Self-promotion in a world of self-promoters

Are you ready to be your biggest fan?

If you want to succeed in media or any other venue where your name is your brand – comedy, acting and more – then you better be ready. Retain that humility in person-to-person interaction, but forget about it when you near the professional realm.

In the spring, I was proud to be named among the 100 most promising young journalists in the country by UWire – how thorough the list was and whether I truly deserved the honor are for another discussion entirely.

Continue reading Self-promotion in a world of self-promoters

Someone who doesn't know me actually used my reporting

Ostensibly, journalists write for others.

So I get really excited when readers respond to what I write. That can go further when someone uses my reporting for broader purposes. A common rag on newspapers and most media is that their reporting isn’t in-depth enough. Of course, the response is that one can’t track trends without daily coverage.

It feels great to be reminded that that isn’t a lie.

Continue reading Someone who doesn't know me actually used my reporting

CNN.com nothing without me, follows my story

I had a cover story on Tuesday’s edition of the Patriot-News about a Muslim airline pilot who says he was unfairly placed on a federal watch list, costing him his job.

Yesterday, CNN.com picked up on the story – even featured it on the front of its Web site, as seen above – without any love for your boy Chris Wink, or even the Patriot-News. What gives?

Academic honors during my Temple University career

Relevant academic honors

  • Honors Thesis, Two-Party Politics in Philadelphia, April 2008
  • Named among Top 100 young journalists in the country, UWire, May 2008
  • Commencement Speaker, Temple University’s 121st graduation, May 2008
  • First Place, Collegiate Keystone Press Award for Personality Profile, April 2008
  • Diamond Award, Temple University recognition for leadership, May 2008
  • Pi Sigma Alpha, political science honor society Delta Rho chapter, May 2008
  • Marks and Emma Kohn Memorial Award for excellence in social sciences, April 2008
  • Ted Von Ziekursch Scholarship for journalistic achievement, April 2008
  • Honors Department, Temple University entrant, July 2006
  • Diamond Award, Temple University recognition for student journalism, May 2006
  • Ralph Vigoda Collegiate Journalism Award, May 2006
  • First Place, Collegiate Keystone Press Award for Spot News, April 2006
  • Political Science Honors Department, Temple University entrant, April 2006

Bill’s Graduation Lessons (Newsweek submission: 6/9/08)

By Christopher Wink | June 9, 2008 | Newsweek submission

Bill Cosby told me I shouldn’t worry. No one was going to remember anything I said anyway.

In May, I graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia and was honored to address my peers and their families as our student commencement speaker. For my portion, I urged Temple graduates of 2008, in addition to those of the past and those yet to come, to stand by our obligation to leveraging our intellectual capital in the communities that surround the university’s Main Campus in central North Philadelphia.

Temple’s gift is that it is surrounded by neighborhoods that aren’t as near to any other university as large and as influential. I hope my fellow graduates and I remember and forever appreciate that, I said.

Cosby – the seminal 20th-century entertainment icon turned controversial race commentator – addressed my fellow graduates after I did.

“I told Wink,” Cosby said to nearly 10,000 new-alumni and family members. “Wink, don’t give that speech. Nobody’s going to remember a thing you said, Wink.”

He told me something similar before we went on.

“Nobody will even be listening,” he assured me.

Of course, despite what I might want to think, the Cos knew what he was saying.

Each May universities parade big name celebrities, politicians and intellectuals through their graduations to get attention, to display prestige and, perhaps, to make a meaningful experience a memorable day. But we mostly forget who spoke at graduations of the past. These speeches have become routine and predictable. I am not foolish enough to think my seven minutes were anything anyone will remember for very long, if anyone was listening at all. Graduations are full of children and grandparents, lots of people who are there for one face of thousands, not the speeches, not the pomp, not the circumstance. The words of this 22-year-old have likely already been completely forgotten by most.

Cosby’s address though was something different for my graduating class.

Bill Cosby was raised in Philadelphia and went to Temple. He is among our best known alumni and a member of our Board of Trustees. What’s more, rather than trot our celebrities or politicians, Cosby was the lone speaker at Temple’s commencements throughout the 1990s through 2003.

But he hadn’t spoken at a university-wide event since August 2004, when he welcomed the Class of 2008 – my class – by promising to be at our graduation four years later if we were there. In the last weeks of my college career, The Temple News, the university’s student newspaper, wrote editorials calling on Cosby to be true to his word. But his publicist didn’t call back, and Temple’s administration had “no official stance.”

Some said the relationship started to fracture after January 2004 allegations that he sexually assaulted a former Temple employee. Some said Cosby’s book tour that featured him critiquing elements of black America didn’t help.

