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Anyone know anything about Journalism Portfolios...?

Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by 134282, Feb 9, 2004.

  1. 134282

    134282 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Carbon McCoy
    Ok, no more silly business schemes; no more ideas of incorporating myself or becoming an LLC or starting a "failing" business or any of that nonsense...

    i might as well put together a portfolio of something i already know i like to do and WOULD like to do...

    Does anyone know about putting together a portfolio to approach a publication with...? What do i include...? What do i exclude...? i've not yet been published, so including a published piece is out... Anyone...? Any ideas/advice would be greatly appreciated... Thank you...
     
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  3. sherpa23

    sherpa23 F1 Veteran
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    May 28, 2003
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    DES,

    I have done this before but it is too long to put in a post. PM me and I will then email you my phone number. We'll go over it on the phone. I don't have time to type out all the details.
     
  4. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Five Time F1 World Champ
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    Carbon, glad to hear this. My only paid writing has been in the technical area (anybody want to publish a thriller involving a tax accountant?) so I don't have much experience with "real" print journalism.

    But here's one thing that I did many years ago. I'm sure that there are a number of small daily or even weekly papers in your area. Read a few and study their content. Then type up a few sample columns on a subject that you think they will be interested in and wing your into a 500 word weekly column. You should note that these papers exist to sell ads, and they have very limited space for content. However, they don't pay squat so they are always on the lookout for a new sucker, uh, I mean talent.

    You will not make any significant money, but it will give you some experience with meeting deadlines and whatnot. (You may think that writing 500 words is easy, but try it...) From there, the WORLD!

    Actually, if you want to write for a car mag, you might need to move to LA. I think just about all of them keep their editiorial offices there, in Irving if memory serves me well.

    Good Luck and Go an Git Her!

    Dale
     
  5. RacerNika

    RacerNika Karting

    Dec 2, 2003
    52
    oh gawd yes - no one writes about cars for the money.......[Nika gazes at tiny paycheck]

    I was lucky enough that the newspaper approached me - but the advice I've heard is to just write ....write well and submit!

    The worse thing they can say is ...no! So you try again! But no matter what never stop writing - post it on your own Blog/webpage etc. It took me 2 years of writing as a hobby before I published my first piece...

    and by the way, I know of a great website that would love to post your work Des

    xo Nika
     
  6. GrigioGuy

    GrigioGuy Splenda Daddy
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    Nov 26, 2001
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    Yes, write, write, write and submit pieces to every weekly rag in the area. Write something of your trip to New Orleans and send it to Forza, or Prancing Horse, or one of the UK mags. The only way to be a writer is to write.

    Make sure you keep electronic and paper copies of everything that gets published, and be prepared to present them -- they become a portfolio for you. Once you sell something, you're officially a free-lance writer. Welcome to the fold, there's about a billion of us.

    However, do not expect to make a great deal of money writing. I have three technical books to my credit (co-authored), and I basically made well under a buck/hour on those. Not a sustainable income level :) Some do better, and some become true professional writers. I admire those people.
     
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  8. redhead

    redhead F1 Rookie
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    Dec 26, 2001
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    Great ADVICE!!!


    Good Luck with any venture you assume.
     
  9. Slim

    Slim Formula 3

    Oct 11, 2001
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    richard
    If you send the same piece to more than one publication, and one of them agrees to run it, immediately call all the others and tell them (in a way that doesn't make them think you shopped it all over the place: say something like, "you know it turns out that a friend who is a familiar with my work called me up to say 'weren't you writing something about X? well we need a story like that,' so I sent it over and they are going to run it - but thanks so much for taking a look at it." Or some bs like that. They'll know it's probably bs, but will appreciate the effort. at least i think so, ha!). The point is, do not allow another publication to run the same story. No one is going to like you very much if that happens.

    Once you get a few things published (so you can say "my work has been published in x, y, and z and a sample is enclosed), you can start submitting story proposals to publications before you've written the piece and if you're lucky, get them to pick up your expenses to do the story. I never had much luck at that and most of my work came the other way around, i.e. editors approaching me to write a story they wanted, but I always tried it anyway.

    Have fun with it!
     
  10. f355spider

    f355spider F1 World Champ
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    I used to be a sports photographer with United Press International. Absolutely get some stuff published locally. Being published (even in a local weekly) shows some experience, and definitely some credibility. Provide the "tear sheets" with your resume. There are literally tons of local community papers catering to many different markets. Go to all of them.

