As technology and media continue to intersect, pure-play media companies are no longer the only places for journalists to use and hone their skills. Instead, top names are heading to companies like Tumblr, BuzzFeed, One Kings Lane and LinkedIn. What’s it like to make the jump, what do you need to know if you’re considering it yourself, and how do you position yourself to do it? This session will touch on everything from tech culture to salaries and equity options.
That concludes the session on “Making the Leap Out of Newsrooms.” Some closer thoughts from our audience members.
— Carol Fowler(@carolfowler) September 22, 2012
— Jodi Leese Glusco (@jmgl) September 22, 2012
— NABJDigital (@NABJDigital) September 22, 2012
— Kaitlin Flanigan (@KaitlinFlanigan) September 22, 2012
— Jorge Rivas (@thisisjorge) September 22, 2012
Luckie said he felt he had gone as high as he gone within his newsroom, and says going to Twitter allowed him to have possible growth in the future. He also says that he doesn’t think there’s a job out there in a newsroom, right now, that he wants to do.
Coatney says he’s open to going back to a newsroom if the right opportunity comes along. He notes Richard Stengel of TIME has gone back and forth from TIME a handful of times.
Lufkin says she sees people moving back and forth from start-ups to big companies and back all the time.
Question from someone who left journalism after she was laid off and now is social media manager for Airline Pilots Association. How do you deal with still thinking like a journalist?
Coatney says it’s good to see it from the other side — he says it doesn’t believe the line is as different as one might think it is.
We also have a resident sketch artist providing live pictures (who needs livestreams?)
— Dan Carino (@Dan_CARINO) September 22, 2012
Lufkin notes that just because a company isn’t within commuting distance does not mean you can’t work there. Lots of people work remotely.
Question about recent college graduates and getting jobs at these companies. Luckie said Twitter is looking for people and would consider young grads (they have 50 jobs posted). Lufkin says interning is a time-honored way to get a media job (and still is).
Luckie said he felt at WaPo that he could always be doing more. He wanted to look to challenge himself consistently (his resume shows this), and so applied for Twitter. He said he likes to go for it when applying, because he feels he’s worth the job.
All three talking about the importance of understanding, reading and consuming analytics and data. Luckie and Lufkin say you can find potential story ideas in this data.
Coatney says he needed to get over the fear of appearing stupid by asking questions (because you’re new). Luckie says if you can communicate well and synthesize information (which we all should be good at), you’ll be fine.
Luckie also says that, if you work at Twitter, you need to know bird lingo because projects and efforts are so named. And then there’s Tumblr:
— Anna Tauzin (@annatauzin) September 22, 2012
Lufkin says journalists and engineers are very similar people because they speak their minds.
Interesting point about crossing between a news organization and into a company that works across departments. Luckie kept a Google Doc to help understand the language barrier between business and media, like “iterate” and “RFP” and others.
Into the negotiating process: Luckie said having a lawyer was extremely helpful for moving from newsroom to tech company. Newsroom benefits are largely same from newsroom to newsroom.
One of the best things Luckie said he learned was what you’re worth. He said, when going from Los Angeles Times as an intern to Entertainment Weekly, he told the HR manager that he would do the work for free because he loved it so much. Then he realized later he was making less than others.
Coatney said be wary of going somewhere where people obsess over the stock price. Coatney says being an “at will” employee isn’t something to be afraid of, but to be aware of.
Lufkin: Expect a really rapid pace–major acceleration–going from a newsroom to a startup. Yup. #leapout
— Rob Pegoraro (@robpegoraro) September 22, 2012
Luckie gets to travel a lot and meet with people face-to-face. “To see all of your bright shiny faces, I really really appreciate that.” He says he makes sure to turn off his phone. “We’re all human beings and we all need time for ourselves, especially email and, you know, Twitter.”
That makes you more recharged when you get back after weekends, instead of just driving along.
Liz Lufkin says don’t worry if there aren’t jobs posted. She was offered a job after talking to Trapit just because she was interested in the company. By the end of the lunch, she was offered a job. Lufkin was at USA Today and San Francisco Chronicle previously.
Luckie encourages people to take a vacation between jobs.
Coatney came to Tumblr after years at TIME Magazine and Newsweek. He started the famed Newsweek Tumblr, then after Newsweek was put up for sale, he left to go to Tumblr and is now media outreach coordinator.
— Chris Boutet (@chrisboutet) September 22, 2012
Mark Luckie’s job is to get on the Twitter platform, and come up with the best ways to get journalists to use it. He national innovations editor at WaPo.
How different from WaPo? “It was like going to DisneyLand. It’s very different from a newsroom. We’ve got great perks — arcade, massage team. There’s a real air of collaboration. He’s talking with ad, product and business.” He says at the newsrooms he’s been in he’s been sequestered with no formal way to interact.
Our speakers: Mark Coatney used to be at Newsweek, now at Tumblr. Mark Luckie used to be at The Washington Post, now at Twitter. Liz Lufkin was at Yahoo News, now at Trapit.