Google Chrome: The Only Browser You’ll Ever Need

by Victoria Reitano

Ok, maybe not the only browser, but pretty close! I started using Chrome as a way to be more productive about two years ago and I haven’t looked back.

Google Chrome is a free browser for Mac and Windows operating systems that is created by Google. Since it is a Google product, it plays nicely with all Google tools (gmail, hangouts, Google+, drive) and also has a variety of extensions that will help you be more productive.

 To start, download Chrome to your desktop and on all your devices. Then, login with your Google account, on all devices.

Now the fun begins. Download all of your favorite extensions (Pocket, Pinterest, BufferApp and After the Deadline are a few of my favorites). Then, import all of your bookmarks from whatever other browser you were using.

You can create different folders for different activities (work, home, freelancing, blogs I like, recipes, etc) and then organize all of your favorite sites. The best thing about Chrome is that, if you download and login on your devices, all of these bookmarks will be available on every device.

 The truly incredible thing about Chrome is that if you want a certain tab from another device, it’s here as well!

 This is great if you use more than one device at the office, if you work out in the field often or if your office is spread out.

Victoria Reitano is a Digital Producer with The Meredith Vieira Show, launching in September. She also serves as the Co-Chair for The Society of Professional Journalist’s Generation J committee. In the past, she served as a Digital Producer with “bethenny” and “LIVE with Kelly and Michael.” She also served as a Local Editor for Patch.com and her work has been published in USAToday, The Staten Island Advance and ThisOldHouse.com. She loves dogs, SoulCycle, Yoga and New York City. You can connect with her on Twitter, @giornalista515.

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Three Web Design Resources Every New Grad Should Play With

by Guest Blogger Maria Murriel
What most surprises me about working with journalism students — I’m an alumni mentor with my local chapter — is that students still lack an established digital curriculum.
A digital production class when I was in school consisted of some video production and basic blogging. And now that I’m a web editor I find myself needing working knowledge of different programming languages and design tools.
So here’s what I tell students getting ready to graduate: Get yourself some training, in school or out. (As this issue of Quill says, it’s time you learned to code.) And because it’s time-intensive to learn to code, I recommend these resources:
 
Code Academy: This is the simplest way to learn code. And the site offers different languages! Sign up and work through this one on your own time. If you find a Hacks/Hackers group in your area, its members will be great resources for any questions you might have. For web journalists, HTML might be the priority.
For Journalism: Here you’ll find tutorials for Javascript, responsive design, data viz and more — all crafted specific for journalists. The courses are not free, but members of the Online News Association can get subscriptions.
W3schools: I use this tool at work when I need to figure out how to write code that will allow data visualizations or special designs/layouts to work with my public radio station’s limited CMS. It’s helpful for people who aren’t too familiar with writing CSS or HTML.
The best part of these resources is their time flexibility. Even new journalists who aren’t specifically working in the digital field will need some programming knowledge. It might sound daunting — until your first Code Academy lesson.

Maria Murriel is the digital editor at WLRN, South Florida’s public radio station. She spends all day trying to find the best ways to display interactive content online, and tweets about craft beer at @mariamurriel.

 

 

 

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6 Things to Bring to an Interview (and 6 Things to Hide)

Quill-2011Journalists should always be prepared. That’s why it’s crucial that you bring these six items to every interview. If you forget something, your interviewer (most likely an editor) may think you’re a space cadet—not a good first impression!

Here’s what to bring:
1. Copies of your resume: Bring at least three—one for the interviewer, one for you to reference and an extra. If you know you’re meeting with multiple people, print several more. Make sure the copies are clean and crisp. Carry them in a folder or professional portfolio.

2. Notepad: Journalists always carry notepads, so look the part. Plus, you may need to jot down a few quick notes like names or details about benefits.

