Highlights from SPJ/LA’s Regional Conference: Tip Sheet on Freelancing 101

Freelance business writer Karen Robes Meeks (left) and Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil, Orange County-based freelance journalist.

One of the nine panels that SPJ/LA made available to Regional Conference attendees was a discussion about freelancing.

SPJ/LA board member and freelance writer Roberta Wax moderated the panel. She was joined by former board member and freelance journalist Michael Fleeman, Karen Robes Meeks, a freelance business writer, and Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil, an Orange County-based freelance journalist.

Freelance journalist and author Michael Fleeman.

 

The session covered pitch-perfect queries to negotiating payment. The experts also gave tips about finding markets, contract quandries, pitching story ideas, writing articles or books and more.

Below is a tip sheet from Wax on query writing tips:

Query Writing Tips

SPJ/LA board member and freelance journalist Roberta Wax.

1. Know your markets. Read several back issues (or recent posts) to understand what editors need and want, as well as writing style, tone, perspective, types of articles used, recurring themes, etc. Check Writer’s Market and/or a publication’s writer’s guidelines to see what editors want and how they want you to query. Note regular columns and sections, as well as recurring themes/topics.

2. Understand that an idea is not necessarily a story. Make sure your idea is not too broad and is the right fit for that particular publication. Be specific. No: I want to write about adoption. Yes: I want to write a 1,200-word story about how to adopt from a child from Romania.

3. Query the right person and always check the spelling of names. Editors change frequently, so double check. Nothing will get you rejected faster than misspelling the editor’s name or sending to a long defunct email box.

4. Keep your query short, focused, and business-like. Start with a great opening paragraph that will hook the editor (as your lead would hook a reader). State your idea, who you might interview, the story focus, etc. Make it clear that you are asking for an assignment: “I would like to write a 1,200-word story for L.A. Parent Magazine.”

5. If you are sending clips, paste the clip in the body of your email, rather than as an attachment. Many editors will not open attachments.

6. Make sure your name and contact information (email and phone number) are on the query and easy to find.

7. Check carefully for grammar and spelling errors. I mean it. Check again. Print out a hard copy, rather than just reading it on the computer.

8. Almost always send a query rather than a complete manuscript. Exceptions: humor,
editorials/opinion pieces, shorts and fillers, personal essay, reprints of a previously published
work.

9. Don’t say, “I know your readers would love this…” Editors know what their readers want.

10. Include a short paragraph about your qualifications, any expertise, where you’ve been published before. Short!

REMEMBER: THE QUERY IS YOUR SALES TOOL. Make it the best you can!

Job Openings: Associate Editor, Digital Associate Producer

Calling all job-hunting journalists! Check out these job postings in the Los Angeles area.

ASSOCIATE EDITOR 

Connection III Entertainment, an award-winning, Emmy-nominated producer/distributor of television programming across the U.S. and multiple international markets, is seeking an Associate Editor to help drive the company’s new digital properties.

The Associate Editor will help launch and maintain online and social brands for Connection III’s successful syndicated TV series, ‘Made in Hollywood,’ ‘Made in Hollywood: Teen Edition’ and ‘Live Life and Win.’

In this role, the Associate Editor will write and edit original editorial content on a daily basis. They’ll actively engage users across Connection III’s social platforms, and they’ll help manage freelance contributors.

The Associate Editor will report to the Managing Editor, and will work closely with Connection III’s new digital video team on the creation, production and support of original video franchises. They’ll also work alongside the producers of Connection III’s TV shows to better serve existing audiences and to reach new fans.

Responsibilities include:

  • Helping to develop a distinctive voice for each Connection III brand online and on social media
  • Providing frequent updates for each Connection III website
  • Writing and editing smart copy and headlines
  • Reaching users across Connection III’s social platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Requirements:

  • Minimum of three years editorial experience in the digital space
  • Strong writing and editing skills
  • Deep knowledge and passion for entertainment
  • Ability to connect with users on Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Strong communication skills
  • A team player with the ability to multi-task and meet tight deadlines
  • Knowledge of WordPress
  • Bachelor’s Degree

Contact is Michael Fleeman, at mbfleeman@gmail.com. No phone calls, please.

About Our Company

Connection III Entertainment Corp. is a Los Angeles-based producer and distributor of award-winning television series, specials and motion pictures. Currently, Connection III produces and distributes three nationally syndicated weekly TV series: the 10th season of ‘Made in Hollywood,’ a behind-the-screen look at stars & directors presenting their latest movies; the 9th season of ‘Made in Hollywood: Teen Edition,’ which explores media careers on and off-camera; and the 4th season of ‘Live Life and Win,’ which features inspirational teen success stories. Connection III Entertainment Corp is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

 

DIGITAL ASSOCIATE PRODUCER

Connection III Entertainment, an award-winning, Emmy-nominated producer/distributor of television programming across the U.S. and multiple international markets, is seeking a Digital Associate Producer to help drive the company’s new digital video initiatives.

