Interview Everyone.

28 Nov

Interviewing is something that will always come up in your job as a journalist.  Interviewing is one of the major ways you will gather information for research. Interviews will be a key portion of what makes your story.

Interviewing takes practice. It isn’t something you will master right off the bat.

People think interviewing is easy, but it isn’t. You have to know who to talk to and what to ask. You need to decide what the news is and then you need to ask questions that will help you build a story around that news.

It’s important to make the interviewee feel comfortable, but it is also important for the interviewer to remain professional and confident.

According to, “If you show your ignorance, you lose credibility and risk being ridiculed.”

Do your research prior to your interview. Get to know who your subject is.

Avoid yes-or-no questions. These will not give you enough juice for a story. Ask questions that involve a story and let your subject tell that story. Your job is to listen.

Ask questions that get to the heart of the news. Don’t waste the interviewee’s time or your own because gathering useless information will also waste your readers’ time.

As stated by the Journalism – Learning the Trade blog, “Interviewing skills can be learnt, but like everything, experience is the key.”


Research Your Way to the Front Page!

28 Nov

One of the most important skills for a journalist to master is the ability to do thorough research. Since no one is ingrained with knowledge on every topic, research will almost always be inevitable when it comes to writing as a professional journalist.

According to a WordPress blog about learning the trade of journalism, good research is about “knowing where and how to find information.” Just because you spend hours searching the Internet or scouring books doesn’t mean you’re finding all (or any) of the right answers.

The bottom line is you will not sound credible without the proper sources and/or research. People won’t believe what you have to say and you will most likely make yourself sound ignorant.

You must know who to talk to, what to read and what to write down.

You will sound like you know what you’re talking about if you have the right research information and your work will be believable.

Status Update: I Didn’t Get the Job. FML.

22 Nov

TAMPA, Fla. – Social networking is a growing trend amongst college students, and checking up on the social network pages of applicants is a growing trend amongst employers.

College students use social networking sites for keeping in touch with friends, learning what is going on in the community, keeping up with the party scene and other purposes. Accessing social networking sites has become simpler than ever because Internet access is now available on a multitude of platforms.

Students enjoy having the ability to personalize their pages on sites like and by uploading pictures, posting status updates and commenting on their friends’ pages. These types of customizations are what have employers delving into these social networks to find out more about potential and/or current employees.

Roxanne Watson, an assistant professor at USF’s School of Mass Communications, says, “I think it is important to bear in mind that companies will look for social media in the same way they look for other online sources as a way of finding out about you…I think it’s important to think about what your persona is on social media.”

According to a report done by Christina Cuesta of, some companies believe the personal life of an applicant, as broadcasted on the Internet, can reflect that person’s moral philosophy.

Professor Watson says, “[Social networking] can have some negative effects if [companies] see you doing things that don’t line up with what the company wants to be about.”

According to National Public Radio (NPR), conducted a survey of employers who utilize social networking sites when considering an applicant. As stated on the article posted on NPR’s website, “The survey by found that one turnoff for potential employers is pictures of the applicants drinking or using drugs.”

Megan Dunkle, a former student of Stetson University, has had personal experience with the negative effects social networking can have on employment. She was fired from a company she had been with for a year over a status update on her Facebook page.

Dunkle says, “The spa I was employed with was going through downsizing and had to cut back on my hours. I reacted negatively by posting a disgruntled status update on my Facebook page.” Dunkle was fired on the spot after a co-worker saw the status update and showed their employer.

Professor Watson urges college students to think before they post online. It is important for college students, as well as everyone, to broadcast who they are in a professional and respectable manner.

MMC 2100 at USF

21 Nov

In case you would like to see what I have been up to in my Writing for the Mass Media class at USF, check out the class blog!

Go to Law School, or Start a Radio Station?

9 Nov

Rob Lorei, News & Public Affairs Director at WMNF-FM of Tampa, Fla.

TAMPA, Fla. – Rob Lorei, news and public affairs director for WMNF-FM, a community radio station in Tampa, has learned many lessons and had many successes during his career in radio, but he never intended to be where he is today.

Lorei, originally from Erie, Penn., attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, in the late 1970s with the plan to go on to law school. As a result of a recession during that time, Lorei found himself at a dead end.

Lorei says, “In 1978 I heard about a job, here in Tampa, starting a radio station and I thought, ‘Well, I can’t afford law school at this point,’ so I figured I’d come down.” With five years of experience working at his college’s radio station, Lorei wasn’t completely in the dark.

But working in radio was completely unintended. “Kind of a diversion,” he said.

In co-founding WMNF, Lorei hoped to “give a voice to the voiceless.” He says, “It’s important to listen to the politicians who have been elected, but it’s also important to listen to the people who challenge them.”

Lorei’s career in radio journalism also has afforded him the opportunity to meet such people as former President Jimmy Carter, as well as Florida’s outgoing Gov. Charlie Crist.

One of the most important lessons Lorei has learned in his career is not to jump to conclusions. He says, “There aren’t just two sides to every issue. Sometimes there are three and four sides.”

Lorei says, “Another lesson that I have learned, too, is that a lot of people can be misled pretty easily by what’s said on radio or TV.” He believes a lot of responsibility goes along with a career in radio and television journalism, he that is something he takes seriously.

Lorei explains that mass communications students are expected to be good listeners and good observers. He says, “Everything’s changing, and you’re going to be asked to be a multitasker. So you should be able to edit audio and edit video, you should be able to write well. You should be able to do research, and you should be able to be a critical thinker.”

Lorei says, “My best advice is to go work for a newspaper.” He explained that the best reporters, the most skeptical and hardest working, are those who got their start at a newspaper because they know how to do the best research.

Here is a clip of my face-to-face interview with Mr. Lorei. Here he gives some advice for current mass communications students:

Journalism 101

26 Oct

Contrary to what some people may think, being a good journalist take a lot more than just being a good writer. There is a whole “smorgasbord” of qualities, skills and techniques out there to master to be considered a decent journalist.

Of course, writing skills are probably the most important thing. Writing is to a journalist as water is to a shower. You just can’t have one without the other. According to some information I gathered from a journalism-focused WordPress blog, a good portion of a journalist’s job is to conduct interviews with people. This requires a journalist not only to be personable, but also to know how to conduct a successful interview.

Journalists need to be ambitious, determined and even a little nosy. As stated by Journalists Network, research skills are key. It’s your job to delve into topics, to get to the heart and soul of everything you cover, and then to plaster it all over newspapers, blogs and TV in order to get it across to your audience.

Now you might be thinking that all this plastering of the news sounds relatively easy, but there’s definitely more to it. You have to know how to make ethical decisions as well. You can’t just say what you want to say because you have to display couth and respect for others. If people get the sense that you are not respectful and professional, they will read someone else.

Also, one major thing I’ve learned from my mass communications professors at the University of South Florida is that it is very important for journalists to be concise. Journalists need to know how to cut the fat from their writing and get right to the point

By the same token, managing you’re your time is also important. Journalists work on deadline. So keep your eyes on the calendar and the clock. Don’t take too long to write a story that another journalist could possibly write faster and better.

Also, don’t forget that journalists always have to be accountable for their actions. Stand by what you write and own up to any and all mistakes.