Lessons from WDSTL: podcasting, travel blogging, exploring

Sean Blanda (left) and I on the Philadelphia Art Museum steps on May 28, 2008. Together we travel blogged and podcasted for a month while backpacking Europe.

Sean Blanda (left) and I on the Philadelphia Art Museum steps on May 28, 2008. Together we travel blogged and podcasted at WeDontSpeaktheLanguage.com for a month while backpacking Europe.

After returning from backpacking Europe earlier this month, I shared some of the professional experience I got while blogging at WeDontSpeaktheLanguage.com.

My good buddy, travel partner and fellow aspiring new media journalist Sean Blanda beat me to a post on lessons learned, but I have some thoughts myself: on podcasting, travel blogging and exploring generally.

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Why I want a job: do you really want one too?

When unemployed, author grows beard and develops pirate tendancies.

When unemployed, author grows beard and develops pirate tendencies.

I probably could travel forever.

Traveling can be cheap. That’s something I relearned early on the European backpacking trip from which I just returned. I could freelance a bit, and continue out in the world.

But I’m not. I came home and am on the prowl for more permanent work. I still had money in my back account, places I wanted to see and people I wanted to meet. Why did I come home? Why are you working?

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Should an unemployed journalist have a business card?


I am looking for a job.

When I mentioned that yesterday to a neighbor, he asked for one of my business cards to pass off to a friend.

I don’t have one. I didn’t want to spend the money. I never knew what to write on one. Being young and transient, I feel like my information and location would change to quickly. …I think I’d feel uncomfortable slipping one to someone.

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Can Philadelphia retain its best college graduates?: media industry looks bleak


During recent weeks backpacking Europe, I have had a great deal of time to think about my future – mostly on long train rides between the great cities of Western history, Vienna and Berlin, Brussels and Prague. I want very badly the opportunity to write, to tell stories in a resurgent metropolis.

Right now, I am trying my very best to make that Philadelphia – the home of my alma mater, Temple University, from which I graduated in May.

Since the world seems to be in financial meltdown, it might seem silly for me to question the sluggish hiring of me and my peers, but I can’t help but wonder if Philadelphia is on the road to better retention of graduates from its many, varied and respected colleges and universities.

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Your best friend (online): how many social networking relationships make love?

You’re a member of a dozen or more social networking sites. Same goes for someone you’ve never met but know online, professionally or otherwise. When does that online relationship get weird?

I’ve never met Greg Linch.

He’s the editor at large for online and multimedia at The Miami Hurricane, the student newspaper pf the University of Miami. On my side of things, I’m fresh out of the setting of another large, celebrated college newspaper with a recent flurry of multimedia interest: The Temple News, of Temple University in big, beautiful Philadelphia.

So, in the small circles of young, Web interested journalists, Linch and I have professionally crossed paths. Things went and got serious when we started following each other on Twitter.

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Learn to e-mail better

How well do you e-mail?

A few weeks ago I came across a simple, intuitive but worthwhile post on Seth Godin’s blog – an e-mail checklist.

I send lots of e-mails. In searching for a new job, in looking for interviews, in sending pitches for freelance stories.

So, I am immediately incorporating a few of Godin’s points into my style and thought they might help you, too – regardless of profession. I have some thoughts myself.

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Freelance: Retired poet-priest in Irish Echo

My story on Philadelphia priest John McNamee in the Irish Echo on Oct. 8, 2008.

My story on Philadelphia priest John McNamee in the Irish Echo on Oct. 8, 2008.

This story appeared in the Oct. 8, 2008 edition of the Irish Echo, the country’s oldest Irish American newspaper.

PHILADELPHIA – One of the most celebrated Irish Catholic priests in the country has returned home.

After nearly 30 years serving his native Philadelphia archdiocese, author and poet John McNamee retired in June and retreated for six weeks to a friend’s house in Ireland. He returned home last week [Aug 30] and now is ready to decide what will be the next stage of his storied life. What that will entail even he doesn’t yet know.

“I am not going to put an agenda on myself,” McNamee, 75, said. After a lifetime wearing a priest’s collar, he walks a decidedly more secular path than the religious one he has come to know.

“I am anxious to breach those two worlds as best as I can,” he told the Irish Echo in a phone interview.

If the success of his writing career is any indication, he will.

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I heart John Baer: Move Pennsylvania Society weekend from NYC to Philly

Ed Rendell and others at 2006 Pennsylvania Society dinner in New York City.

Ed Rendell and others at 2006 Pennsylvania Society dinner in New York City.

One of the largest and, admittedly, one of the many embarrassments of old Philadelphia is that the annual Pennsylvania Society dinner is held in midtown Manhattan.

It seems like a suggestion that Pennsylvania’s largest city – the city of firsts, the workshop of the world, the first great city of the United States – isn’t good enough. Or as Fred Anton, head of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association, told eminent Daily News columnist John Baer, Philly isn’t “exotic” enough.  His recent most column lambasted the 109-year-old celebration:

Cancel next month’s Pennsylvania Society weekend in New York City, or curtail it, or work on moving it to its home state.

In the worst economy since the Great Depression, with 1.2 million jobs lost this year, with state unemployment at 5.7 percent, the highest rate since right after Gov. Rendell took office in ’03, with the city facing job cuts and a $1 billion shortfall, it just strikes me as a tad unseemly to, you know, party hearty. [Source]

But, this deal is even more twisted than even Baer acknowledges, though I would like to take this opportunity to point out that I was once in a group photo with him.

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Why this college graduate is choosing to stay in Philadelphia: should a graduate move on?

Standing on the famed steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in October 2005.

Standing on the famed steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in October 2005.

I was given an open invitation for an entry level job writing copy for CNN.com in Atlanta. The pay was bad, and the reporting probably rudimentary, but it was a good name, a position with a clear line of succession and a straight path to New York or Los Angeles – the media markets in which professors and professionals tell young journalists we want to be. There the money is good and the reporting is top-level.

Instead, I am trying to get a job in Philadelphia – a city that has hated itself for at least the last half-century. Let me tell you why.

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Number of Views:2547