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Posts Tagged ‘No Train No Gain’

This continues my series on professional networking.

If you don’t think promotion should be part of journalism, I understand. I did little to nothing to promote myself or my work in the first 20-plus years of my career. And I had a good career: rewarding mid-level editor jobs and senior reporting jobs at metro newspapers, top editor of a smaller newspaper.

I can’t think of a single self-promotional thing I did for the first two decades of my career, unless you count some internal boasting in newsroom chit-chat or an occasional humble brag to make sure the boss knew my role in a story.

I didn’t do anything to actually promote myself (that I can recall) until 1997. And I think my career since has benefited greatly from self-promotion, and from overcoming a strong journalistic resistance to promotion.

I decided in 1997 that I wanted to train journalists and get paid for doing so. I thought I had something to teach journalists after all those years of work, and I thought I would like training, and I could use the money. And no one would know that I was available to do training if I didn’t promote myself.

So I developed my first website, promoting my training services and posting workshop handouts online. I was taking a web design class under Father Don Doll at Creighton University, and my website was all about me and my training services.

York News Times logoBut that was early in the history of the web and well before Google, so I also developed an amateurish flier promoting my services (design was never a strong suit of mine). I mailed that flier to newsrooms and press associations around the Midwest and landed three training gigs: with the York News-Times (a Nebraska daily not to be confused with the New York Times), the North Dakota Newspaper Association and the Minot Daily News. Since I was a former Minot editor and well known to the folks at NDNA, those gigs came through a mix of networking and promotion. But I didn’t know anyone at York, and that first training gig came from the amateurish flier. (more…)

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sullydish

Andrew Sullivan’s note telling readers he plans to stop blogging.

Occasionally I wonder whether I blog too much and consider whether I should stop, cut back or change directions.

I identified with some of the things that Andrew Sullivan said when announced this week that he will stop blogging. Even as a sideline venture, as my blog has always been, a blog keeps whispering “feed me” in your ear. You read or hear things and start thinking about blogging about them, even if you only actually blog about a small minority of them. If you care about a blog, it becomes demanding or time-consuming. If becomes a big part of your life, and sometimes you need to make changes in your life.

Sullivan wrote:

I want to read again, slowly, carefully. I want to absorb a difficult book and walk around in my own thoughts with it for a while. I want to have an idea and let it slowly take shape, rather than be instantly blogged.

He posted that on Wednesday. I feel like a slacker for waiting till Saturday to blog about it. So many people have already weighed in:

Sullivan’s reasons for deciding to stop blogging are deeply personal, related to his health and feelings about how he wants to spend his time and about feeding the beast that a blog can become (he started charging for The Dish two years ago, which no doubt raises the pressure for feeding the beast; my blog is free).

Each blogger’s situation is different by many factors: what you have to say; your relationship with the people who respond to your blog; how unique or important you think a particular post may be; how frequently you want or need to blog; whether you blog for pay, passion or both; whether and how the blog is advancing your career; other things going on with your life, such as jobs, health and family.

I have kept blogging through several career and personal turns because I always felt like I had something to say and I have enjoyed my relationships with people in the blog comments, on social media and in person who appreciate my blog (including many who disagree on some points). And the blog has advanced my career and raised my profile within journalism. (more…)

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As I noted earlier today, Bill Bradley helped me find archives of No Train, No Gain at the Internet Archive. So over the next few weeks, I will be posting my old contributions to NTNG, so I’ll have them in the archive here. I will try to place each piece in context, but won’t take a lot of time to update them. I link better now than I did then, but I won’t add a lot of links. I will do minimal updating. If you subscribe to my blog by email or RSS, I warn you that you’ll be seeing a lot of old stuff posted for a while.

Also, I am working with two journalism organizations that are interested in hosting the NTNG archives. I will blog more about those plans when we have worked out more details.

This was the last entry in my Training Tracks blog for NTNG before I moved that blog to the American Press Institute, when I started working there. This posted on NTNG on April 11, 2005. By the way, I’m working with Poynter now on plans to update Beat Basics and Beyond, the online course discussed here.

I’ve presented something over 250 workshops in person, able to look around the room, make eye contact with participants and engage them in discussions. I worry sometimes that my confidence in this kind of training could give way to complacency. I have no such worry about e-learning.

My first foray into interactive e-learning was the development of “Beat Basics and Beyond” for the Poynter Institute’s News University, a project funded by the Knight Foundation. (more…)

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Some archives of No Train, No Gain are available through the Internet Archive.

Thanks to Bill Bradley of Philadelphia, who pointed this out in a comment on my earlier blog post about the demise of NTNG, a resource for newsroom training materials, for which I volunteered for several years.

I haven’t explored it fully, but it doesn’t appear that all of the pages have been archived. But I am pleased to see that some have been. Some of my old workshop handouts I have found (most probably in need of updating): (more…)

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Reviewing 2010 on this blog:

My job change to TBD was a major theme of the year here. My most-popular post of 2010 shared tips on job-hunting, from my own experience finding a new job and hiring the community engagement staff at TBD. That’s my second most-read post in two-plus years writing this blog. Other posts among the year’s leaders dealt with my job change as well: Pursuing a new opportunity in Washington, Wanted: vision for community engagement and Our community engagement team is taking shape. Another post relating to the job change took a longer view, discussing how I have twice redirected and rejuvenated my career. I also told how TBD’s launch prompted my first foray into public relations and brought back memories of an earlier launch. I explained why we need a director of community engagement, even though engagement should be everyone’s job. I have blogged as well for TBD, writing about our commitment to accuracy and transparency, and about why and how we chose TBD as our name. (more…)

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I hope this blog post is premature. I would love to retract it tomorrow as an error, but it appears to me that No Train, No Gain is dead. The website launched 10 years ago, so it lived a long life in Internet years. But I mourn nonetheless.

I got involved in newsroom training as a sidelight in 1997, and after I added it to my official duties with a 1998 move to the Des Moines Register, I joined a listserv for newsroom trainers, Newscoach. The group, which never formed an official association, met annually at the old West Coast office of the Freedom Forum in San Francisco, under the leadership of the late Bev Kees. I can’t remember if I was aware of the 1999 conference. I very much wanted to attend the 2000 conference, but it met just as I was changing jobs from the Register to the Omaha World-Herald. While I negotiated for the World-Herald to send me to the conferences every other year, I couldn’t go that first year, because the conference fell right before I moved. (more…)

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I knew a lot about journalism in 1997. I was 26 years into an exciting career, enjoying a rewarding run as a reporter following success as an editor. But I’ve redirected and rejuvenated my career twice since then. Those efforts led me to opportunities and success I could not have imagined 13 years ago.

From 1997 to 2005, I consciously developed my skills, experience, connections and reputation in the field of journalism training, eventually getting a full-time job in the field. I was always interested in innovation and took steps in the mid-1990s to learn digital skills. Starting in 2006, I made digital innovation my primary pursuit and have consciously developed my digital skills, experience, connections and reputation (I still have a lot that I need to do). That pursuit led to two new jobs, first as editor of The Gazette and gazetteonline and now I’ve left the newspaper business to join a digital local news operation in the Washington metro area. (more…)

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