Founders Scholarship winner Sandi Halimuddin: “I finally feel empowered and ready to take the next step”
Sandi Halimuddin, 22, graduated earlier this year from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism and international relations and previously interned at The Seattle Times and Seattle Weekly. Halimuddin was the recipient of the 2013 Founders Scholarship, which covered the cost of registration and travel for the 2013 AAJA National Convention in New York. In the coming weeks, Halimuddin will return to New York in the next month for an internship at the World Policy Journal.
As part of her scholarship, Halimuddin shared her convention experience for AAJASeattle.org.
When I first heard about the AAJA Convention in New York, I was terrified. While my mentor (former AAJA National President) Sharon Chan described the event as a fun networking and learning opportunity, the thought of shamelessly self-promoting myself in front of well-established people in the journalism industry made me nervous. As a recent grad looking for an entry-level reporting job, the career fair, workshops and networking events are excellent resources, if not a bit daunting. Luckily, AAJA Seattle chapter members gave me great advice on how to make the most out of the annual convention.
First, my mentors encouraged me to come prepared. In addition to preparing an elevator pitch, resumes, business cards and a website with clips, it’s important to do your homework on the companies at the career fair. Sharon encouraged me to do research on media companies, their notable work and current job openings. Speaking with recruiters at the career fair was easier and more meaningful when I showed knowledge of the company and asked specific questions. While working the career fair may not immediately lead to a job, I found that speaking with recruiters helped me gain a better understanding of what my goals and expectations are.
Second, my mentors recommended that I meet as many people as possible. At big events such as these it’s too easy to hide in the corner, tweeting at celebrities and friends. While I had my share of awkward moments standing in the middle of the room looking for someone to talk to, I found that reaching out to people is not as frightening as it seems. Most people at networking events are genuine, friendly and eager to speak with people who are equally as passionate about journalism. Developing connections with fellow convention attendees is a good strategy to establish your presence in the industry, find mentors and learn from people you respect. It’s also comforting to have fellow journalism friends to keep in touch with throughout and after the convention.
Finally, my mentors in the AAJA Seattle chapter insisted that I follow up with recruiters, editors and fellow journalists I met during the convention. While it might be hard to stand out in such a busy and well-attended convention, a prompt and thoughtful follow-up letter or email goes a long way. Even if there are no current job opportunities, showing initiative and establishing relationships with people in the industry can be helpful in the future.
While I was initially hesitant about attending the AAJA Convention, I’m so glad I went this year. I met a lot of wonderful, helpful people at the convention and gained more confidence navigating the professional world. I also now have a more realistic understanding of the possibilities in the journalism industry. Following the AAJA Convention, I finally feel empowered and ready to take the next step in shaping my writing career by moving to New York City this month.
Here are the details:
Who: Young people (ages 16-24)
What: Engage with young changemakers as they design a high-fidelity mobile app to solve a social issue.
Where: Impact Hub Seattle, 220 2nd Ave S., Seattle
When: October 12, 9am-4pm
For more information about Ashoka Seattle’s mission, vision and approach, click here.
Check out this journalism workshop coming to Seattle.
APME NewsTrain Seattle
Oct. 3-4, 2013
A two-day workshop focusing on social media reporting tools, creating enterprise off your beat, data mining, digital storytelling, managing continuous coverage and more.
Registration: Cost is $75 for the workshop and food.
Location: Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave. (Note: the venue has changed from our save-the-date flyer)
Networking social: TBA
DIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIPS: Up to ten scholarships are available for this APME NewsTrain event for young print and broadcast journalists and journalism students of color who are pursuing careers in journalism. Scholarships will cover the registration cost of NewsTrain and may cover some of the recipient’s accommodations and travel expenses. NewsTrain host committees will review applications and choose the recipients. Pacific Northwest candidates will have the best chance. Interseted? Send a resume and application letter by Monday, Sept. 16, to Jessica Partnow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
· Social Media Reporting Tools: Social media platforms contain powerful reporting tools that can be valuable to reporters facing big breaking news stories or enterprise projects. This session explains how to use social media platforms and onsite tools to locate expert and “real people” sources, for “crowdsourcing” using advanced search features on major social media sites and for curating social media content to augment your own content.
· Maximize Your Social Media: So you’re a journalist on social media, but not so sure you’re taking the right approach? This session offers tactics and tips to improve your comfort on social media, establish your brand, encourage community engagement and measure how well your social media efforts are working over time.
· Smartphones for Journalists: A guide to the best apps, web sites and other tools for reporters working in the field.
· Digital Storytelling: How to approach the development and presentation of breaking news and enterprise packages for both print and online platforms.
· Enterprise off a Beat: A session aimed at reporters and editors on spotting and developing enterprise stories off a busy beat. This session offers different ways to measure the accountability of public and private institutions and suggests a variety of story forms that can be used to quickly develop a series of short to mid-range enterprise pieces. The goal is to build a sustained body of enterprise coverage while juggling the many demands of beat work. More
This year’s Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship reception will be from 6-8 p.m. on June 4 at KING 5 (333 Dexter Ave. N. in Seattle).
