This fall, New Orleans will be the largest U.S. city without a daily newspaper. The Times-Picayune, with a weekday circulation of 134,000 and Sunday circulation of 155,000, will be published only on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.
The Times-Picayune, which has published since 1837, was bought by the Newhouse family in 1962 and later merged with the afternoon daily. Up to now, the paper has avoided some of the deeper cuts in the industry, in part because the newspaper played such a critical role in the coverage of Katrina and its aftermath. —NYTimes
Poynter.org points out that before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and its population, the paper had a weekday circulation of 257,000 and 285,000 on Sundays.
“I think this is a big blow,” said Poynter business analyst Rick Edmonds. “Yes, it’s happened in a few places, but Saginaw and New Orleans are not the same thing. You’re talking about a major-league city.” —Poynter.org
It’s that time of year when thousands upon thousands of twentysomethings don caps and gowns of every sort of color and graduate from colleges and universities around the world. They have a spring in their step and stars in their eyes. Or at least they will until they have to find a job.
I had the luck of graduating twice, earning my bachelor’s degree and master’s degree during two recessions. The first was the dotcom bubble, the second was the start of the current recession in 2006. I have impeccable timing!
But I ended up landing on my feet—it just took a little longer than I had expected. I always worked, whether it was waiting tables at a restaurant outside of Fenway Park in Boston (where, admittedly, I made boatloads of money in tips) or working my way up from a receptionist to becoming the sole marketing person at a mid-sized staffing agency. I bided my time, worked hard, and kept my eyes open for other great opportunities.
When I felt uninspired, I started freelance writing, which led me to enrolling in NYU’s journalism school for my graduate degree. Graduating in another economic slump, I didn’t wait so long to start freelancing, and eventually landed an editing job at a great magazine.
I have a lot of mom friends who have decided to leave the typical workforce after having children.
With daycare being as expensive as it is these days, many of these moms didn’t make enough money in their jobs (a couple of them were teachers) to make daycare worth it. Working just to put your child (or children) in daycare can be frustrating—but many moms don’t want to quit their careers to stay home with their kids. I hear that!
But sometimes the numbers don’t add up, and many 9-5 working mothers are left feeling as if they are spinning their wheels. Starting a freelance career suddenly sounds like the best way to keep a healthy work-life balance. And sometimes having kids is just the thing a mom needs in order to make the leap.
There was a recent blog post on The New York Times that asked “Is There a ‘Right’ Time for a Mom to Start a Business?” The author interviewed a mother, Laura Kelly, in Pennsylvania who had opened a shop that offered sewing and knitting classes for children. Kelly always knew she wanted to run her own business, and wanting to provide crafts for her kids gave her the edge she needed to start her own company.
Here are a couple of questions from the blog that I particularly liked:
Q. Do you think that women business owners face different challenges than men?
A. I think women feel like they need to take care of everything in the family; the kids, husband, groceries, cooking, cleaning, birthday gifts, paying bills, etc. I’m not sure that men with families feel the same way.
Q. Does it bother you that women tend to get asked about work-life balance more than men do?
A. No, it doesn’t bother me, but I have a husband that does laundry and dishes — and so much more — so I have nothing to be bitter about. I just feel fortunate.
When asked if there was a “right” time for a mom to start a business, Kelly replied that what worked for her might not work for other moms. She started slowly, when the kids were small, and her business grew as they did.
This interview got me thinking about what sorts of things moms need to consider before starting their own freelancing business. Here’s what I came up with: Continue Reading
Online employment is skyrocketing across the globe, according to a recent study by Elance, an international platform for online employment. Even the most skeptical would be hard-pressed not to notice the change in the numbers from the first quarter of 2012 to the same time last year.
The Elance Global Online Employment Report for Q1 2012 shows lots of upward pointing graphs. From jobs posted to contractor earnings, the numbers go up and up and up. In fact, both earnings and jobs posted have more than doubled in the past two years.
Elance also tracked the top skills in demand for the following three categories: Creative, Marketing, and IT. Here are the changes from Q1 of 2011:
- Web Design +101%
- Photoshop +71%
- Graphic Design +70%
- Video Production +68%
- Content Writing +56%
- SEM +65%
- Internet Marketing +49%
- Social Media Marketing +41%
- Marketing Strategy +41%
- Lead Generation +39%
- Android +35%
- PHP +33%
- HTML +29%
- CSS +29%
Some of the trends they found include: Continue Reading
The fact that you can learn anything from John Mayer might surprise you, but I learned a lot about how you can ruin your reputation through social media and interviews in this NPR interview with the musician on All Things Considered this afternoon.
I have to admit, I am not a John Mayer fan. He bothers me. I can’t stand to watch him sing. And after a couple of nitty gritty interviews in 2010—one for Rolling Stone and one for Playboy—I didn’t like what I heard, either.
In Mayer’s interview with Playboy, he made racial comments, talked about his sex life with his famous exes, and made homosexual comments—all of which made the public scream Too Much Information! Continue Reading
There have been many blog posts here about how you, as a freelancer, can give your clients great customer service and why it’s important. Let’s turn the tables for a minute and focus on how you, as a freelancer, can get better customer service.