3. Pen: A journalist without a pen is an abomination. Carry two in case one runs out.

4. Portfolio of work/Demo reel: Most tech-savvy journalists showcase their published articles on portfolio websites; however, it’s still important to bring a book of clips that the interviewer can easily thumb through. Make sure the portfolio is professional and showcases your work in a clean, easy-to-read way. If you have an iPad or tablet, bring it so you can quickly show off your portfolio website and/or demo reel, too, if needed. Remember, some interviews take place in conference rooms where computers aren’t readily available.

5. Business cards: Give one to your interviewer. Your card will remind him or her of your interview and (hopefully) your stellar skills.

6. References: Interviewers rarely ask for a sheet of references. But if you have to fill out an application for human resources, you often need to fill in references with phone numbers and email addresses. Have them on hand just in case.

6 Things to Hide During an Interview
At an interview, you want to make the best impression possible. That’s why you should never show any of these items while meeting with a potential employer. If you have them with you, keep them hidden in your purse or business bag.

1. Food: Never eat during an interview, unless your interviewer invites you to share a meal or a snack. If you eat beforehand, ALWAYS check your teeth for lodged food.

2. Coffee or any kind of beverage: Always finish and toss your Starbucks coffee before you enter an interview. If you carry a water bottle, keep it hidden away. If the interviewer offers you a beverage, it’s fine to accept. (Politely decline alcoholic beverages, though!)

3. Cell phone: You may be tempted to check emails or Tweet during your meeting, but that’s simply rude. Before your interview, silence your phone or turn it off, then tuck it away in your purse or pocket.

4. Gum: Always spit out gum (discretely, of course) before entering an interview. I’ve made this mistake before, but I pushed the gum into the back of my cheek with my tongue so I wouldn’t chomp like a cow as I talked.

5. Chipped nail polish: Ladies, it’s better to have clean, bare nails than chipped nail polish. Chipped polish, as well as wild nail designs, look unprofessional and careless in an interview. Same goes for your toes. If you can’t get a quick pedicure before your meeting, wear closed-toe shoes. I recommend wearing closed-toe shoes anyway, although some peep-toe shoes can look professional, too. Guys, make sure to trim and clean your nails.

6. Too much skin: Beware of low-cut blouses, bare arms and mini skirts. Always wear a professional jacket, even if it’s 90 degrees out. If it’s summer, ladies, bare legs are fine. In fall, winter and early spring, I always opt for black opaque tights. Sheer hose, whether nude or black, can look very dated. And guys, don’t go sockless!

A few more tips for making a good first impression…

6 Things to do to Look Good for an Interview
1. Get a haircut and/or touch up your roots
2. Groom facial hair (guys AND gals)
3. Shine your shoes
4. Dry clean and/or iron your interview clothes
5. Get plenty of sleep the night before
6. That morning, depuff under-eye bags with an ice pack

Do you have any interview tips to add to these lists? If so, let us know!

Jennifer Nicole Sullivan is the vintage fashion writer/editor at About.com and a contributing writer at Newport Mercury. Previously, she was a copywriter at Real Simple magazine and a features reporter at Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Jennifer is based in NYC, but she’s still a Dallas girl! Connect with her on Twitter @trendyjenny or learn more at jennifernicolesullivan.com.

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5 Tools to Increase Your Productivity

by Victoria Reitano

My favorite recommendation for people who feel they “don’t have enough time” is Laura Vanderkam’s “168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think”. This book helped me realize how much time I was wasting during the day and how I could spend that time doing things that would help my career.

Think of your career like your body – if you want to live a long and healthy life, you have to workout and eat the right foods, right? Same thing with your career. Now, I’m not saying feed your career a Kale-Celery-Apple Smoothie once a week, but I am saying that you need to think about how you continue to increase your marketability while working your current job and living your life.

The Daily Muse/Levo League

These aren’t “tools” as much as great sources of articles around succeeding in your career. Both The Daily Muse and Levo League have newsletters, Twitter feeds (and some pretty great Instagram feeds as well), Facebook pages and update their sites daily.

Google Chrome

I love Google Chrome because you can login with your Gmail and have access to all your Google products on all your devices. You can also share tabs between devices if you enable syncing. (Enable the syncing.)

