how to get hired using LinkedIn.com,
  • why your resume is not working (and how to fix it),
  • how to network without being a pest, and more.
This free event will be held at the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at MSU in Room 147. RSVP to John Hill at the MSUAA at hilljohn@msu.edu (please put date of the event in subject line) today.

Speaker bios from the MSU seat:

Molly Fletcher is the President of Client Representation for Career Sports and Entertainment where she represents hundreds of the brightest MLB stars, NBA coaches, PGA and LPGA golfers, NCAA basketball and football coaches, and media personalities! She is the world’s leading female sports agent. She works with high profile clients such as John Smoltz, Jeff Francoeur, Ernie Johnson, Jr., and Tom Izzo on a daily basis.

Having spent most of her youth playing tennis competitively and competing at Michigan State University (1989-1993), Fletcher is able to connect with her clients on a personal and professional level and always act in their best interests.

Fletcher’s personal passion for teaching relationship-building techniques and following her "Five Tools" approach for pursuing any career has enabled many young professionals – from both inside and outside the sports industry - to fulfill their employment dreams. In 2008, she authored the book "Your Dream Job Game Plan Five Tools for Becoming Your Own Career Agent" published by JIST.

Kevin Donlin is the creator of The Simple Job Search Institute, a division of Guaranteed Resumes, LLC located in Edina, Minnesota. Since 1996, he has written and edited more than 10,000 resumes and cover letters, and assisted nearly 3,000 clients.

A contributing co-author of “Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0” and author of two job-search books, Kevin writes a job search column for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and has been interviewed by The New York Times, Fortune magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CBS Radio and Fox TV, among others. Kevin is a frequent speaker on job search topics across America. Kevin is a graduate of Michigan State University.

John Hill, Director of Alumni Career Services, is charged with providing career services to all MSU alumni. He also conducts career/professional/corporate development events on various topics including: “Taking Your Online Connections Offline For Career Success”, “How Gen Y Fits In With Gen X and Boomers in the Workforce” and “Developing Your Career Search Strategy”. John is a graduate of Michigan State University.

Speaking of jobs:

Just a quick reminder that two places to find full-time, short-time and free-lancing jobs are:

April 10, 2009

1 meeting, 3 takes on AnnArbor.com

The AnnArbor.com execs spent about 25 minutes talking about the Advance Publications - Advance Internet project that will replace the company's Ann Arbor News in July before spending the next hour or so answering questions from folks there and at least one via Twitter.

The hearing resulted in three reports:

On Mlive.com, a free-lancer for the Ann Arbor News submitted:

AnnArbor.com officials try to allay fears that local reporting will be lost once newspaper closes

News that a Brooklyn web firm - Huge - is working on the design drew some criticism in comments for not hiring local talent. Huge just finshed the American.edu site. Other clients include about.com; ikea.com, jetblue.com and girlscouts.org Media sites include AOL, Scientific American and Scholastic

A similar, non-bylined piece, was posted under the headline A step beyond journalism.

Jim Carty's Paper Tiger No More blog had an update on the meeting thanks to Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch who was at the meeting. Deitsch is in this year's class of Knight-Wallace fellows at the University of Michigan.

Deitsch's advice: "I would advise the public to hold him to these words."

The advice was given about promises that site content would be journalism, on the type of content, and on staffing. Deitsch, who says he remains skeptical, also discusses salaries, the plans for three major site updates - July, October and January - and sports.

The next community forum will be held at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 16, in the Pendleton Room at the Michigan Union. 530 S. State St.

Jay Leno to the rescue

The household had a night out at the second night of Jay Leno's Comedy Stimulus Concert thanks to the help of many.

Katie's boyfriend waited in line for at least four hours to get the free tickets to the Leno show in Detroit, or, as Jay acknowledged Wednesday, in Auburn Hills.

An ex-coworker had the right words to lead us to the Palace of Auburn Hills staff who found us a suite far from the crowd. Palace staff went the extra mile, making sure that we didn't have to stand outside in any lines. That made it safe to go despite low blood counts.

A splurge on popcorn and cotton candy complimented the free pop and chips on a non-organic night. Free parking too!

I was watching Leno on March 9, waiting for my favorite Headlines segment, when he announced the show:
"I'm watching our president and he's saying what we should do to help. We got this bad economy thing and well, I tell jokes...so how can I help out? So I was thinking, an awful lot of people unemployed, out of work, don't have any entertainment dollars...Well, one of my favorite places is Detroit, and there are so many out-of-work autoworkers. People work hard their whole lives, they're saving their money and so I thought, why don't I go to Detroit and do (my comedy) show?"

