Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Drake's Wendy Naugle Back on the Today Show

Wendy Naugle ('96), deputy editor of Glamour magazine , was on the Today Show again yesterday, March 24.  Watch her here.

It was all part of Glamour's report on "7 Decades of Wacky Diet Trends," which includes smoking and drinking massive amounts of lemonade.  As Wendy says, here's what works to lose weight:  a healthy diet and exercise. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Selling Yourself in a Tough Job Market: Free Workshop at Drake

You—Only Better:
Selling Yourself in a Tough Job Market

This one-hour workshop will help you learn to think like an entrepreneur and sell your expertise in today’s evolving media market.

We'll talk about:

• You As A Brand: Evaluating your strengths and finding your niche.

• New Media Networking: How and why to network online.

• Thinking Beyond Your Borders: Re-envisioning yourself. Rethinking who is a client and how to find people who need you.

PRESENTER: Claire Celsi, Account Supervisor, Integer Group

April 18
10 a.m.

106 Meredith Hall
Drake University
Free, no preregistration necessary

Presented by
Drake University School of Journalism and Mass Communication
E.T. Meredith Center for Magazine Studies

Magazine Publishing: Ad Pages Down for the Biggies

In "Ad Blues: Major Mag Publishers Endured Tough Winter," Eris Sass writes in Media Daily News:

Everybody knows it's been a rough couple of years for big magazine publishers--and it's only getting rougher, according to TNS Media Intelligence's Group Publishers' report for January-February, which totals up the ad pages for the industry's top players. That means double-digit drops almost across the board--and we're not talking low double-digits either.  Read the entire thing. 

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Expert advice: long blogs

Always write short for the web? Andrew Romano, senior writer for, says that's bad advice. "I wrote really long blog posts and ignored that advice," he said. "When you do a blog, you have to do what you're passionate about. Readers didn't mind going beyond two paragraphs."

Romano was quoted during Min's Best of the Web awards, where his Stumper was honored as Best Consumer Blog.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

DEAR PEP: Do I Shelve My Ethics to Get a Job?

The job search has been painfully slow, but I finally got a request for an in-person interview (up until now they've all been phone interviews first). In the job listing, the company describes itself as an "advertising-driven b-to-b publisher." Could be a red flag, or it could be their way of saying they do custom publishing (right?). I can't find anything about them elsewhere on the web so I checked the Mediabistro forums, where the consensus seemed to be that they're a vanity publishing company where editors spend a lot of time interviewing potential cover story companies and then solicit their vendor lists for advertising purposes. Another person said they only pay freelancers 16 cents a word. This kind of thing drove me nuts on one of my trade mags, as you may remember. But even then, the publisher only asked that I make a list of any of the equipment manufacturers I saw during plant tours. He then, of course, would go to those companies and try to get ads.

So, knowing this going in, would it be kosher to ask about their practices during an interview? And if I ended up working there, is it unethical to assuage my guilt by using the economy and unemployment as an excuse? I'm not worried about the company being on my resume in the future -- I'm sure journalism recruiters understand that in times like this, people have to take what they have to do to be employed. What say you? I can always job hunt again if I'm unhappy there.

Some friends have recommended going for it anyway and if it turns out being what I think it is, just leapfrog elsewhere. But I promised myself that since I was miserable where I was, my next job would have to be a good one, and not to accept the first thing that came along. But who can afford that...COBRA's expensive! On the other hand, the bad economy could make the sales staff more ruthless and aggressive in terms of selling editorial. And if you tried to fight it, you'd be the first to go in layoffs. So. I still don't know! —
On the Hunt for Magazine Employment

DEAR HUNT: This is a tricky one.

First, of course it is kosher to ask about their practices during the interview. Interviews have several functions. When we are on the job search, we often think only of what we can do to impress the employer. In fact, we also need to be doing significant research to see if this is a place where we could be comfortable and thrive, a place that would not only benefit from our talents, but help build them.

You need to know if you can do the job they ask. That’s a different issue from whether you should do the job. Can you see yourself doing this work? Do you see yourself meeting the company’s overall goals? If not, you might have to pragmatically turn it down, as you don’t see yourself succeeding there.

The hardest part of this situation, of course, is the risk to your ethics of needing to work. I worry that this economy can give unethical employers the license to take advantage of employees, asking them to do too much, to do work that is ethically iffy, to accept the normally unacceptable.

That’s why I start with a pragmatic answer. If this job requires you to be an advertising broker, you might simply not be able to do that. 

The ethical answer, as usual, is more slippery. What happens if you think this could work, but it makes you uneasy? My answer there is that it will not work. I think you can stretch your morals only so far before they break and something important within you breaks along the way. The implications of this are that you not only hurt your moral standing in your own eyes, but you become a lesser employee for ethical publishers.

I am seriously uneasy about anybody ever taking a job just because they need the work. I see that as a failure waiting to happen. Yes, the opportunities right now might seem highly limited, but look for the long term. Will this job help you get where you want when the sun again shines on the economy (and it will), or will it hinder you from achieving your ultimate goals?  

Look at this as a marriage. Would you jump at marrying that jerk you met in a bar just because you’re tired of being single? I seriously hope not. Nor would you stay in an abusive relationship. Working at Barnes and Noble and freelancing on the side is better than working full-time at a job that hurts you.

That said, your interview might demonstrate that all those things you read on the Internet are wrong (Imagine that happening!) and the place looks good. But ask the hard questions, don’t settle for glib answers, and talk to as many employees as possible. Ask about payment to writers. Sixteen cents a word is a huge red flag. Definitely check that one out.

Don’t play Mike Wallace—remain professional and polite, but remember your reportorial skills. Look at their products. Do you want your name on their masthead? Do you think they have promise and offer you an opportunity? These are the questions you ask no matter the economy.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Advice on the Application Letter

Job hunters, here's some good advice on cover letters from The New York Times job coach.  It covers how to organize, write, and even attach the letter.  Its focus is on electronic applications, which are quickly becoming the norm.

Having just chaired a search committee, it is apparent to me that folks at all levels need to take letters more seriously.  

I also wrote about how to write a letter of application in an earlier post.