Dropbox

Google Drive and Dropbox are, essentially, the same thing – they both hold docs, photos and other content in the “cloud” for you to access on different devices, but I think Dropbox has a cleaner interface. I started using it so much that I actually pay for it. This is something to evaluate as you move forward,  you may find that Drive may be enough for you.

Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, BufferApp

Automating your social media posts (not all of them, but some) definitely help you save time throughout the day. I even do this when I’m on vacation so my accounts don’t die (unless I take a self-imposed Digital Detox, like the one I wrote about in last month’s Quill. If you install the BufferApp extension on Chrome, you can actually save Tweets and share them later on via the extension.

Pocket

I like Pocket as a way to save articles to read later. The cool thing about this is that you can access them on any device AND you can read these articles without any ads. It’s a very quick and clean way to catch up on your digital reading during your commute or over breakfast with your tablet.

How do you stay productive and still live your life? Share your tips with me, #GenJ @Giornalista515.

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How pledge drives make me a better journalist

by Cassidy Herrington

The first day of spring is upon us. For those of us who work in public media, the budding tulips and pansies indicate the approach of the Spring Pledge Drive.
For the folks who may not know, it’s the dreaded marathon week when employees go on air and coax listeners or viewers into forking over money to support the station. Sounds simple, but it’s a feat that requires endurance, improvisation and a little insanity. And I love it.
For one, I rarely get to broadcast my opinions. I say rarely, because on occasion, I’ll tell listeners how I like my coffee or what album I’m devouring that day. But during pledge drive, for hours on end, I get to tell the audience why I love journalism and public media.
This soapbox moment is more than a selfish chore. When I consider the responsibilities I have to the community that supports me, I am humbled and reminded of why I do my job. My paycheck comes from listeners who appreciate the work I do and who realize the community needs someone checking on local government, economics and education – especially during a time when other media outlets are scaling back their efforts.
Like many journalists, I cringe at the words “business model,” but for me, the public media model works. It removes the obligations my outlet has to advertising or corporate interests, and instead, allows me to focus directly on my relationship with listeners.
As for the insanity, pledge drive is like Crossfit for journalists – especially on the last day of the drive when your circadian rhythm is obliterated. You’re deprived of sleep and normal eating patterns. Fortunately, local organizations may recognize this and provide gallons of coffee and heaps of donuts to keep you from spewing dry Arbitron statistics over the airwaves.
These grueling hours of persevering through exhaustion are tough lessons in staying motivated, alert and lively. I have to stay focused, present and conscious that someone is listening to my tired voice. I usually don’t have to try very hard to be entertaining because the combination of sleep deprivation and sugar overload usually shift me into autopilot.
When the Spring Pledge Drive is over, which means the fundraising goals are met, I return to work exhausted but re-invigorated. Once again, the desire for quality local, journalism prevailed over notions that journalism is dying. I am able to go back to my primary duty, reporting, with the uplifting knowledge that my work is valued and desired.
And finally, I can take a moment to stop and appreciate the budding spring blossoms.

Cass Herrington is the host of  WNIN’s All Things Considered and The Trend. Follow her on Twitter @CassHerrington.

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Top 4 Reasons to Attend your SPJ spring regional conference

The Excellence in Journalism convention is a few short months away, but SPJers don’t have to wait until September for a professional development fix.

SPJ’s regional conferences begin this month across the country. These events give news professionals opportunities to network and develop their skills.

Here are four reasons you should consider attending your regional conference.

4. Traveling to a different part of the region: Sometimes it’s good to get out of your comfort zone, and your hometown. Regional conferences let you travel to a new area and explore a different city.

3. Network with other journalism professionals: This career can be lonely sometimes. We work strange hours and work is on our minds 24 hours a day. Interacting with others who face the same challenges and learning from them can be a great invigorator.

2. Awards: Each regional conference has an awards ceremony where SPJ celebrates the best in student journalism. This is an opportunity for professionals to encourage up-in-coming journalism stars.

