September 12, 2009

Quick: Answer by Monday on 'Parachute Training' for journalists in Michigan

The Online News Association, and Poynter Institute will offer a free, day-long training session on new media skills for journalists, citizen journalists and bloggers in October in Ann Arbor.

The program is part of ONA's Parachute Training Initiative, funded by the Gannett Foundation.

The date and location will be announced soon. Meanwhile, ONA is inviting people who might be interested in the training to take a short, online survey to identify what training is needed in this land of formerly employed journalists.

I did the survey - and discovered some great reminders of the digital skills I have acquired over the years. Another question reminded me I need to revise my business plan, especially the five-year part. An offer to help ONA returned a confidence-building reply from a woman I met last year while stuffing bags, checking in conference and job fair attendees, and opportunity-solving at ONA's annual conference in Washington DC. If the date is right, perhaps you will see me at this FREE event. also wrote about the training program.

Or go directly to the survey.

Sources: Tony Dearing at and Online News Association.

September 7, 2009

Laboring over what's next

So, how's your Labor Day? It's not a very happy holiday for most in Michigan, where an AP report says the state will lose its one millionth job early next year. To be fair, most of the article focuses on how the state is turning to entrepreneurs to create new jobs. There's even a couple of Flint businesses mentioned and the University of Michigan-Flint program that helped.

The family broke tradition and celebrated Labor Day a day early this year. We did it so some of us could rest up for the upcoming move to Tennessee. Add in another stop to see doctors who want to make sure my daughter is healing well enough to move on. (I think the doctors face a losing battle there - my daughter wants to return to work NOW.)

I get that work ethic. I'm still struggling with being jobless at age 55 even as my head knows many dream of early retirement, even as I can dream of possibilities.

A local organization is looking for someone with a passion for graphic or web design or playing with a digital camera ... someone who wants to work with the mission in the communications department.

Sounds like the perfect opportunity for someone who has created or managed at least 45 web sites and discussion boards, tweeted, blogged, Facebook'd, etc. But despite the offer of a cubicle and cake on Fridays, I haven't jumped at this chance. I would volunteer, but the organization prefers interns.

I've been struggling with why I'm uncomfortable applying for an internship but am willing to volunteer.

I think internships can be a great way to add to your resume and I admired the laid-off TVGuide editor who became an unpaid intern at, the Women on the Web site aimed at those over 40. She wanted to learn some new media skills. I like the WOW program even.

I know I would learn some new things. And, since I am willing to work for free as a volunteer, it certainly isn''t the pay that stops me from applying for the internship.

A post by Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who learned unpaid interns are illegal. helped clear up some of my confusion.

Cuban wanted to "assemble a group of unpaid interns that would acquire video, write game reports, track unique stats, do interviews, interact with fans, and then compile all of this incremental media and provide it free to any and every outlet."

But his human resource department discovered U.S. Labor Department guidelines say unpaid interns can not provide anything of value to a company. There's more on Cuban's post, much of what seems to come from this blog post. I can't make the pdf link work or find the specific rules outlawing unpaid internships on the labor department site.

Still perhaps that's my problem - I want to provide value, not make some employee's job harder.

Or is it that I still equate value with a paycheck, unwilling to believe on some level that 40 plus years of earnings clears the way to explore another way of living.

Or perhaps I'm still in search of what it is that I'm supposed to do with this life that has not gone the way I planned. With my daughter's move out and on, the unexpected caretaker role is over.

Let me leave with you three happier links, proof that social media can indeed help you get a job:
Plus, Shawn Smith ended his three-month avoidance of New Media Bytes by sharing how to determine your next move in this time of furloughs, layoffs and paycuts. (Shawn left his senior producer job at to become a self-employed entrepreneur on June 5.)

I'm off resting, supervising, resting, surprising, driving and resting.

Keeping story offline keeps story alive

A writer who focuses on the impact of the Internet on global politics asks if Conde Nast is suffering the Streisand effect with its decision to not keep GQ"Vladimir Putin's Dark Rise to Power, out of Russian or online.

Evgeny Morozov links together most of the significant postings on the decision. He wisely notes that most of us would not even remember the article without the controversy, much the way Barbara Streisand's effort to forbid publication of an aerial photo brought more attention then the original photo would have.

Over at the Atlantic, Julian Sanchez tells us that self-censorship went out with denim vests. It's an interesting read crediting the editors who tipped NPR to the action, but questioning why they listened to their legal advice. Perhaps, the editors like getting regular paychecks in this landscape of furloughs and layoffs. You've already got McKinsey & Co.looking at Conde Nast for possible job cuts and savings plus how many magazines are hiring these days.

Mother Jones also talks of the Conde Nast Conspiracy.

GQ and Wired are two subscriptions that still pour into our house, purchased long ago when employees of newspapers branch of the Advance Publications got a deep discount. I read Wired cover to cover and occasionally drool over the ads and lifestyle perpetuated in GQ. If the GQ stays out long enough, I get sucked into an article or two.

"The art of getting lost" intrigued me enough to move past the illustration of a woman's backside. The title reminded me of my mother's tendency to get lost and her ability to turn the prolonged trip into an adventure so I can easily answer the author, David Amsden, when he asks what do we lose, if no one is ever lost in the age of GPS. We lose the chance to explore the unmapped roads and dive into the afternoons of unplanned stopped.

In these days of the Internet, we lose the ability to keep information quiet once it has been released.