But he showed up, and then he walked into the Liacouras Center – with me at his side – and it sounded like a rock concert – not too bad for a 70-year-old (July 12, 1937). Young faces of every color and background – the hallmark of the self-labeled ‘diversity university’ – dressed in black gowns, draped over each other to stick out digital cameras and cell phones. Bill Cosby and I, preceded and followed by university dignitaries, split the graduates down the middle of our college’s basketball court, thousands of mothers and fathers and aunts and uncles and sisters and brothers and cousins and friends applauding from their feet.

Temple’s graduations are not known to be reserved affairs.

“They weren’t cheering for you,” he would later tell me.

Of those pictures that so many screaming Temple graduates accidentally took of me when Cosby strode too quickly, the comedian had a similarly cutting remark that still makes me laugh.

“They’ll crop you out by tomorrow,” he promised me.

After I spoke, University President Ann Weaver Hart introduced Dr. William H. Cosby. The crowd again rang out, like we were at one of his comedy shows, not our own graduation.

“Thank God nobody has yet asked you to follow your dream,” Cosby said. “Because you never really slept that well so that you could dream.”

And we laughed.

“You have no clear idea what is forward,” he said of our futures. He gestured up to the families crowded on the second level of our basketball arena. “Only the people sitting up here have any idea where you should go and what you should be.”

And we cheered.

Temple is a big-name, professional research institution like many others in this country. In many ways, the college experience has merged into a single story. Leave home. Drink beer. Study. Frisbee. Study. Throw your cap in the air to the tune of the same speech. One from the biggest name a university can bring in, or the most sentimental story that can be told or the advice from some 22-year-old who is too young to know much of anything.

No one from Temple’s Class of 2008 will remember my speech, but I suspect they will remember Bill Cosby. I know I will.

As submitted to Newsweek magazine’s ‘My Turn’ column in June 2008.

UWire 100: I'm on it

UWIRE REALIZED PEOPLE LOVE lists.

The 14-year-old college journalism association spent the past few months compiling their inaugural list of what they’re calling the UWire 100 – the 100 top, most promising college journalists in the country. It’s a first go of it, so it is surely not comprehensive, but an honor nonetheless. See the list here.

It also seems strange to be called a top college journalist even though I graduated on Thursday.

Here’s my page.

I am also happy to report that my good friend and fellow Temple alumnus Sean Blanda made the list. See his page here.

Check out coverage of the list by CBS News here, by CNN here, by Editor and Publisher here, by the Chronicle of Higher Education here, and by Gawker here.

Also, one of the other young journalists with whom I will be working this summer in Harrisburg made the list, David Spett of Northeastern Northwestern’s celebrated Medill School of Journalism.

You have been incorrectly honored

acceptingaward.jpgNo, I will not be inducted into the Chi Alpha Epsilon Honor Society next month.

Really, I wouldn’t even mention it if it wasn’t hilarious.

I received an email requesting I confirm that I would attend a ceremony for a select group of Temple University students to be brought into a group of honor. Had I applied for XAE? Had I heard of XAE? Well, no.

The vanity of the young.

Still, the end of the year, even in a university setting, comes with a flurry of awards, honors, acceptances and, for me, lots of rejection. So, I didn’t think twice about calling to confirm that I would come. The woman with whom I spoke seemed confused, couldn’t find my name, but assumed she didn’t have an updated list. She wrote my name down, my guest’s name, and wished me well. The next day I got an email again requesting I confirm my coming. Well, this only made me certain I was the man they wanted. Then I got another of the same request: confirm your coming! Wow, they really wanted me. So I emailed that woman, eager to humbly confirm my coming to this fine honor. She quickly responded to the contrary.

Please accept my deepest apologies for the invitations to the XAE induction ceremony that have been repeatedly sent to you. Your email address is only one letter off from the intended recipient. We have corrected the error and you will not be bothered with confusing emails like these again.”

Continue reading You have been incorrectly honored

First place Keystone Press Award

christopher-wink-keystone-award-2006.jpg

The winners of the Keystone Press Awards for 2007 were announced recently, both professional, academic and collegiate levels. The prizes are awarded by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.

I will be sharing first place in the personality profile category with Tyson McCloud for a feature we wrote for The Temple News on a Temple University alumni who found and lost love in World War II. There are 16 categories in the collegiate level, and nine staff members of The Temple News were recognized in seven different categories. Last year’s award winners.

(Above photograph depicts me with a 2006 Keystone Press Award for a first place standing from news coverage covering a SEPTA strike in 2005. I shared that finish with others.)