1. Conferences are fun: Bottom line, SPJ spring regional conferences are a blast. You get to meet new friends, bolster your journalism skills and explore a different part of the country.

For information on your regional conference, visit the SPJ website.

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5 Spring Cleaning Tips for Journalists

Get Organized Photo for SPJ Gen J by Jennifer Nicole SullivanEven though it’s a crisp 34 degrees right now in New York City, I’ve caught the spring cleaning bug. While March came in like a lamb (in NYC, at least), my desk looked like a lion came out and destroyed it. I’m a freelance writer, so my home “office” in my studio apartment had become a repository for library books, chip crumbs and New York Fashion Week freebies (like issues of WWD and a Desigual laptop case). So I tapped into my Real Simple magazine roots and cleaned, filed and purged.

Every journalist could benefit from a desk cleaning every now and then to find things faster, like notes or a source’s business card, and to keep up with their busy schedules. Here are five things I did last week to streamline my desk (and productivity!) that you can try, too.

1. Hang a dry-erase board: I popped a small one on my filing cabinet next to my desk and wrote out all of my assignments and deadlines so that it’s easy to see at a glance. Plus, I can erase the stuff I’ve finished, and that always feels good! It’s truly improved my workflow.

2. Organize magazines and newspapers: I’m still a paper fiend so I like to hang on to an array of magazines and newspapers for future reference. I tossed several mags from 2012 to free up some space. Then I pulled out some dusty magazine holders, filled them with recent issues of Allure and SPJ’s Qull magazine and lined them neatly in my windowsill (precious space I haven’t used until now).

3. Designate a “story idea” notebook: I always have story ideas, but they get lost in my head or on crumpled napkins. Now that I have one notebook dedicated to story ideas and pitches, I think I’ll be able to pitch ideas more frequently.

4. Think vertical: I was super annoyed by the stuff surrounding my desk chair. So I stored some of it on top of my bookshelf, like a shoebox full of ticket stubs and receipts from last year’s European vacation and a vintage Schiaparelli hatbox. Using vertical storage space can help keep your desk, and floor, junk free.

5. Create an inbox: Press releases, notes and pamphlets can pile up fast. Designate an inbox on your desk for papers or business cards that you need to reference soon. When you’re finished with items, be sure to file them away so that your inbox doesn’t become a catchall.

My organized desk feels so good. At the end of each day, I make sure to straighten it so it’s clean for the next day. Now I hope it stays that way!

Do you have a great organization system that helps you be a better journalist? If so, let us know!

Jennifer Nicole Sullivan is the vintage fashion writer/editor at About.com and a contributing writer at Newport Mercury. Previously, she was a copywriter at Real Simple magazine and a features reporter at Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Jennifer is based in NYC, but she’s still a Dallas girl! Connect with her on Twitter @trendyjenny or learn more at jennifernicolesullivan.com.

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The journo’s workout plan

by Cassidy Herrington

The textbook qualities of a successful journalist we’re often told are the obvious ones: curious, independent and determined, to name a few.

But a few underlying health-related attributes make those fundamental qualities possible. A journalist needs to be agile, energetic and responsive – sounds a bit like a cunning Olympic speed skater, right?

Before I started my current job as a full-time reporter, I was freelancing and teaching Pilates classes. I lived and worked in stretchy yoga pants. My routine was effortlessly active and balanced.

One month into my new job, I started to notice some changes to my health, energy and well-being. My shoulders began to round slightly forward in a seemingly perpetual state of on-deadline-typing posture. My energy levels tanked throughout the day. I felt I needed to wheel around an IV bag, swollen with double-brewed espresso, to keep me buzzing. I lay in bed at night staring at the ceiling, while my mind hummed with Tweets, headlines and assignments.

I was fully immersed (or so I thought) in the work I most enjoy, but it was costing me my vitality.

So I laid down the law, and made my health a priority. While this may seem selfish (okay, let’s be honest, it is), my productivity soared. I was promoted during my fourth month, and my job description subsequently doubled.

With a sturdy health-first infrastructure in place, I manage to stay calm and resolute.

