Beyond Bootcamp kicks off at UM School of Communication

For the next week I’ll be assisting Rich Beckman‘s annual Beyond Bootcamp multimedia workshop, which he began a decade ago at the University of North Carolina at Chapel-Hill.

Now that Rich is here at the University of Miami, he has brought the bootcamp to our School of Communication.

I’m going to try to blog as much as possible (particularly about the lunch and dinner keynote speeches), but the sessions are 12 hours each day and plus we the assistants shuttling people around, so I can’t promise a certain frequency.

What I can promise is tweets. Tweets galore! As long as my Tilt, iPod Touch and laptop batteries can all survive the long days, I’ll have updates. The School of Comm also has lots of outlets, so I should be ok.

Follow all the related tweets on this page:

Please share the link and interact with bootcamp tweeters!

Tips from a J-Student: Picking up skills and contacts at a professional workshop

Newspaper reporters, editors and others listen to Miami Herald Multimedia Editor Rick Hirsch give opening remarks at Saturday's workshop.


Newspaper reporters, editors and others listen as Miami Herald Multimedia Editor Rick Hirsch gives opening remarks at Saturday's workshop. (From my camera phone, TwitPic)

This is the first in an occasional series called “Tips from a J-Student.” Posts will focus on ways journalism students can better prepare themselves for jobs, internships and other opportunities.

Click here for my Top 10 list of tips.

I know I’ve said this before in some form or another, but (in my Mel Brooks voice):

“It’s good to be a student.”

About 50 newspaper and other media professionals gathered at the University of Miami’s School of Communication on Saturday for a day of online and multimedia training sessions, sponsored by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors and Florida Press Association.

For the second consecutive year, Matthew Bunch (@matthewsbunch) and I volunteered for the event. Deborah Acosta (@deborahacosta) a first-year graduate student, also volunteered.

Yes, we helped unload a car. Yes, we helped set up breakfast. Yes, we handed out name tags and programs. 

But why?

Well, there was free breakfast and lunch. More importantly, it was an opportunity to see old friends, meet new people and learn something (sessions were also free for volunteers).

For example, I met University of Florida journalism professor Dave Stanton (@gotoPlanB) after months of hearing about him from former students and Orlando Sentinel senior producer Danny Sanchez (@DannySanchez) after following each on Twitter for awhile.

As for learning something new, I was able to attend a session in each of the three time slots (more details). It just so happened that all of them were led by Miami Herald journalists:

I wish I could have attended all the workshops, but I picked the ones where I thought I would learn the most. 

So what good does this do you?

Find out if your school hosts any professional development events. Most UM journalism students have no idea this opportunity – though limited to a few volunteers – exists at all.

If there’s not such an event, see what you can do to lobby for workshops or some other opportunity to network and learn (somewhat related: a shameless plug for Sean Blanda‘s efforts to bring BarCamp NewsInnovation to Philadelphia). 

But the overall lesson is to take advantage of any available opportunity to improve your skill set, make new connections and continue relationships. And, if that opportunity doesn’t exist, try to make it happen.

Upcoming opportunity: From Jan. 3 to 10, Knight Char in Visual Journalism Rich Beckman will host his annual Beyond Bootcamp workshops at UM for the first time.

Students have the (paid) opportunity to assistant in one of the three-day sessions. I’ll be helping out with the video narratives sessions, Jan. 7 to 10. Of course, I plan to blog about this event.

Looking forward: Several upcoming posts in this series will related to applying for summer internships. Although it’s too late for many summer opportunities, I hope these posts will help students applying in the spring and beyond. 

Weigh in: Have you found any similar training or networking opportunities at your school? If not, what kind would you like to see?

BarCamp NewsInnovation: Let’s bring one to Miami

I should have blogged about BarCamp NewsInnovation last week when I first heard about the idea, but thankfully Ryan Sholin wrote a post that reminded me.

And his post was spurred in part by this: Introducing BarCamp NewsInnovation.

Oh, how I love the interwebs.

The locations being proposed for regional BarCamps include Boston, Chicago, Denver, Reston (Va.), New York City and Silicon Valley.

“Where’s Miami?” you say. I dropped a line in the wiki saying I’d be interested to help organize one here.