"I want to do a show for the, not just the auto workers, but anyone out of work in Detroit. But it'll be free. It won't cost you a dime.

"Not that I'm the greatest comic in the world, but it's free. If you don't like it, you get your money back!"
On March 16, Katie's boyfriend took some time out from job hunting to stand in a long line with another unemployed friend to get the maximum four tickets. If we couldn't use them, we know plenty of unemployed relatives and friends. He was almost to the front of the line when they announced the show was sold but a second was being added.

That was our first break as the first show was on the same day as Katie's chemo, not a good day for outside events.

Our daughter's immune system is breaking down slowly from chemo- 12 treatments done, four to go - so the idea of being with lots of people was frightening. Worse though was the idea of standing in line outside - you know how quickly the weather in Michigan can change - to get general admission seating.

That's why the actions of the Palace to get us a suite was so helpful.

An estimated 15,000 people were expected - and you know that we'd be sitting next to the sickest. Instead, there were eight of us in one suite.

There was even a private bathroom and a couch so we could rest, listening to the opening band The Sun Messengers. We moved to seats right outside the suite for Leno, who kept us laughing for nearly 90 minutes.

Not bad for a 58-year-old who shared stories about his parents, growing old, and played off several stories in the news.

Laughter, tweaked by kindness, was just the medicine we needed.

April 9, 2009

TV saves me, slays me as cancer squeezes in

Cancer broke into the girls' TV night, the one night my daughter and I agree easily on the same TV shows. Cancer breaks into a lot of things these days. Cancer breaks a lot of things in my life lately.

On Grey's Anatomy, Katherine Heigl's character, Dr. Izzie Stevens, has metastatic melanoma with a 5 percent chance of survival. The skin cancer has spread to her brain and liver.

Perhaps this storyline was inspired by Eric Dane, who plays Dr. Mark "McSteamy" Sloan on "Grey's Anatomy," had skin cancer in 2008. But I don't need Grey's as reality TV.

Even as I dread watching, I find myself drawn in, fascinated how it mimics life. Izzy's boyfriend, a doctor, mourns missing symptoms and wants to know if acting sooner would have made a difference. I wonder why I did not push harder when my daughter complained of fatigue this fall.

I watch Izzy's friends not knowing what to do and doing nothing. I want to shout out that cancer is not contagious or pass out the 20 things cancer patients want you to know or Krasney's five things from Everything Changes so the friends will do something, do anything.

Sometimes cancer on TV works - it did on Sex and the City.

Cancer had slipped into our marathon Sex and the City day - my daughter wanted me to know more before watching the movie. I usually caught the same episode on TV so I didn't know that Samantha had been diagnosed with breast cancer or that one episode would have a support scene that would help prepare me for my daughter's baldness.

The scene is where Samantha spoke at a benefit for breast cancer research, a speech that starts out stiffly. She loosens up, and even receives a standing ovation for removing her wig onstage in response to hot flashes. Many of the women in the audience stood up and removed their own wigs.

Later, I learn on HBO that real-life cancer survivors are in Samantha's audience. They were brought together through Gilda's Club, a national wellness and support organization/community for men, women, and children with all forms of cancer. That led me to bald is beautiful., created by an ovarian cancer survivor.
"In retrospect, when I considered various aspects of the cancer journey, specifically the initial hair loss, I felt that there was a drastic imbalance of energy in how people, myself included, process the idea of being diagnosed and consequently experience cancer. I met so very many women along my path that were overwhelmed and beaten down by hair loss and/or other external, aesthetic issues that this health challenge raises, and we simply cannot afford any negative energy in the form of self-doubt, low self-esteem, and insecurity when we are fighting for our lives!"

Some young cancer survivors are happy that YA cancer hit's Grey's believing it's a chance to show that cancer does hit young adults and that skin cancer is serious.

Me? I can deal with baldness. I just wish cancer could have chosen a different show on a different night.

April 8, 2009

Exhibit celebrates centuries of Michigan newspapers as industry swept up in change

This is just a piece of the cartoon done by David Horsey of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Please visit the original.
The failure of newspapers comes up in the most unlikely places - a breast cancer support group, a celebration of a 93rd birthday, the doctor's exam room. Yet, the possibility of hope also creeps into unexpected moments.

A non-journalism project has involved a fair amount of historical research. Still, I didn't expect to find a Michigan library celebrating two centuries of newspapers.