Here are a few changes I’ve woven into my routine that keep me alert, poised and relaxed – even under unnerving pressure or deadlines.

  • Protein-dense snacks. I keep beef jerky and almonds in my desk drawer. Protein doesn’t cause sudden drops in blood sugar, and it keeps the body satiated longer than a carb-rich granola bar. You can thank me the next time you have to cover a breaking story around dinnertime.
  • A large, refillable water bottle/jug/mason jar. Keyword: refillable. Keep rehydrating those cells all day long.
  • Swap out the office chair for a stability ball or standing desk. This is a constant reminder to engage your core (abdominals) and draw your shoulders back. Good posture is imperative. Proper alignment means optimal organ function, therefore, a better quality of life.
  • Take the stairs (obvious).
  • Bike to work. Some days, my morning commute may be the only chance I get to exercise, and it has become the highlight of my day. Plus, the optimal on-the-street perspective is an advantage for journalists: it could help you spot a story that might otherwise go unnoticed. For example: “Why so many potholes?,” Why is that home boarded up?”, or perhaps, “Was that the mayor who just passed me on a unicycle?”
  • Finally, set aside time to disconnect. Ten minutes is all you need. I recommend the app, Headspace, for a guided, end-of-the day meditation. You can also set up push notifications to remind you to take a deep breath, stay present and remember — life is good, as a journalist.

 

Cass Herrington is the host of  WNIN’s All Things Considered and The Trend. Follow her on Twitter @CassHerrington.

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“WEATHER, YOU LOVE IT OR HATE IT… IT’S PART OF THE JOB”

by Kristyn Caddell

You know the days when it was hardly windy, but there was a chance of a tropical storm and you grabbed your “wind-o-meter” just to tell the viewers  the wind was coming at you at about 5mph.  Which is clearly no reason for concern.  Or how about  those reporters who are actually in real elements  hoping to be tossed around by mother nature so they might get a good clip for a resume reel.  We’ve all seen it and many of us (myself included) have done it.  And in many cases, you don’t have a choice it’s what your bosses want.

And, then there’s the people who aren’t in the business who watch from a distance and offer criticism.  Who will to your face offer up a stereotypical impersonation of one such occasion that for me has always seemed to end with “Back to you Bob.”

It’s laughed off, shrugged off until the next severe weather event and then the cycle often repeats.

We oftentimes get a bad rap for over-kill with the weather for example the now infamous 25 box graphic produced by an Atlanta station during the recent snow storm.

But what if you didn’t have to do anything wild? No signs blowing ready to fall on your head? No snow stick to measure how  much of the white stuff has fallen?

I recently watched a story that proves you really don’t need much to illustrate your point. Ditch the cheesiness, the clichés, the overused props…that stuff is easy to think up.

Lindsay Cohen is a reporter for KOMO-TV in Seattle.  She’s one of those reporters you want to watch whatever she does because you can rest-assured it’s going to be different and memorable.  And, in Seattle where the weather is more often than not a topic of conversation, Cohen demonstrated her point seamlessly.  I reached out to Lindsay because I knew there would be a story behind the story….Sure enough there was….Below is her story and her response…

WATCH: “ COLD WEATHER, WARM REPORTER

we were in our afternoon editorial meeting. Only two reporters were working night side, so it was inevitable that one person was going to get the cold weather assignment. Temperatures that day were in the low 20s – very unusual for this part of the country – and it was about day three of our cold snap, so we’d already exhausted a lot of the usual story ideas (shelters, plumbers, safety stories, etc.)

I knew I’d have a 50/50 chance of getting assigned the story – given our staffing levels for the day – and so earlier in the day when I saw this piece out of NYC that talked about things that annoy viewers about TV news (http://bit.ly/1eSfkXt), it got me thinking: how could we do a cold weather story without being the cliche of standing out in the cold?