Doors open at 6 pm. Light food provided by Pho Bac and non-alcoholic drinks will be served.
The program will start just after 6:30 pm and wrap up by 8 pm.
Five aspiring college journalists will receive scholarships from the Northwest Journalists of Color, a consortium of four minority journalist groups in Washington State. The 2013 recipients include Western Washington University students: Joella Charis Ortega, Charmaine Riley, Elyse Tan, and Seattle University student, Holly Martinez. Joseph Park from Highline Community College will be awarded the Founder’s Scholarship, which covers a student registration for the 2013 AAJA National Convention in New York City.
The Seattle Association of Black Journalists (SABJ) will ask be awarding their Patricia Fisher Endowment Scholarship at the reception.
In attendance will be the scholarship winners’ family and friends, as well as news executives and journalists from the local community and this year’s NJC Scholarship judges: Brent Champaco (Gig Harbor Patch.com), Sonya Green (KBCS FM), Melissa Santos, (The Olympian) Christina Twu (International Examiner) and Lori Matsukawa (KING5 TV).
Come enjoy food and drink, meet this year’s Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship winners and support the future generation of storytellers.
For more information and to RSVP for the event, click here.
The three-day program will be held from Aug. 20 to Aug. 22, in conjunction with the AAJA National Convention in New York.
The annual program builds the leadership and management skills of mid-career journalists seeking to join the ranks of mid-level and upper management in the newsroom. The program’s curriculum includes a wide variety of topics related to journalism and leadership development.
AAJA Seattle has provided $2,100 in financial support to help cover the cost of the program for all three participants. [Full disclosure: To avoid a conflict of interest, president Mai Hoang recused herself from the voting process.]
AAJA Seattle members attending this year’s program are:
Venice Buhain, an editor for Patch, is a long-time member of AAJA Seattle and has served in several roles for the chapter, including chapter secretary and co-chair of the Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship program in 2010.
Mai Hoang, business reporter, for the Yakima Herald-Republic, is currently serving as president of AAJA Seattle. She previously served as chapter treasurer and co-chair of the Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship program in 2010.
She also was selected as a recipient of the Dinah Eng Leadership Fellowship, which provides a $400 stipend to attend the Executive Leadership Program.
Congrats to all three participants!
Tons of transformational ideas, tools and Twitter tips highlighted the AAJA Seattle Spring Training Social Media and Self-Branding Bootcamp on March 28. Sona Patel, Lauren Rabaino and Brian Rosenthal of the Seattle Times did a dynamite job dishing out info and inspiration (plus a tour of the newly consolidated Times newsroom).
The talented trio asked us to blog about our five top takeaways. My list:
Interact. Subscribe to blogs. Follow people who are doing what you want to do.Â Comment on their posts. Lauren shared an anecdote from her student days how she posted on a Big-Shot Journalistâ€™s blog and he responded, much to her delighted astonishment. It marks you as someone who contributes to the discourse and helps establish you as a credible source of information.
Use your name or a consistent alias across all platforms. To build the brand, you need a unified naming convention on Twitter, your website, Facebook, LinkedIn.
Tweet where youâ€™re at. Beaming out that youâ€™re at a school board meeting, tech conference (or AAJA event!) builds credibility that youâ€™re covering whatâ€™s important, doing the footwork.
Donâ€™t sweat the SEO. People will find you if you write well about what matters to you, said Lauren. Brilliant strategy.
Always have visuals â€“ makes posts more shareable. To wit: Fueling up for the drive home to Bellingham, I stopped afterward at Molly Moonâ€™s Homemade Ice Cream for a triple hot fudge sundae (salted caramel, Scout mint and vegan coconut chunk!). Noticed they had a map showing their ingredientsâ€™ origin. Noticed their milk and cream come from the Edaleen Dairy in Lynden. Realized this would make a fun post on my Blue Ribbon blog about local food, farming and fairs. Also, realized, with regret, that a photo of the little thumbtack on â€œLyndenâ€ wouldâ€™ve made the post 10 times cooler. Hit home that I need to take my camera everywhere — even the malt shop.
(Students only, but feel free to pass along the message!) If we don’t have enough student sign-ups by March 27 at 1 p.m., we will open up the event to AAJA Seattle members.
STUDENTS: Don’t miss this great opportunity from AAJA Seattle!
â€œPersonal brandingâ€ is about more than having a matching logo on your business cards, blog and Twitter profile. Itâ€™s about having a voice that people recognize in the industry and in your own personal sphere of interest. Itâ€™s also about knowing how to promote your voice — and yourself — to the people who care. We can show you how to get started. In this AAJA Seattle crash course, join producers from The Seattle Times and other regional media outlets to learn how to start (or improve) your blog and use social media strategies — skills that you can use in your personal lives, and carry into the newsroom. Oh, did we mention weâ€™ll have pizza?
