On Tuesday in my News Reporting class, my professor brought in a panel of speakers to talk about the field, their careers, and what to do and not to do.
One of the panelists, Jen Sabella, who is the deputy editor and director of social media at DNAinfo
, kicked off the panel saying her number one goal is to make any story, no matter how boring of a topic, into an interesting piece.
She expanded on her advice to reporters, which is to never stop asking questions. As an editor she said that the best reporters ask as many questions as possible, and if they do miss something, they always have the follow-up contact information available. In regards to pitching, she emphasized that you have to know your audience and know the style of the company you’re pitching to. “Do your homework. See what the site publishes. Lurk through the navigation,” she said.
Another panelist, Julie DiCaro, a freelance writer and 670 the Score
anchor, talked about how social media was her saving grace. “If you want to be a journalist, just start writing. If you want to be in radio, start a podcast. If you want to be in TV, start a YouTube channel” she said.
After being a lawyer for 15 years, DiCaro broke into journalism after blogging for years and building up a following on social media. “One of the best things law school ever did for me was teach me how to build a case because that’s exactly what you have to do [in this field]. People will come at you at social media about everything you say”
Alongside Sabella and DiCaro were Kathy Chaney, Ebony Print Managing Editor, Bettina Chang, Chicago Magazine web editor and cofounder of the nonprofit organization City Bureau, Investigative Reporter Maria Zamudio, and Andrea Watson, neighborhood reporter at DNAinfo.
Each panelist brought a unique and informative perspective to the table, and the remaining time was filled up discussing boundaries on social media, fact checking, interview skills, internships, and building connections. I learned so much!
One of the most memorable quotes was “Generosity is currency. You share other people's work and they share yours...helping people that way will help you 1000 fold. Stay in touch with your classmates, even if it’s just on twitter. Lean on each other and rely on each other,” Julie said.