I pitched that we should do the whole story from inside the news car; that we should somehow get people to come up to us and talk to us. Our news director liked the idea but didn’t think that would be enough to carry the story. Right around the same time, our newest photographer, Mitch Pittman, walked in the room. He’s been an MMJ in some other markets – and is quite involved in the story process at KOMO – and so I asked him, “how would you do this?” He’d seen another piece a while back that used the white board idea for some other story. We thought: what if we applied it to the concept of staying indoors – and asked people to call in from the cold? Thus, our story was born.

What’s interesting is we initially had a tough time getting the attention of people walking by. We were at Sport, downstairs from KOMO (which I know you are familiar with!) and didn’t realize that the windows are heavily tinted and sound-proof. So I genuinely had to bang on the windows quite a bit to get people to talk to us.

So… that’s the inside story!

Kristyn Caddell is a reporter for WFTV in Orlando FL. Follow her on Twitter: @KCaddellWFTV

 

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No Valentine’s Day plans? Check out 5 shows and movies available to stream that are perfect for the single journalist

Valentine’s Day is once again upon us. People will share the day with their significant other, eating a special dinner and making goo-goo eyes at each other from across the table.

But some journalists have an intimate relationship with their careers. We make those goo-goo eyes at an incredible lead and think all day about who would make the perfect source for a story.

Our journalism affairs can make for some lonely Valentine’s Days. Fortunately, Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services have some amazing journalism-centric movies and television shows. Some are sanctimonious and some are difficult to take serious; however, I suspect more than one of us have imagined what it would be like to be working side-by-side for Lou Grant or Carl Kolchak.

If you’re looking for some journalism-style entertainment this Valentine’s Day, check out one of the seven programs listed below. You won’t be disappointed.

6. Page One: Inside the New York Times: This documentary looks at the inner-workings of the New York Times. Cameras follow David Carr and other Times reporters and editors as they work to put the Grey Lady together. It’s available on Netflix.

5. Broadcast News: A comedy, of sorts, staring Albert Brooks, Holly Hunter and William Hurt. The movie is an interesting look at serious, hard-news journalists (played by Brooks and Hunter) in television news compared to reporters who simply look good on television with little background in news reporting (Hurt). The movie is available on Netflix. Clips of the movie are available on Hulu.

4. Kolchak: The Night Stalker: I’m not talking about the reboot version ABC premiered in the 2000s – this is the amazing 1970s monster-of-the week television show staring Darren McGavin as an Independent News Service reporter who is always finding stories of vampires, zombies and other such monsters in Chicago. Anyone who enjoyed the X-Files will get a kick out of this one. It’s available on Netflix.

3. House of Cards: The award-winning show about political ruthlessness is set to return with a new season on Netflix on Feb. 14. While the entire show is amazing, journalists could potentially use it in a drinking game. Each time the character Zoe Barnes makes an ethical breach any journalist would recognize, take a shot. The show is available on Netflix.

2. Portlandia: The IFC show does a great job of peppering in journalism references throughout its first three seasons (which are available on Netflix, while Hulu has clips of the show available). One show has the Portland newspaper taken over by a digital startup, where SEO-friendly celebrity gossip is rewarded and hard-hitting news is ignored. The situation might hit too close to home for some journalists these days, but it’s worth a watch.

1. Lou Grant: This is the best-of-the-best in journalism television shows before The Newsroom came along. Lou Grant has left Marry, Murray, Ted and television news in Minneapolis for a job as a hard-news metro editor at a Los Angeles- based newspaper. The show deals with journalism ethics issues that continue to be relevant and can really get the journalism excitement flowing in moments of professional doubt. The show is available on Hulu.

Honorable Mention – The Paper: This 1994 comedy staring Michael Keaton and Glen Close cannot be streamed via Netflix or Hulu, but is available on iTunes, and definitely worth a rental or purchase. The shows how crazy a metro news room can be, with each character – even the minor ones – chasing a story; some relevant to the front-page story, while others have responsibilities below the fold. Watch it a few times and you’ll see each editor and reporter either gets his or her story by press time or has to kill it.

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6 Things to Bring to an Interview (and 6 Things to Hide) April 8, 2014, 1:50 am

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