Journalism · MoJo · Uncategorized

One of the perks of being on a ProfNet #ConnectChat

One of the perks of being on a ProfNet #ConnectChat

My name and face on a Times Square e-billboard! That’s not something I ever expected.

Click on the photo to see a transcript of the webchat.

In my webchat, “Intro to DIY Mobile Journalism,” I explain how to use a smartphone to collect soundbites, nat sound, video clips, B-Roll, and offer tips on which apps and tools work best for mobile storytelling.  Continue reading “One of the perks of being on a ProfNet #ConnectChat”

Cindy Rodriguez · Journalism · MoJo · Uncategorized

Tips on preparing for a foreign reporting assignment

The International Center For Journalism’s Claritza Jiménez interviewed me for a Q&A on how I prepared to report overseas for my ICFJ International Reporting Fellowship. It was published on, the International Journalists’ Network.

Here’s a screen grab of the first few grafs:


Continue reading “Tips on preparing for a foreign reporting assignment”

Journalism · Uncategorized

Blogging will never die

I’m so tired about bloggers blogging about the pending death of blogging.

There are so many bloggers now that bloggers can blog about the best blogs on the web, and there will be readers for THAT.

But, seriously, isn’t it ironic that bloggers are writing about this, considering that 26 million more blogs were created in the U.S. in 2010.

There are now a total of 152 MILLION blogs in a country of 308 million people.

The problem isn’t that blogging is dying, it’s that EVERYONE thinks they can write an interesting blog. They’re cluttering the blogosphere with really lame or stolen copy they regurgitate.

Those blogs will die.

The New York Times reported earlier this year that fewer teens are blogging, precisely because few people were reading their posts. Just because you create a blog, doesn’t mean people are going to read it.

The blogs that will have a thriving audience are the ones that are:

1. well written,

2. have original content,

3. serve a need,

4. allows readers to engage and interact* (this is vital!)

Through word-of-mouth and OUR social networks, we are learning about the better blogs. We might hear about them through Twitter or Facebook and then we’ll read. If it has a VALUE to the reader, they WILL read your WHOLE BLOG POST. And if you have a book on the topic and they are interested they will buy your book.

Blogging is here to stay. It will not be replaced by a Tweet or a FourSquare check-in. It won’t be replaced by Facebook, either. For journalists and writers, these are social networking tools that can be used to establish your brand and draw readers to your blogs.

We don’t know which direction journalism is going, but it’s clear that we are becoming more socially connected through the internet. Facebook is the most visited website in America. People want to connect and interact with information they get.

This precisely what the Web 3.0 is supposed to be about. It’s just that, in some ways, Mark Zuckerberg beat them to it. (I’m often surprised at how many journalists know zip about the semantic web, aka, Web 3.0 being built.)

People on Facebook do not have to be talking about trivial dribble. They can be engaging people in a manner that educates people. But let’s leave that discussion for another time.

The point I want to leave people with is that a microblog is a starting point. It’s an appetizer. The blog is the enchilada, and if it’s a good one, people will savor it and want more. Just make sure that you create a blog that allows people to comment, interact, and respond.

I look forward to meeting all the wonderful budding journalists who will be at the Spring College Media Convention in New York City. My session on how to create a blog will be Monday at 2 p.m. Be there or be FourSquare.

Use the hashtag #cmanyc11

Cindy Rodriguez · Journalism · Uncategorized

Where have all the issue stories gone?

In prepping for a class in which I will discussing the art of the issue story, I searched local New York City news media looking for good local issue stories. I found several, but in years passed I would’ve found so much more.

I understand why it’s happening, why the news media is more concerned with breaking news stories (more page views, even though they don’t know how to monetize those page views). I understand about getting caught up in the story of the day. I know some newsrooms have lost a quarter or half of the staff they had a decade ago, but that doesn’t mean we should abandon covering real people.

It irks me that a city as populous and powerful as New York City doesn’t have more reporters covering the issues of its people. I’m not talking about top-down stories that spring out of battles in the courts or City Hall. I’m talking about bottom-up stories that reporters cull from interviewing everyday New Yorkers about the issues affecting their lives.

Local news is key to creating an informed citizenry. You may not be able to get your average reader to sit down and read a 7,000-word New Yorker piece on the insurgency movement in Iran, but you can get them interested in a 700-word story on the elderly women in their neighborhood being harassed by their landlords.

There’s great reporting from a handful of reporters at the Daily News, the New York Times, WNYC, and several other city newsrooms, but it’s not enough. It’ll be enough when they have dedicated reporters covering the issues in all communities — not just those who are preppy or well-heeled.

Even newly sprung websites (I won’t name names) that are supposed to focus on New York City neighborhoods, are falling down on the job. They sticking to police blotter items and press release-driven stories that ignore real issues affecting real people. I can only hope that because they are fledgling news organizations this is temporary; as they grow, they’ll add seasoned reporters to their staffs, pay them a decent salary, and allow them to shine a light on the city’s issues.

That would be grand.