Thursday, February 23, 2012

Corey's Nuggets of Wisdom

Someone thought it was a good idea for me to talk to a journalism class at Queens University of Charlotte last week. Scary, right? Even more scary: my first contact with the professor was when she emailed me to tell me I misspelled her son's name in a football story I wrote.

Anyway, I ended up essentially teaching a class on profile writing, going through the process of how I find ideas, prep for interviews, conduct interviews and write.

It went pretty well, I think. No one fell asleep.

Since I only had one chance to talk to these kids, I wanted to also share random bits of knowledge that I've picked up in my 2+ short years on the job. I called them "Corey's Nuggets of Wisdom." Seriously. I printed out a sheet of paper with that in bold and underlined at the top of the page. It ended up getting copied and passed out to the class.

It's nothing earth-shattering, but I thought I would share. There are nine. I'm sure there are some I forgot. Is there something you would add? Throw it in the comments and I'll update it.

Corey’s Nuggets of Wisdom 

  1. Read. A lot. 
    1. The best way to become a better writer is to read other writers and see what they do that you like and don’t like. 
  2. Write. A lot. 
    1. Practice, whether it’s just for yourself or on a blog. 
    2. Always have a notebook and pen with you. 
  3. Be versatile. 
    1.  Journalism is changing and jobs are scarcer. Rise to the top by being able to do more: write, take pictures, design, shoot video. 
    2. You don’t have to be an expert, but have some knowledge and be open to it. 
  4. Get to know -- and love -- new technology. 
    1. Learn about blogging, Twitter, Facebook, Google+. 
  5.  Build your brand. 
    1. What comes up when you Google your name? 
    2.  Make sure it’s something that represents you. 
    3. Buy a URL, use your real name on social media and blogs. 
  6. If you get an opportunity to cover something, take it. 
    1.  Don’t be scared of new experiences. You might learn something new. 
    2. Plus, bosses might start to give you the good assignments. 
  7. Respond to emails/tweets/calls immediately. 
    1. If someone compliments your work, thank them. 
    2.  If they recommend an idea -- even if it’s the worst -- thank them. 
    3. If they hate your work, respond. Usually they don’t expect you to, so they might end up liking you before it’s all over. 
  8.  Own up to your mistakes. 
    1. If you did something wrong, apologize and correct it. Don’t try to blame someone else or make excuses. 
  9.  Spend as much time -- or more -- out of the office than you do in. 
    1.  It’s much harder to find stories at your desk.

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