Where USF faculty, students and graduates are invited to talk about journalism and its problems and opportunities. This blog is not affiliated with the University of San Francisco, nor is the university responsible for any of the opinions expressed herein -- though it is certainly responsible for the people who entertain those opinions, having educated them. They make us proud.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Best News I've Heard Today

For the essays in Journalism Ethics, I require that the students interview at least three working journalists no matter what the topic. I like the students to compare the clear liquid of theory that I decant in the classroom to the murky water in which reporters and editors swim.

It works well. Some of the working journalists are surprisingly fine and pure. They are also in surprisingly responsive to the questing youth.

This today from young Jacob Marx:

By the way, it's scary how fast some of those chronicle guys reply to emails.

Goodonya, Chronicle reporters. Good on you.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Take This Job and Get It

This is from Myra Sandoval who went from city magazines to copywriting for the Gap and thought it a wise move. Now she’s moving to another job “under the Gap umbrella” …

Soo... was wondering if any of your students would be interested in an entry-level fashion copywriting job. The team is amazing and tons of fun to work with. Here's the job description: http://www.mediabistro.com/joblistings/jobview.asp?joid=54895&page=1

The position is such that you can get as much or as little as you want from it. If anyone is interested, tell them to email me. I'll pass them on to my director. Or, if they have any Q's, I'd be more than happy to answer them.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Does This Seem Fair?

Suggestions for emailing faculty asking for interviews

· My advice to faculty who ask me what form cooperation with student journalists should take is that they should refuse to answer your questions by email but should offer you the opportunity to talk with them face to face or by telephone.

· Therefore, my advice to you is always to begin by requesting a time when you may meet with them or telephone them. Offer to buy them coffee at Crossroads. Never behave as if you assume that an email exchange is sufficient. If that is the mode of communication they choose, so be it. But you always want to make human contact so that you can respond immediately to their responses to your questions.

· Always say something like, “Would tomorrow work or would sometime Monday or Tuesday be better?” That is, assume your source will talk with you and that all you are doing is negotiating when that conversation will occur.

· Always have questions! Don’t just say you want to talk without saying what you want to talk about. At this stage of your research, you should have a clear idea of where your story is going. That should make it possible for you in your email to pose 3-5 specific questions. For instance, you might say, “Dean X says USF students have gotten much better over the past five years. The Dean also says that teaching at USF has become much easier for faculty as a result. I’d like to talk with your for 15 minutes to get your opinion about those statements.” You will, of course, have a list of follow-up questions so that no matter what your source responds, you can move the interview forward.

· Among other things, you are trying to convince the faculty member you want to interview that you are working on a story idea that would be stimulating to discuss and that you have some fresh information that will make the conversation interesting to them.

· If they refuse to talk with you, email them back thanking them for considering your request and saying that in your story you will simply say that they “declined to comment.” Such a statement is permissible only if your faculty source understands exactly what your story is about and exactly what some of the questions you want to ask them are. Copy the email to me.

· Faculty are busy, and sometimes they do not have time for even a five-minute “walk and talk” conversation. However, speaking for myself, I usually do have the time – if I clearly understand the reason for the request and if the request is made in a respectful manner. If you behave in a professional manner with a clear notion of what specific information or insight you hope to gain from the interview, you need not feel apologetic or that you are abusing the student-faculty relationship. You owe us your courtesy and your patience and, I like to think, your gratitude. You are not automatically “entitled” to our attention on your demand, at your convenience. However, I think we owe you a reasonable fraction of our time even if we do not have you as a student in one of our classes.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Future Tense? Yeah, the Future Makes Me Tense

G. Bernard Sanchez writes:

hey doc

I just got out of a meeting. My editors were talking about the influx
of new student interns over the summer. One of the editors mentioned
how this is basically the last cycle where they'll be accepting kids
with only print media experience. From here on out, student interns
will need multi-media experience. One of out veteran reporters noted
if that was case, she'd never have been accepted, which is probably
true of at least 60 percent of new staffs.

Friday, April 20, 2007


Is anybody interested in interning for Computer Shopper this summer? If you are in the NYC area and you're looking for a part-time internship, let me know.

Unfortunately it is unpaid and credit only. But it's great for any student who is planning to be in the NYC area anyway and would like to get their foot in the magazine door.

Computer Shopper's College Buying Guide

We've just launched a new Web site for our upcoming special issue, the College Buying Guide. No, we're not giving you advice on how to purchase a college, but we offer reviews and tips on what types of tech gear you and your kids should buy before they head back to school.

Now, for the USF students (or any student) who's reading this, I'd love to know if this resource has any value. Or if you can suggest any ideas on what you would like to see or what we should be doing instead.

College Buying Guide

Friday, April 06, 2007

A Friday afternoon joke...

Q: What does a copy editor do when she's not feeling well?

A: Calls inn [sic].

From Defective Yeti

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Summer Internships

Media Studies Kate Elston has been offered a nice one with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, whose future is somewhat uncertain -- but that's a problem for later.

Kate says:

They hire 4 interns for a 10 week program. They assign us to an editor and a reporting team, and we report on stories all summer, from the small things to the big ones. We'll work 8 hour days, the hours ranging on what stories we cover when. They are very flexible and accomodating, so we will be able to go from department to department and try a bunch of different things.