    Hard work and "pounding the pavement" is the best way to get to it.

    Dave
     
  11. TestShoot

    TestShoot F1 World Champ
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    Tim
    take a look at one of my publicist's sites.

    www.craig-stephens.com he is all over the place writing for loads of people, see if that format helps you out
     
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  13. 134282

    134282 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Carbon McCoy
    Wow... Thanks for the replies, everyone, i appreciate it...

    Sherpa, you've got a PM, thank you.


    Hey, Dale, i'm gonna go out tonight and fetch some local papers; i'll try anything and everything; i'll keep you posted on how that goes... Also, California is my ultimate goal, anyway, so that advice is definitely soothing to the ears... :)


    Nika, i had an online journal but it got too... diary-like... i guess i could just make another one and filter what i post on there... i'll do that... Hmmm... What website do you know of that would actually host my work...? :D
    Thank you, Nika...


    Tillman & Slim: Would i be better off submitting pieces to different publications, one publication at a time to avoid confusion or trouble...? i'd hate to submit something to two or more Ferrari-related publications and have them all publish me without letting me know... What happens when people send in letters to the editor...? Do they get notified that their letter is being published before it happens...? What happens if i submit something to a publication and they mistake my story/article/"piece" for a letter to the editor...? Then what...?


    Dave, when you say pounding the pavement (a sales term used often here in the office), do you mean getting in front of the publications or going all over the place to find stories/people to write about or...(?)


    Test Shoot, Craig looks like he's doing really well for himself... Cool stuff... What format are you referring to...? His resume...?


    Thanks everyone, please keep it coming...
     
  14. Stickanddice

    Stickanddice Formula 3

    Nov 2, 2002
    2,473
    One of my companies does work for Maxim, Stuff, etc so I can make an inroad. Get in touch with me. I've been out of the loop for a while so I don't know what your aspirations are.

    Cheers
     
  15. TSMIV

    TSMIV Formula Junior

    Jan 27, 2004
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    Robert Goodman
    Here is a nickel's worth of free advice.

    Keep in mind that all the car magazines are bombarded with people wanting to write for them, but do not give up.

    Subscribe to all the publications that you wish to write for. Read every ounce of it. Then find something that you remotely know something about and research it at the library. Using your research, craft a well written response. Only send it to them if you feel that it will contribute to their publication and it reflects well on your writing.

    Find a small publication like a local newspaper, and tell them that you are interesting in journalism. Offer to write anything. You have to be willing to write anything.

    You may have to volunteer your services at first, but money will follow if you persist and are talented.

    Get a weblog. Any creative writing, writing about experiences, etc. place there. You would be surprised who would read it.

    Talk to people promoting events that you like. Volunteer to work them. You will not believe the contacts you would make.

    Attend events. Not just car or Ferrari events, but local events. It will help a lot if the people you want to impress see you at events.

    I hope this helps. I have done all these things and they have worked.
     
  16. writerguy

    writerguy F1 Veteran

    Sep 30, 2003
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    Otto
    Carbon....
    Sorry I have not gotten back to you about this stuff earlier but my days have been getting a little nutz. With this and trying to keep Nibblesworth from declaring a republican dictatorship.....

    Ok the thing you sent me was good but loose, that being said I will Email with more.

    Don't expect to get any kind of income off this for a bit but start with local weekly or small pubs that do anything from Girl Guide's to local magazines till you hone your craft (and remember it is a craft) If you can find a local ol fart who is willing to give you a shot LISTEN.

    Before starting Texas Driver Magazine 80-90% of my time was looking for more work. You have to HUMP your way through everything.

    Even now more time is on Advertising and marketing than writing and doing photography.

    The first couple of things you get in print you have to do your best stuff and expect nothing other than a Bi Line....

    Don't give up. but be realistic on what you can do. The best advice is to READ EVERYTHING not just about cars and don't just read but disect the articles and books to see what works. Back in Highschool I am sure they did the Introduction - body - conclusion but as you read look at how the Paragraph is structured and how a properly written article is MINIMAL but covers the topic.

    Location is not really all that relevant. New York area is CRAWLING with magazines but also with writers so it is not an easy task....
     
  17. 134282

    134282 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Carbon McCoy
    Taek, welcome back... Nice to see you around... Today was a HORRIBLE day, so i think i'll email you tomorrow when i'm more level-headed... Thanks for chiming in, though...