Week of change in Michigan
In Michigan, we've just finished the first week of Michigan's leading newspapers delivering only three print copies a week. It's the same week that the Ann Arbor community had public meetings to help shape the hybrid news organization that is coming there. And it's a week, where announcements on management changes for the Flint Journal, Bay City Times and Saginaw News coupled with daily print promotions on planned print products unveil just a hint of the new media for Michigan.

It's also the week that several granting organizations had deadlines for those seeking funding for new journalism products and a pair of bloggers release their predictions of how paying for online news might be a profitable venture.

So much to think about as the search for income in Michigan seems hopeless.

Press always in trouble
Perhaps the Clarke Historical Library was optimistic in sharing this quote in its celebration two centuries of newspapers in Michigan.
"I have never known the press to be out of trouble. The newspapers once were going to hell because of billboards, once because of magazines, once because of the automobile, once because of radio, once because of NRA, once because of social security . . . always going to pot because of something or other. . . . but once again the newspapers are developing a fighting mood. We are going to see changes; in management methods, in advertising approach and appeal, in circulation work, and [in] many other ways.- Anonymous newspaper publisher, 1942
But that quote, and the rest of a look at Michigan newspapers, reminds me that newspapers as we know them today haven't always been that way.

Indeed, a quick trip through the collection brought together for Celebrating 200 Years of Newspapers in Michigan uncovers enough to encourage the most depressed journalist to keep looking for solutions.

Only in America; only in Ann Arbor
When the exhibit was put together, the curator and writer had no idea that Ann Arbor would lose one newspaper and birth another news organization in 2009. That makes this piece in the chapter on early newspaper priceless:

"In 1836 Harriett Martineau, A British traveler who visited the United States and whose published account of her journey was generally critical of America, wrote specifically of Michigan newspapers:
At Ypsilanti, I picked up an Ann Arbor newspaper. It was badly printed; but its content were pretty good; and it could happen nowhere out of America, that so raw a settlement as Ann Arbor, where there is difficulty in procuring decent accommodations, should have a newspaper.[3]"
Editors once were businessmen, seeking extra income
Then, there's the role of editors, with Clarke Historical Library reminding us that prior to the Civil War most newspaper editors were trained as printers. A newspaper was, for them, often simply a way to keep the press busy between printing jobs. With no journalistic training, the editors published whatever was at hand, including items taken from other newspapers and partisan political material.

The editor was therefore, the embodiment of every requirement from the editor down and the devil up. He was type setter, job printer, foreman, business manager and pressman, as well as editor, and did not shrink for the duties of roller boy upon occasion.

- S. B. McCracken, writing in 1891,

Advertising changes content
A chapter on "the people's paper made profitable by advertisers dollar" reminds us that newspapers have changed before in response to the market as did the role of journalists. Adding ads meant a newspaper no longer needed to be so opinionated on every page; new journalists were trained to be "objective."
"These new reporters also brought a new sensibility to their job. They were generally schooled in the belief that reporters should approach their work, particularly anything involving politics, with neutrality. They should report the facts and let the public, or at least the editorial page writers, draw the conclusions. As one pioneering journalism textbook had it, the reporter’s job was to gather, “facts, facts, and more facts.”[86]"
There's much more in the online exhibit, including a look at why Booth Newspapers succeeded and the growth of the suburban newspapers.

It's the timing of the piece - the exhibit opened in February and remains through August - that encourages me to believe that the right product will be developed at the right time by the right people. Whether it is David McCoy meeting a brave man starting a newspaper or proving Howard Owens wrong about journalists and business plans, I'm optimistic tonight.

Spanning the ages: Retiree, student express hope for news

A difference in age does not change the hopes for news, or at least that's what I pull from two columns I recently found.

The success of the print edition is what retiring Huntsville Times columnist David Person hoped for in "America Still Needs the News."
"It's easy to forget that in this age of illuminated, multicolored, video- and audio-enriched news Web sites. It's also easy to forget that once you've had your fill of the speculation about why Jen and John - that's Anniston and Mayer for the pop culture-challenged - broke up this time, the real news isn't about who's seeing whom but who's running your city, county, state and nation."
Sharing his hope is a student editor at the Oakland University newspaper in a post on demise of print newspapers in the blog We're not putting out only on Wednesdays now.