I know there’s a lot going on this spring (BarCampMiami , Future of Web Apps and WeMedia), but the topic of News Innovation is just too good to pass up.

Who’s with me?

We’re not in Kansas (City) anymore: An ACP/CMA recap

My conference craziness for the semester finally ended on Sunday.

This past weekend I attended the Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Advisers conference in Kansas City, Mo.

The Miami Hurricane sent six people, four from the newsroom and two from the business office.

Other UM student media also sent staffers, including five from the Ibis yearbook and one from Distraction magazine. The respective Hurricane and Ibis advisers also attended.

(Quick shout-out to Hurricane adviser Bob Radziewicz, who learned some iMovie and Audacity at the conference, yay! And he got Twitter on his own. Follow him @caneadviser.)

Another UM professor, Rich Beckman, was the conference’s first keynote speaker on Thursday (Mark Glaser of MediaShift was the keynote on Friday).

Rich started his talk by discussing how the newspaper industry fell behind with the Web. But, instead of harping on the negative, he mostly offered advice for the hundreds of students and advisers in attendance.

Video excerpt of Beckman’s keynote, shot by Anthony Pesce.

To summarize Rich’s advice:

  • You still need the basics — writing and editing across platforms, legal and ethical grounding
  • Everyone needs to know audio and video content gathering, editing and storytelling skills
  • Photojournalism and photo editing skills and the ability to produce audio-driven photo galleries and stories
  • Understand audience, usability, social networking, etc.
  • You need multimedia storytelling skills
  • Skills are given. Once you have them, you need to learn how to use them
  • Take advantage of what the Web is good at (interactivity, availability, etc.)
  • Use your publications to test your skills
  • Follow people, not organizations, when looking for good examples of journalism
  • Find mentors

Rich also discussed how multimedia design and infographic skills as well as multimedia programming and producing skills will land you the best (and best paid) jobs at top news organizations.

Besides the familiar faces, I got to see some new faces and meet some people in person for the first time, including Andrew Dunn, Anthony Pesce (whose video is embedded above) and Miles Skorpen. I’d known each through Twitter and the latter two from CoPress, so it was great to hang with them at the conference.

I also had a mini reunion of sorts with David Grant, editor of the Collegiate Times (Virginia Tech) and Kristen Daum, editor-elect of the State News (Michigan State). The three of us were part of the Al Neuharth Free Spirit scholarship class of 2005.

Speaking of awards:

  • The Hurricane didn’t win an online Pacemaker, but we got a pretty plaque for being a finalist. So, we’re looking to next year’s competition, when we’ll be entering the new WordPress site that Brian Schlansky and I created last summer.
  • Will Wooten, Hurricane visuals editor in spring 2008, won a third place page one design award for the “Do Not Rush the Field” cover

Sneak peak at next project

I’ll be playing producer and leading one of five video teams today for an Election Day 2008 multimedia project, which is being organized by the UM visual journalism program. The group, which also includes seven still photo teams, is being led by vis-j faculty Jim Virga, Kim Grinfeder and Rich Beckman.

We’ll be working in the West Grove and later putting together a site with all the stories, expected to launch soon after the election is finished. Note: This is not live coverage, but instead a documentary-style project.

I’ll write a recap post with my thoughts and a link after it launches.

Until then, follow the project on Twitter. Alex de Carvalho (@alexdc), who is one of the project’s other coaches, and I (@greglinch) will be live tweeting using the hastag #grove.

National Writers Workshop: Highlights and notes

What? Another conference, you ask?

Greg with Leonard Pitts
Greg with Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts. Photo by Lilly Echeverria.


This past weekend (Sept. 19-21) I attended the National Writers Workshop in Fort Lauderdale, an annual conference hosted by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Among the speakers (A-Z):

I liveblogged the conference using Twitter and updates can be found by searching greglinch + NWW or NWW.

I’ve posted on Google Docs my notes from a Saturday morning session by Jacqui Banaszynkski, Knight chair in editing at University of Missouri School of Journalism.

I’ll be taking about a month to catch my breath before the next conference, a trip covered by The Miami Hurricane:

Associated Collegiate Press and College Media Advisers conference in Kansas City, Oct. 29 to Nov. 2.

I’ll be flying up on the evening of Oct. 30 and leaving Nov. 2. The Hurricane is sending a total of eight students, plus our adviser.

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