Newspapers should make more money with their brand

I’m betting that a revenue model for newspapers will develop in the coming years -whether it be as a nonprofit or whether online advertising can be revolutionized. Many general interest newspapers will be lost, but a tier will remain for at least some time, I think.

But, gosh, I wish more newspapers would make the most of these uncertain times. No newspaper do I write more often about, criticize or compliment more, than the Philadelphia Inquirer – because it’s big, historic, once among the world’s best, my hometown paper and the only one for which I ever personally had a subscription.

I always say, though, that these lessons can go for all newspapers.

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Why I won't contribute to the Huffington Post and you shouldn't either

I recently finished a story on spec and had my editor balk at the story.

The general rule is freelancers shouldn’t write without a promise of pay, but it was a story I didn’t find particularly challenging, did find interesting and was for a new publication, some reasons that motivate me to take a chance. So, I was more – although perhaps wrongly – accepting of the demand that I write first before I elicited an agreement.

In telling my sources that I was shopping new homes for the story, I got a suggestion from one source, E. Jean Carrol, the venerable Elle magazine advice columnist.

“Send it to Huffington,” she offered, but, “They don’t pay.  It is ALL glory!”

For now, I’m choosing to sit on the story — one in a frustratingly growing class of stories I’ve written and then eaten. Huffington Post, the uproariously popular liberal news and opinion blog, is not getting my work, and it shouldn’t get yours.

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How to start a freelance writing career without writing samples

Suppose you’ve started a career in another field and look back somehow longingly on the print industry.

You want to freelance on the side, make some cash and rekindle the love with the sight of your byline by slumming it in the currently self-destructing print industry. But, of course, if you have any writing samples or clips they’re outdated, if not lost, irrelevant or, dare I say, embarrassing.

That doesn’t mean you can’t begin a freelance writing career today.

Get online, start small, aim big and try not to take any work from me, OK?

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The cost of the phone interview for freelance journalsits: how do you charge, what do you use?

Updated: 3/9/09 at 8:56 p.m.

Newspapers and many magazines don’t cover freelance expenses, like telephone calls.

What gives? Doing some quick math – and the 15 cents per minute phone call I use from my cell-phone plan to charge those publications that do accept my charges – I expect to spend at the very least more than one hour on the phone per story. Yeah, that’s about $10.

Ten bucks isn’t a chunk of change in the eyes of even the most crippled newspaper, but that does mean I spent more than $100 in additional phone charges last month.

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Seven habits of highly effective freelance journalists

I have difficulty finding time to relax, freelancer Chris Hardwick says. (Photo by Sian Kennedy)
"I'll be honest: I have difficulty finding time to relax", freelancer Chris Hardwick says. (Photo by Sian Kennedy)

Chris Hardwick, a freelancer and contributor to Wired magazine, rocked out two popular self-help, time-management guides – the Four Hour Work Week and Never Check Your E-mail in the Morning – and broke it down for the average freelance journalist or writer.

Well, as a freelancer myself, I am often looking for better methods to save time and accomplish more. So, when I saw another noted self-help guide, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, was giving away a free audio-book, I nabbed it and put it on my Zune.

I thought I could break down Stephen R. W. Covey’s 1988 cult hit for you freelancers out there.

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How valuable are your skills?: newspapers weren't ready for their deserted island

You ever wonder just how valuable your skills are?

So much of what we do and learn is designed for something we manufactured and to which we subscribe ourselves.

If you were deserted on an island, what would your professional skills or personal interests do for your survival?

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Newspapers like the Philadelphia Inquirer need an attitude

It’s the attitudes that got them into this mess – newspaper executives thinking the party would never stop, but newspapers need to combine an appreciation and interest in learning the future with the confidence of being the most powerful news sources in the world.

Too many just seem to be running scared.

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Twitter, blog, new media, Twitter, blog, blog

Gosh, I do hate the buzz words that new media terms have become.

A friend shared a post with an interesting graf:

Journalists are obsessed with Twitter. Obsessed. They use it, talk about it, analyze it, deconstruct it, reconstruct it, love it, hate it, capitalize on it, become experts on it, monetize it, argue about it, and become micro-famous on it. They are mesmerized with what it is and they are as giddy as Tom Cruise on Oprah just thinking about what it could be. [Source]

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Community journalism: What's the job and what's your life

I live in Frankford, an old neighborhood in lower Northeast Philadelphia. Community journalism – the important and perhaps least paying element of the craft – is something I cherish and, as I understand it, begins, funny enough, in your own community.

So when I moved here back in November, I was excited to discover and learn and experience a new neighborhood. My interests reached beyond the professional, I wanted to help and learn and develop with Frankford, like I would wherever I lived. So, I reached out to my legislators – State Rep. Tony Payton and Councilwoman Maria Sanchez. I went to the first neighborhood meeting I found and began what I hope will be a monthly habit, sitting in on the Frankford Civic Association meeting earlier this month.

As life will do, I learned plenty doing just that, a lesson I think every journalist, freelance or otherwise, should recognize.

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