    TSMIV, subscribing to all the publications i'd like to write for is so far beyond my budget, it's not even funny... When i wanna check out the latest issue of Forza or The duPont Registry, i hang out at the book store... Finding a small publication and offering to write anything for them sounds better, though...

    As for a web log, i went and made an online journal at livejournal.com; it's called Carbon's Dioxide... Not sure if there would be a better place to have a web log, but i'm certainly open to suggestions...

    Aside from car events, what type of events do you suggest i attent...? Just anything...? Local town events, senior citizen's bingo yearly trophy awards, anything...?


    Jim, thanks for the pointers... i know you're busy, so no sweat about that... NY isn't where i want to stay, but location is another thread, entirely...

    As far as disecting an article, i did that the other night... i wrote a mock article on something someone else had already written about and found the other writer covered more, with less words... i was astounded, but realized that it's more than just writing a timeline of events; it's a technique in itself... i'm always open to learn; i need to contact some local publications... i'll do that while i await your email... Thanks again...
     
  18. dm_n_stuff

    dm_n_stuff Global Moderator
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    Dec 10, 2003
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    Dave
    NNO.

    PM me with your address and I'll shoot you a couple copies of the 3,000,000 different car mag's I have. PCA, Forza, Cavellino (well... maybe that one) Bimmer, BMWCCA, and a host of brit classic car mags, etc. I saved all that crap for years, here's a good place for a couple of copies to find a home.

    Lemme know if you are interested, you're only a (UPS) day away.

    Dave M.
     
  19. Teenferrarifan

    Teenferrarifan F1 Rookie

    Feb 21, 2003
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    Erik
    Carbon I thought Road and Track was in New Jersey all their cars normally have NJ tags on them if I can remember correct I don't have one infront of me.

    Oh, Dave I see you are trying to get rid of those 3,000,000 car mags so you can make space for the Dino when it returns :) Good work and smart choice!
    Erik
     
  20. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Five Time F1 World Champ
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    Okay, gather around boys and girls cause DrTax is gonna tell the story about how he became a writer (clue up background groans).

    Up till I was 30, I was a horrible writer. No, really. I mean it. I was awful.

    I blame it all on my parents, of course. Turns out that I suffered a significant hearing loss as a kid. Nobody knows how it happened. I’m sure that it had nuthin to do with that time my daddy whupped me upside the head. (Just kidding.) Long story short, I became a voracious speed reader. I gobbled up books like my black lab swallows doggie biscuits, straight - no chaser.

    But when it came time to write, I was clueless. As a natural speed reader, I never paid any attention to what I was reading, I just blew right through it to the end.

    I also couldn’t stand poetry. (Still can’t.) Not only could I not understand the words, poetry was too damn slow. I’d end up staring out the window at a car or something.

    Fast forward to 1983 or so. For reasons that are not worth going into (which means that I still can’t explain it), I quit working for a big mucky muck CPA firm and started working on a Ph.D. in tax. It didn’t take long before I was waist deep in the big muddy. At one point, I was having to churn out a 30-page paper a week on material about which I was totally clueless. The clueless part didn’t brother me, but the writing sure did. I was sinking fast.

    My first step to salvation was buying a Trash-Dos 80 from Radio Shack that had word processing and, even better, a spell checker! I learned that good writing comes from good editing.

    Then I hit the ball out of the park. My next door neighbor was a reporter for the Houston Chronicle. Cutting to the chase, I cut a deal. I would do her taxes if she would edit my inane papers. (I do this all the time.)

    Let me tell you friends and neighbors, I got the better end of that stick. Man oh man, my papers would come back bleeding red ink all over the place. I’d make my corrections, give it back to her, she’d return it with even more red ink, I’d make corrections, and so forth and so on.

    After a while, some of this stuff started to stick. I also realized the beauty of newspaper reporting. Wham Bam, get the guts in the first two or three paragraphs and then move on with life. None of this little-pinky-finger-lifting, latte-coffee-drinking, deconstruction stuff here baby. Those presses wait for no one. If you ever want to see your name in print, you gotta rock.

    Even to this day, some of the best writers in America work for the Wall Street Journal. Pick it up. Read it. These people can write! Even better, they can write on a deadline.

    Then while practicing my chops as a professor, I landed a gig writing a JUCO college textbook on tax. This job introduced me to the Department of Defense guidelines for training manuals. A sentence cannot have more than 18 to 20 words. A paragraph cannot have more than three sentences. First person singular. Never use passive voice, ever.