The copy editor at the Oakland Post used the changes of newspapers in Michigan - Detroit newspapers dropping daily home delivery, the Ann Arbor News closing and daily newspapers in Bay City, Flint and Saginaw dropping to three days a week, to drop in what many would be a surprise because of her age:
Online news is replacing print news faster than ever. Thanks but no thanks–I’d rather read the paper.
She's smart enough to recognize, though, that changes like those happening in Michigan is how she may keep print news around.

Advance execs share outlook on TV

The AnnArbor.com team isn't the only Advance Publications group reaching out to the public as the company's 26 newspapers under go changes.

Bob DeMay, who talks about newspaper economics over on the Ohio News Photographers Association's blog, led me to the first video - Cleveland Plain Dealer editor Susan Golberg talking about the newspaper's future in an interview with WKYC-TV anchors Carole Sullivan and Eric Mansfield.

Some optimism in Ohio must come from the northeast Ohio region ranking number 2 for newspaper readership.

Talking in Alabama

Mobile, Ala., Press-Register Publisher Howard Bronson also talked with a local TV station about the future of newspapers.

Although the newspaper, like the Advance-owned Birmingham News and Huntsville Times recently announced 10-day furloughs and pension changes, I suspect the interview was spurred by this:

Press-Register signs deal to print Pensacola newspaper

The Pensacola News Journal announced April 3 that it would end 84 jobs in its printing operation and outsource the print production of the newspaper to the Mobile, Ala. Press Register. That job starts in about 60 days.

Fox10 reported that Bronson said his newspaper had a "monopoly on local news", and expressed the belief that young people, who increasingly get their news from the Internet, would eventually become newspaper subscribers despite predictions to the contrary.

Bronson also discussed what he believed would be the business model that would allow newspapers to survive in the twenty-first century.

Huntsville changing

Things are in the works for the nearby Huntsville Times, one of 10 newspapers in the United States that reported a circulation increase in September's Audit Bureau of Circulations report.
The newspaper also had more then 60 employees accept a voluntary buyout in February, according to published reports.

Publisher Bob Ludwig said that the newspaper was "working toward an evolution of The Times that will make it better in the Internet era. We're developing a more Web-savvy newsroom, we're selling advertising across multiple platforms, and we're going to focus the print edition even more toward local news."

Syracuse Post-Standard fighting with change, change, change

The Post-Standard in Syracuse, N.Y.,another newspaper in the Newhouse's Aadvance Publications group, is looking a number of newspaper changes as a way to battle the effects of the economy. Some of those changes were first announced on Cnylink, which covered a speech by a senior writer at the newspaper.

Changes include combining A and B sections in mid-to-late-April, blending national and local news in a single section.

Three days later, Editor and Publisher Stephen A. Rogers shared A letter to The Post-Standard's readers about difficult times. He included details about revisions to page two and other efforts as well as the staff furloughs and pensions.

New Advance Internet site focus on narrow job market

Even Advance Internet recognizes the opportunity, recently launching HireBioMedical.com The site will help employers in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and biomedical industries find employees.

"While economic and industry specific factors have softened hiring activities, work in fields like Pharmaceutical, R&D and BioTechnology continues to be a societal imperative and therefore remains mission critical. Successful companies, regardless of their size, need a continual pipeline to a talented candidate pool," says Gigi Glassman-Cohen, Vice President of Classifieds for Advance Internet, in the company press release.

HireBioMedical.com's tagline? "Talent That Makes a Difference."

What they're saying in Ann Arbor, elsewhere about AnnArbor.com

There's talking going on in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where the Ann Arbor News and the Ann Arbor Chronicle covered the first community meetings being held to seek feedback on the new products under the AnnArbor.com umbrella:

Some Michigan journalists may remember David Sullivan, who worked for The Flint Journal and in the Ann Arbor market before moving east. He was on vacation when the news about the Michigan newspapers broke. He comes back with his take on it in The Mysterious Ann Arbor.

Follow some of the AnnArbor.com conversation here:
That's how I found a blog post with a suggestion for Michigan reporters losing their jobs in the Ann Arbor region. LivingBlue asks Is Web an Opportunity for Laid-Off Newspaper Reporters?

Or those reporters could go into the medical field - those jobs are hard to ship overseas.

April 6, 2009

Blogger: Print's death to dam river of news

Peel away the specifics of sports in this writing to discover a fear articulated for many as formal media organizations give way to blogging.

There's also a challenge here for sports teams, governments, organizations, businesses - what mechanism will each set up to determine how information will be available.

Do all audience members now get a copy of the meeting packets distributed to reporters and board members? Should an organization's president talk to me because I share news and opinions via a blog or distribute a newsletter? Does the lack of a printed newspaper obligate governement bodies to publish their minutes faster?