When you are a freelancer, you don’t have a boss you can go complain to when something has happened to you. Maybe you were double charged when ordering something online or you had a terrible experience flying business class. As a freelancer, you run your own business, which means dealing with your own vendors.
As someone who owns a company, I have a lot of people I have to pay and deal with on a regular basis, including: my internet service provider, phone company, the lenders who let me borrow money for my small business, my credit and debit card companies, the web design team, and the woman hired to manage the distribution of our magazine.
Other people I deal with on a less frequent basis include the tech dude who helps with computer problems and issues with our printer/copier/fax machine. I also have a bookkeeper who manages the books and helps with the taxes. There’s also a lawyer thrown in there for good measure.
When you think about it—that’s a lot of people! And I’m not even mentioning the car repair guy (I drive a lot), the United States Postal Service (I mail a lot of stuff), and the stores where I buy supplies.
A freelancer’s life is stressful (look at all these bills!) and we have to deal with lots and lots of people. So what can you do when you feel like you aren’t getting the customer service you deserve and expect? Below are some tips on how you, as a customer, can get better customer service to make running your business a little easier. Continue Reading
Networking events can be nerve-wracking.
You’re in a room with a bunch of people you don’t know and you have to make conversation or risk looking like a wallflower. But just because networking events can make you uncomfortable or nervous doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attend. On the contrary—it can be great practice!
Here are some tips on how to make your next networking event a success:
The worst networkers are those who attend events with their friends and then talk to only their friends all night. It’s one of my pet peeves—you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. So If I see a group of people off to the side of the room talking only to themselves for an hour, I get turned off. I want to talk to people who are open to making new connections, not people who are using the networking event as their own private social gathering.
Dress the Part
You want to look like you belong there, so leave the hoodie and sneakers at home.
You won’t make an impression (at least, not a good one) if you look dishevelled, disorganized, or overly casual. But also pick something that makes you feel good—a great dress or those new shoes you’ve been wanting to wear will help you exude confidence in what can be an uncomfortable setting.—TheDailyMuse
You don’t have to go out and buy a business suit, but be mindful of looking presentable. Dirty fingernails and smelly jeans are a turn off. You want to put your best foot forward, and the first thing people judge you on is your appearance. Continue Reading
In March, I wrote a blog post about the importance of making your social media persona as true to real life as possible—especially when looking for work.
These days, people are more likely to lie on their resumes than they are on their LinkedIn or Facebook page. A recent study by Cornell University found that 92% of college students lie at least once on their resume. Can it get them into trouble? YES! In fact, it can cost them their job.
That’s exactly what happened to Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson after it was found that he padded his resume with an embellished college degree. Thompson’s snafu was outed by an activist shareholder group called Third Point, which owns just under 6% of Yahoo.
False statements about Thompson’s degree stretch beyond his time at Yahoo, which began in January. References to a “computer science” degree also appeared in his online biographical information on PayPal’s website when Thompson was president of the eBay subsidiary. —CNNMoney
The discrepancy was flagged by Loeb, who discovered that Stonehill, a private Catholic school near Boston, didn’t begin offering computer science degrees until four years after Thompson had graduated. —LATimes
Thompson had been CEO of Yahoo for four months before this scandal broke and he stepped down.
Here’s the thing—Thompson probably had enough going for him that padding his resume with “additions” to his undergraduate degree probably didn’t even matter! I’m not sure how old Thompson is (judging by his photos I’d say he was in his 40s) and I’m almost positive his “computer science” college degree wasn’t the reason he was hired in the first place.
This scandal got me thinking—what are some safe (ie: truthful) ways to make your resume stand out from your competition? Here are some ideas that won’t get you fired: Continue Reading
Summer is knocking on your front door, begging you for attention. Living in New England, where summer never lasts long enough, it’s hard for me to say no. But with a full-time job and my freelancing work, saying no means procrastinating. It’s hard to enjoy yourself in the summer sun when you know there is a heap of work waiting for you.
I have recently told my boss that I will be going from full-time to part-time starting in October. It was a hard decision but one that, ultimately, I had to make if I wanted to stay sane.
It’s a risk—leaving your full-time job for freelancing. But this is a risk I was comfortable taking. I had two big reasons for deciding to make the leap: I am now the co-owner/publisher of a twice-annual publication and my husband and I are expecting our first child this summer. Cutting back my hours at my full-time job just made sense for us.
I started wondering how other people came to the conclusion that it was time to back out of their full-time jobs and focus on their freelance careers or small businesses. I found two women who have made the switch and thought I would share their stories. Perhaps they’ll inspire you to think about taking the leap. Continue Reading
As a journalist, I sometimes write columns and blogs that people don’t agree with. Sometimes I feel so lambasted when people leave comments about what I’ve written that I literally can’t read them. I have a pretty tough skin, and I am aware that I’m not always right—but still, sometimes I get angry and hurt.