    The biggest lesson I learned was to always understand your customer. Leave the arty farty stuff to beatniks wearing beanie caps.

    The next biggest lesson is that more people watch Bevis and Butthead than Masterpiece Theater. Refer back to the first lesson if you find this confusing.

    And so I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote, and then, guess what? I wrote some more.

    No that’s not true. I wrote, then I edited. I rewrote, and then I re-edited and, like the song says, the road goes on forever. It has gotten so bad that I have a rep for over editing and thus missing deadlines, which is not good.

    I never did learn no rules of grammar. That’s the beauty of newspaper writing (at least now that all those retired 8th grade English teachers who used to write letters to the editors about typos have finally died), elegance doesn’t count. Just win, baby. That’s all you gotta do, is just write it.

    Because I do get paid, occasionally, to do this. I say that I’m a professional writer. I don’t get paid a lot, but it does get my name out there, which sooner or later brings in some “real” work.

    But the main benefit is that writing is a great way of thinking. It forces you to define your thoughts in a coherent manner. Or it forces you to realize that you don’t have a coherent thought.

    So Carbon, like the man sang in Hey Jude, “Go out there and get her.” At this stage, quantity counts for more than quality. You need to get your stuff in front of editors who chew you up and spit you out. Then you need to do it again and again.

    If you like, I’ll be happy to edit your stuff provided that (1) you don’t get pissed when I hack it to death, (2) understand that this ain’t gonna happen overnight (despite rumors to the contrary, I do work for a living), and (3) you send it in a word processing file that I can convert to Word Perfect. (Some of us keep raging against the machine known as Word.)

    Good luck, and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Dr “I got murder in my heart for the editor” Tax
     
  21. dwhite

    dwhite F1 Rookie

    Carbon - A quick suggestion, start to frequent mediabistro.com - a place for editors & writers. They have a chat environment where you could post your questions.

    You may want to take some courses, maybe at Farmingdale or Nassau CC. Check out "The New School" in Manhattan (I believe they offer free courses).
     
  22. writerguy

    writerguy F1 Veteran

    Sep 30, 2003
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    The next biggest lesson is that more people watch Bevis and Butthead than Masterpiece Theater. Refer back to the first lesson if you find this confusing.


    You said a mouthfull there.... huhha hhhhhyyuua shuuut up beevis
     
  23. 134282

    134282 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Carbon McCoy
    Wow... Lots of help here, thanks everyone...


    Dave M. i'll be PMing you momentarily... Thank you very much... :)


    Erik, i'm not sure; i think their publishing offices are on the west side...


    Hey, Doc... i'll email you some stuff for editing; as long as you have an open mind for content... :)


    Dave, i registered for mediabistro.com, thanks... i was surfing it earlier, i'll have to check it out some more when i get the chance...


    Thanks, everyone...!
     
  24. TSMIV

    TSMIV Formula Junior

    Jan 27, 2004
    373
    Columbus, MS
    Full Name:
    Robert Goodman
    As far as events to attend go, anything news worthy. Mainly what I had in mind was local town events: Parades, Festivals, etc.

    Bingo trophy ceremonies are wild; I understand that pictures of the winners make the front page of The Times. And Bingo Grandmaster Erma is a worldwide celebrity. I think that is a little much for you to start out with. Dude, you are not ready for that type of action; you can’t handle it.

    Writing courses are good.

    When I said subscribe to every magazine you want to write for I was thinking maybe the top 12.

    I do not know if this is so in your part of the world, but here the media cannot handle covering all the high school sporting events. They have people call in the scores and such. They pay like $5 a game just to call in the score.

    Here is how it fits you. You get assigned to cover the team no one wants. When you go to pick up your check and turn in the final official scores, you leave a copy of your write up on the game. They do not ask for it and most likely do not want it, but it gets you in the game.

    Also, if by some miracle your team happens to do something noteworthy you become “the man” because the Long Island Beacon beat the Larchmont Gazette to the presses with the story about this kid who pitched a no hitter or ran for 80 yards to score the winning touchdown, or sank the game winning shot at the buzzer from half court.

    On your web log, Live Journal is good it is what John Kovalic, see my avatar and homepage, uses. I am thinking about using it, too. I currently use Blogger. Oh, yeah, it helps if you post something to it.

    More to come, I got to actually write something that I am getting paid for.
     

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