Snark Is So 2004 and Other Blog-Panel Takeaways

July 19, 2010

“Snarky is the most tired approach to any story.”

At the blogging & journalism panel

That was one of the standout lines from the Newswomen’s Club of New York’s recent panel on blogging and journalism. It came from Jessica Coen, managing editor, Jezebel, and a former Gawker blogger.

Coen was joined by fellow panelists Louise Crawford, founder, Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn; Gracey Newman, social media expert, Personal Branding, Shaken Not Stirred; and moderator Latrice Davis.

About 50 members and nonmembers turned out for what was a lively and informative discussion at New York City Seminar and Conference Center July 20.

If you couldn’t make the session, here are some excerpts of what you missed.

Coen —
On traffic: “I’m looking at analytics all day to make sure the day is going well. They’re kind of obsessed about it at Gawker.”
On abusive commenters: “They got invited to our party, they’re going to play by our rules.”
On writing/style: “You have to be conversational, succinct. You have to have a voice. You have to write bigger. You have to take it up a notch. Most people aren’t going to read more than 200 to 300 words per post.”

On snark: “You can get enough snark coming from the comments.”
On feeding the beast: “You have to be really passionate about it. [Otherwise], you can’t sustain it.”
More on feeding the beast: “While I can’t be ace-girl reporter, I can bring in a leader…A lot of times, I am very fyi…”
On transitioning from blogger to journalist: “My blog has been a journalism 101 course for me.”
On liability: “We’re not worth suing is a big part of our defense.”

Newman —
On keywords: Before writing anything for the Web, think about the main keyword(s) for your post or article.
More on keywords: Use GoogleAdwords Keyword Tool to help you decide on the best keyword(s). Make sure your keyword is in your headline.
On SEO boosters: When linking, link on keywords, not on such phrases as “click here.” You’ll get more credit from search engines for linking relevant content, which will help your ranking for those keywords.
On tracking site usage: Use Google Analytics, Google’s free traffic analysis tool. It requires registering your site and inserting a small line of code on your blog or, for a Web site, on every page that needs tracking.
More on SEO: Find great SEO tips for writers on her blog and you can sign up for her newsletter.

How do you feel about snark? What ideas from the panel resound most with you? Please share your thoughts with other members and comment. Let’s continue the discussion here.

— Laura Lorber


McCormick Scholarship Winners — 2010

July 17, 2010


Zohreen Adamjee

Zohreen Adamjee and Cambrey Thomas have won McCormick Scholarships for the 2010-2011 school year at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, according to Lenore Skenazy, president of the Anne O’Hare McCormick Memorial Fund, Inc., a charity affiliated with the Newswomen’s Club of New York. The scholarships total $12,000.

“We look for exceptional writing talent, of course, but we also prize the desire to dig for the truth and tell stories that could change the world,” Skenazy said.

Zohreen Adamjee was awarded a $6,000 McCormick Scholarship honoring Lauren Terrazzano, the late Newsday reporter and columnist. Terrazzano died in May 2007 at age 39 of lung cancer. She won a posthumous Front Page Award in 2007 for her Newsday column, “Life with Cancer.”


Cambrey Thomas

Cambrey Noelle Thomas was awarded a $6,000 McCormick Scholarship known as the Joan O’Sullivan Scholarship Award. This is the second O’Sullivan Award given since the scholarship was created to honor the McCormick Fund’s long-time president, Joan O’Sullivan, who died in September 2008. O’Sullivan, who was an award-winning columnist for King Features Syndicate before she retired, was a past president and board member of the Newswomen’s Club of New York.

This year’s winners were selected from among 48 applicants, the most in a McCormick Scholarship competition in recent memory.

A News Addict

In her winning McCormick entry, Adamjee wrote about growing up in Los Angeles “with newly immigrated Pakistani parents” and pursuing the L.A. dream of working in the entertainment industry. Then her cousin was kidnapped by the Taliban — and suddenly she became addicted to the news. From that grew her desire to “cover the news,” she wrote.

Fluent in Urdu and Gujarati, Adamjee  also is studying Arabic again. She hopes to someday cover the Middle East.

Known as “Zo,” Adamjee blogs about technology for The Los Angeles Times. She created an audio series of “Behind the Scenes” interviews with LA Times reporters on how they landed a specific story. In 2006, she earned a B.A. degree in mass communications from UCLA. Adamjee plans to graduate from Columbia J-School in May 2011 with an M.S. degree in journalism, with a newspaper concentration.

A Survivor’s Story

Thomas, a former Detroit Free Press blogger, wrote her winning McCormick essay about surviving childhood cancer at ages 9 and 10 — only to struggle with learning and memory problems — as a seventh grader. Her brain was suffering the side effects of aggressive chemotherapy, which weren’t that well known in 1998. In danger of being forced to repeat seventh grade, she got some tutoring in math and went on to the eighth grade.

In high school, Thomas refused to accept an ACT score of 17 as the best she could do. Her research showed that “statistically, low-income female students of color scored the lowest,” she wrote, adding: “I was furious and decided my friends and I would not become statistics,” She found a free prep program and organized a study group with her friends, writing: “We took the test again and I scored a 25.”

Thomas spent almost three months in New York in early 2009 while working as a web intern for Self magazine. She did another internship with Detroit Public Radio. Thomas earned a B.S. degree in journalism and animate arts at Northwestern University’s Medill School in May 2009. The summer after graduation, she taught journalism to teens on the South Side of Chicago. Ultimately, she wants to be a “story teller” with an eye toward becoming an editor later in her career. At Columbia J-School, Thomas will focus on digital media. She aims to graduate in May 2011 with an M.S. degree.

— Jan Paschal

Hello, Newswomen of New York!

July 17, 2010

Welcome to the Newswomen’s Club of New York’s new blog. Here we’ll keep members posted and generate discussion on a variety of club happenings and information including:

  • job postings (most otherwise unadvertised)
  • event notices/previews/coverage
  • committee updates
  • Member news and celebrations
  • guest posts from panelists, hiring managers
  • musings/opinions
  • tips/advice/how-to’s/online tools

Join us in extending the Newswomen’s Club community online and building a stronger network while engaging and informing our membership.

Let’s hear your suggestions about what you want to read about in this blog in the comments section. If you’re interested in contributing to this blog or to other club initiatives, email:

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