The Digital Associate Producer will help create original video content to support Connection III’s successful syndicated TV series, ‘Made in Hollywood,’ ‘Made in Hollywood: Teen Edition’ and ‘Live Life and Win.’

This person will work for the Digital Supervising Producer to develop and maintain a mix of digital-first shows. They’ll also tap Connection III’s extensive library of celebrity and entertainment content to create fresh franchises and unique packages.

The Digital Associate Producer will work alongside the producers of Connection III’s TV shows to better serve existing audiences and to reach new fans. They’ll also work with the digital editorial team to extend Connection III’s TV brands to the online, YouTube, mobile and social platforms.

Responsibilities include:

  • Helping to develop, execute, schedule and launch original video content on a daily basis across multiple platforms
  • Writing, editing and shooting digital video
  • Working with Connection III’s current on-air hosts and digital freelancers
  • Creating video content that will engage users across Connection III’s social platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Requirements:

  • Minimum of two years production experience in the digital video space
  • Deep knowledge and passion for entertainment
  • Experience working with talent and celebrities
  • Good relationships with freelancers, writers, crew and other creatives
  • Solid understanding of post-production processes and systems, including Final Cut Pro
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Strong communication skills
  • A team player with the ability to multi-task and meet tight deadlines
  • Bachelor’s Degree

Contact is Michael Fleeman, at mbfleeman@gmail.com. No phone calls, please.

About Our Company

Connection III Entertainment Corp. is a Los Angeles-based producer and distributor of award-winning television series, specials and motion pictures. Currently, Connection III produces and distributes three nationally syndicated weekly TV series: the 10th season of ‘Made in Hollywood,’ a behind-the-screen look at stars & directors presenting their latest movies; the 9th season of ‘Made in Hollywood: Teen Edition,’ which explores media careers on and off-camera; and the 4th season of ‘Live Life and Win,’ which features inspirational teen success stories. Connection III Entertainment Corp is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

 

 

 

AAJA/LA Offers Scholarships for the 2010-2011 School Year

The Los Angeles chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association is offering scholarships for the 2010-2011 school year.

AAJA/LA is offering up to $10,000 in awards for students who demonstrate journalistic excellence in television, radio, print, photography, news design and multimedia.

Applications and supporting materials must be received by Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010. The scholarship form and further information is available at http://aaja-la.org/2010/09/scholarship/.  Winners will be notified by Nov. 15 during a special reception with industry professionals.

Please mail materials to KTLA-TV c/o Frank Buckley, AAJA Scholarship Chair, 5800 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90028.

The Asian American Journalists Association is a nonprofit professional and educational organization serving Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by encouraging journalism as a career, developing managers in the media industry, and promoting fair and accurate news coverage. AAJA is an alliance partner in UNITY Journalists of Color.

The future of arts criticism

The Museum of Contemporary Art and the Society of Professional Journalists a panel on the future of arts criticism.

The panel discussion will be moderated by USC’s Sasha Anawalt and features criticsAndrew Berardini and Sharon Mizota and MOCA Associate Curator Bennett Simpson.

Thursday, March 25– 6:30 to 8 pm

FREE

MOCA Grand Avenue, Ahmanson Auditorium
250 S. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Come early (5 pm or later) for free access to the exhibition: Collection: MOCA’s First Thirty Years

Info: 213-621-1745 or education@moca.org

SAG President Ken Howard at SPJ Mixer March 16

JOIN SAG PRESIDENT KEN HOWARD AT SPJ/LA MIXER TUESDAY, MARCH 16

What’s it like to work with both sets of “Charlie’s Angels?” To be blogged about by Nikke Finke? To lecture at Harvard? To repair relations between and possibly merge two unions?

Emmy-winning actor and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) President Ken Howard will be on hand to answer these and other questions at the Society of Professional Journalists’ mixer on March 16 in downtown Los Angeles. With actors’ contract negotiations starting this fall, you’ll want to hear to hear Howard’s thoughts in a candid forum.

The mixer is free and open to all! Please let us know you’re coming by sending an e-mail RSVP to the Greater Los Angeles professional chapter of SPJ at: spjlosangeles@gmail.com

WHAT: SPJ/LA’s March Mixer

WHO: Our guest will be SAG President Ken Howard

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 16

WHERE: We’ll meet in the upstairs lounge at J Restaurant and Lounge, 1119 South Olive St., Los Angeles; (213) 746-7746.

PARKING: There is a parking lot across the street. You can also find street parking in the area.

COST: It’s free fun for all! (You’ll have to buy your own drinks. Happy hour ends at 7 p.m. so get your drinks early!)

Contact: Soo Youn, 310-720-9686