The process of news

"As much as we loathe the columnists that have colored our opinion of their employers, newspapers served a critical purpose. They facilitated the flow of information from people who had it to people who didn't."
Yes, it is possible for a sports blogger to get access to information because universities are increasing what they put online and through the blossoming of sports sites where coaches, players and fans input detailed statistics.

Three tiers of news

the current system is set up for three tiers (at least for college fooball):
1) The University (school, coaches and players) possess the information;

2) the credentialed press gets the first crack at it;

3) and the rest of us are left to sort through what reaches us.

The differences

The differences boil down to credentialed press not using cleaned up, message-on-target quotes from the official sources. Instead, tha press can give, as
"Perspective on what was said and how questions were answered. They asked tough questions on decisions and results. They could observe the reactions from coaches, gage responses first hand, and had the ability to ask the questions where we do not."
Some of the perspective that comes from access to the paper and electronic versions of stories published before. Some of the perspective that comes from ongoing observations of coaches and players, perspective grown from the luxury of paid-for time spent on the specific subject.

A blogger's role

He looks at the obligation and responsibility of bloggers to provide insights based on raw reporting rather then reactions to what others have gathered.

And then there's this:
"When people begin turning to your blog for new information, you can't let them down. If you do, you lose their trust and their readership. "

A blogger's burden

Wow. That alone is a huge burden as I learned when people began turning here for information about Advance Publications, or my take on AnnArbor.com and Advance Internet because of my interest in the corporation that is funding my pension (we hope).

It was almost too easy to slip back into workaholic hours, seeking pieces of information scattered in announcements and blogs, while knowing family beating cancer is my first priority. It is tempting to want to email or call people I've known to get the "real story" or at least more details to help my friends in the industry, while knowing how uncomfortable it can be learning that you confided in a media person, not a friend.

Just a kick

Jim Carty of Paper Tiger No More said in State of the Blog, after his coverage of the Ann Arbor Press shutting down and AnnArbor.com helped draw 12,000 unique visitors to his site over four days:
"But that's just sort of a kick. There's no point to it, no goal. Paper Tiger isn't ever going to be a commercial venture, it's not supposed to be, it's just me being me, for better or for worse."
Jim, who left sports reporting at the Ann Arbor News to go to law school, wrote:
"The constant updates were the product of an extraordinary situation that affected me, and many of my friends, very personally. It will be viewed as an aberration in the long run. For the most part, the day-to-day shtick around here much more resembles random snark on newspapers, politics and sports, some law school musings, and me promoting stuff written by my journalism cronies."

My fingers unveil thinking

Inside Out is a way for me continue thinking by writing, looking at change and changes and figuring out what I'm going to do today and tomorrow. How can journalism and community not be a part of it when I've been immersed in some form of it since at least 1966.

Inside Out is the place where I can write about posts like The Death of the Print Newspaper and the Birth of the New Blogsphere. as I decide which project gets my eyes next.

Thanks for visiting.

Can pay model work for 50k newspaper? Cable TV model?

The idea of paying for content online gets tossed around frequently online and at gatherings of newspaper people. But not many people take the time to put numbers in a spreadsheet. Media Cafe, with help from NAA (Newspaper Association of America), Borrell Associates, AdPerfect and Centro, does.

In this second go-around, Jeff Mignon and Nancy Wang run numbers for a newspaper with 50,000 print subscribers paying $17 a month and a web site getting 250,000 unique visitors eying 2.5 million pages. The nine scenarios include a mix of subscription prices, conversion rates of print subscribers to online and content options. There's an online spreadsheet or a downloadable one but these numbers show only three of the nine options making more revenue, one option that's close and five below current revenue.

The spreadsheet includes the cost of acquiring subscribers, but @jeffjarvis suggested on Twitter the need to calculate impact of lost Googlejuice and brand value in market.

Meanwhile, Martin Langeveld over on Nieman Journalism Lab also puts out some numbers and concludes the math doesn't add up. He suggests that forward-thinking newspapers explore weekly or twice weekly print products, an idea floated in November 2008.

I'm still leaning toward the impossibility of getting people to pay for online news even as I consider how the cable TV model might work:
"Online news services will look something like cable TV. A tiered offering...For $100 bucks a year you get access to 10 national news sites, 10 state, 10 local...for $50 you get ....5 of each...or something along that scale...."
Nothing is impossible if we all keep sharing these ideas.