My goal in writing something controversial is to never regret writing it. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, and I try to be as explicative as I can when I know I’m writing about a touchy topic. I don’t have all the answers to everything, but I know that posing the question to readers is usually the most important thing.
I feel really good when something I have written gets a ton of comments and shares—even if most of them are from people who completely disagree with what I have said. That’s what blogging is all about! Creating a dialogue with my ideas is the ultimate goal, whether I am praised or shunned. It’s good to have strong opinions, and having an outlet to share them is a wonderful thing.
I bring this up because of the recent TIME magazine cover with the young mother breastfeeding her 3-year-old son. You’ve probably heard about it as bloggers and columnists and mothers around the world are speaking out about it. And most of the stuff I have read is not praise.
This is most definitely a case where a photo is worth 1,000 words. And from now on, photographer Martin Schoeller is going to be known as the photographer who took the controversial cover photo for TIME magazine where Jamie Lynne Grumet, a gorgeous California mom, is breastfeeding her son who is standing on a chair.
“When you think of breast-feeding, you think of mothers holding their children, which was impossible with some of these older kids,” Schoeller said in an interview on TIME.com. “I liked the idea of having the kids standing up to underline the point that this was an uncommon situation.” —Time.com
Breastfeeding is a controversial topic in the United States. It’s much less so in other nations. Here’s the kicker—the article doesn’t even feature Jamie Lynne Grumet. It’s a piece written by Time staff writer Kate Pickert about Dr. William (Bill) Sears and his book about attachment parenting.
TIME knew exactly the effect this cover would have on the nation and it succeeded beautifully. News shows are all over it, Twitter is abuzz and it’s the top story in every paper. Mothers verses mothers, once again. Well played, TIME, this will surely be one of the best selling issues of the year. —TheHuffingtonPost.com
Here are some snippets from other news outlets about the cover photo:
I got a telephone call today at the office from the wife of a certified public accountant. She was pitching me on a story that her husband had just written about the benefits of creating an LLC versus an S-Corp. I listened politely, then told her why I couldn’t run her husband’s obviously wonderful story.
I can’t tell you the number of times I get pitches that we would never publish—not because it’s a bad idea but because it just doesn’t fit in the pattern we have already created.
The magazine I edit is a regional publication that has a pretty narrow focus. We only publish stories that fall within our already established sections. I can’t tell you the number of times I get pitches that we would never publish—not because it’s a bad idea but because it just doesn’t fit in the pattern we have already created.
I often get advance copies of novels and CDs from publishers, authors, and musicians, asking us to please consider reviewing them in our magazine. We have never, in the six years we have been in print, reviewed a book or CD. Never. Yet I keep getting these lovely gifts in the mail on a monthly basis. And I always feel badly—these publishers and public relations people are clearly wasting money on sending me stuff.
In the case of this lovely woman who called me on the phone, I explained to her that we currently don’t have a place in the magazine where such a feature would appear and that we decide upon our editorial calendar 8 months to a year in advance. She proceeded to tell me how it would be a benefit to our readers. I didn’t argue that point—it very well might—but I can’t reinvent the wheel. I suggested that she contact the local daily and weekly newspaper, as they have much more flexibility to publish articles than I do.
Our company also does not accept unsolicited manuscripts—but I didn’t feel like I needed to get into that with her. She was clearly not used to pitching story ideas to the media.
What I wanted to tell her was that if she was going to pitch people her husband’s already-written story, to take a look at some back issues of said publications to see if it’s a good fit or not. If she had looked at ours, she would have seen that we don’t publish stories of that nature. I also wanted to tell her to not introduce herself as the wife of the CPA who wrote this wonderful article that I should publish in our magazine. It’s unprofessional—and of COURSE she thinks it’s a great article…her husband wrote it! Continue Reading
School is coming to an end for another year, and many students will be participating in internships for the summer. An internship can be a real win-win situation—the hirer (you) gets low cost or even free help while the intern gains valuable work experience.
I did a number of internships in my college days. I’ve also managed interns in my professional days. When I worked for a small, post production company in Boston, we had an intern in our office every day of the week. They helped us with tasks such as blacking out tapes, burning DVDs and videotapes for our clients, assisted in shooting projects, and brought a great, young energy into the office.
What did they get out of it? They got to use state-of-the-art professional shooting and editing equipment for free. Many of these students couldn’t even get their hands on stuff this awesome at their colleges. Plus, they were encouraged to create their own projects when the equipment was free, which happened often since we were such a small shop.
In graduate school I was an intern at both PRWeek and Inc.com—two business publications where I learned a tremendous amount. The best part of going to grad school was that it allowed me to take advantage of some stellar internship opportunities.
I know I have been lucky, especially when I read about interns who are worked to the bone and aren’t learning much. This recent article in The New York Times shares some horror stories.
Many students who are graduating are having a tough time finding work, and thus are turning to unpaid internships in the hopes it will help their resumes. Many are finding that the internships aren’t all they’re cracked up to be—that they’re working 12 hour days doing menial tasks like grabbing lunch and cleaning, which, if the internship is unpaid, is actually against the law. Continue Reading