Note: this is open to any student (not just UW). Â We’ll also be answering questions about applying for the Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship program. Applications for the NJC Scholarship are due April 15. We’re looking forward to seeing you there.
You MUST RSVP! You can do so here.
When: Wednesday, March 28
Where: Mt. Baker Training Room, 6th floor, Seattle Times building, 1000 Denny Way, Seattle, 98109
Time: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Cost: FREE for students; $10 suggested donation at the door. Cash or credit card only, please.
If you’re driving you may need to pay for parking. There are SOME guest parking spots in the lot outside The Seattle Times building that are free as well as paid street parking.
Questions? Email Sona Patel at email@example.com or 949-310-0336.
To renew your AAJA membership visit aaja.org.
By Owen Lei
Congratulations to this year’s NJC scholarship recipients! Â On the 25th anniversary of the Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship, AAJA Seattle was able to award nearly $5,000 in scholarships to help offset the cost of tuition, send a student to the 2011 AAJA national convention in Detroit, and help pay for off-campus multimedia storytelling courses.
(above picture, from left to right) Mary Jean Spadafora,Â 911 Media Arts Scholarship; Joanna Nolasco, Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship; Peter Sessum, Founder’s Scholarship; Gina Cole, NJC Scholarship. (not pictured: Katelin Chow, who won an NJC Scholarship, made a special appearance from Barcelona, Spain, via a pre-recorded webcam message)
Thanh Tan of the Texas Tribune,Â as keynote speaker, shared her experiences as a multimedia reporter/producer covering state politics at a non-profit journalism outlet.
The Texas Tribune is a non-profit journalism startup based in Austin that relies on diverse lines of revenue to sustain its hard-hitting reporting on state government and politics.
Here’s an excerpt from Thanh’s amazing keynote speech:
Will we succeed in our mission to be a non-profit, sustainable provider of public interest news? I donâ€™t know. Will I still have a job in a year or two? I sure hope so. When I questioned whether I wanted to venture into the unknown, I leaned on my old Nightline executive producer, Tom Bettag, for help. Hereâ€™s what he told me, â€œAs for the future of the Tribune and its model, I don’t think anyone knows. What we know is that it is a serious attempt to do important work. If it fails, it will be a noble failure. People will respect you for having done your best to make it work.â€
If youâ€™d told me seven years ago that I would NOT be working in television news. That instead, Iâ€™d be producing and writing for an online start-up in Austin, Texas. That I would be a multi-platform journalist– Iâ€™d have said, â€˜Whatever. Yeah right.â€™ The bottom is Iâ€™ve worked in local TV news in small and big markets. Iâ€™ve worked in public broadcasting at a local and national level. All those experiencesâ€”the good, the bad, and the uglyâ€¦ led me to where I am today and make me appreciate what I have so much more. You donâ€™t have to follow my path. Create your own future, and know that it may look nothing like what youâ€™re envisioning right now. But the basics are the same. Just do it. Find that first break. Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed.
Keep in touch with those whose work you admire. Break a few stories. Check your facts. Seek the truth. Hold the powerful accountable. Meet your deadlines. Learn from your mistakes. Survival in this industry may well be based on your ability to adapt your stories for different mediumsâ€”so learn all you can about how print, online, and broadcast work. Try new thingsâ€”but always be mindful of your mission. And know that your job allows you to wield a certain amount of power that should not be abused. Pay attention to the people around youâ€¦ listen to their stories, and understand that our work as journalists often gives voice to the voiceless. Thatâ€™s a huge responsibility.
Times are changing for this industryâ€”it is a FASCINATING time to be a journalist, if you do it for the right reasons. Youâ€™ve gotten this far. I promise you that with a little help from the Northwest Journalists of Colorâ€”and all the people who are around you today– you will go on to produce work that inspires and enlightens your community.
This is just the beginning of your journey, and I am so excited for you.
Thanh Tan is the keynote speaker for this year’s Northwest Journalists of Color awards reception, which will be June 7 at KING TV.
Get your free tickets at EventBrite!
The reception,Â which marksÂ the 25th anniversary of AAJA Seattle’s flagship program, brings Thanh Tan from Austin, Texas, to share her experiences with this year’s scholarship winners.
Tan, a three-time NJC scholarship winner, is a multimedia reporter/producer for The Texas Tribune.
She previously worked at Idaho Public Television, a PBS station that serves a statewide audience.
While there, she was an Emmy award-winning producer/reporter/host for the longest-running legislative public affairs program in the West, Idaho Reports, moderator of The Idaho Debates, and a writer/producer for the flagship series Outdoor Idaho.
Prior to joining IdahoPTV, she was a general assignment reporter at the ABC affiliate in Portland, OR and a political reporter for KBCI-TV in Boise, ID. Her work has also appeared on the PBS NewsHour and This American Life.
She graduated with honors from the University of Southern California with degrees in International Relations and Broadcast Journalism.