Friday grab bag of ideas, leads

October 9, 2009 at 12:58 pm Leave a comment

Today is a grab bag of networking tips,  a few events and some job leads.  I hope it brings a soft landing to what I know has been a stressful week for many!

Recruiting and hiring experts remind us that the vast majority of jobs are filled not through ads, job fairs or listings on job boards, but by hearing about qualified candidates from people  that hiring managers know and trust. And though networking sounds easy — it’s just talking to people you know and telling them you’re looking, right? — it takes real, targeted work to build up and maintain a strong network. In coming blog posts I’d like to explore some good ways to do that over time. Here are a few immediate tips gleaned from experts and my own recruiting experience:

*Think broadly about your network. As journalists, too often we rely on a network composed of other journalists w/whom we have worked at news organizations and those w/whom we drink and socialize. They’re great. But while they can be helpful — and are proving that through this blog! — they are a somewhat limited source of  leads and ideas. Think about former colleagues who have moved on into other spheres — in D.C. to Hill jobs, political jobs, government, association and NGO jobs, for instance — and contact them.  Invite them for coffee and very directly interview non-journalist friends, your spouse or partner if they’re not a journalist (okay, you may not have to buy them the coffee)  neighbors, and people you know through your kids’ or your own non-work activities. Tell them you’re job-hunting and be specific about what you’re looking for, and ask them about people they know who you could also meet with to discuss opportunities. Remember, most people love to talk about what they do, and most of those who like you will be glad to help you make connections. Think broadly.

*Keep detailed records of your network. Facebook and LinkedIn are great for this as there is a digital “paper trail” with information. But maintain your own network database and update it regularly. Make sure to have personal email and mobile phone information, whenever possible. Make it a point to be in touch with members of your network who you don’t see regularly so you’re not getting in touch just when you need them.

*Do favors regularly for others. We should all do this anyway. But it’s a cardinal rule of maintaining a good network. People are much more willing to help out those who have helped them out in the past. Give access to your network to those members who need it. For those just getting started, offer to look over and help them with their resume. For those transitioning, offer to help them make connections in new fields and package their skill set in a new way. Make introductions via email whenever possible. And follow up to see how it worked out!

*Attend events. Especially for laid-off journalists who may be feeling a bit bruised and battered, it’s important to be out and about to show the world that you’re fine and ready for the next challenge. Washington is a great town for that with plenty of panels and events (often at low cost) at places such as the National Press Club. Get on list serves that offer such opportunities.

Along those lines, I have a coupla upcoming networking opportunities to pass along, both at the National Press Club, 529 14 St. N.W. in D.C.

Political Reporting Workshop
Saturday, October 17th, 8:30 a.m. at National Press Club — Day-long Political Reporting Workshop; $35 for Members, $75 for Non-members. Ends 4 p.m. Please contact one of the organizers, Kate Hunter at CQ ( for more information.

Also at the National Press Club on Tuesday, Nov. 3, as part of a special year-long series, the Northwestern (Univ.) Alumni Association will present: Northwestern Explores Work Well, Live Smart! A session titled “The Economy: What Happened and What’s Next?” Check-in and a reception will be from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and the panel discussion with Q&A will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Registration is $15 for club members, current students and young alumni; $20 for non-members or guests. To register, go to the following link (or call 847-491-7975). You may recognize one of the panelists in the following link!

And as always, I have some good job leads to post — thanks to all those who contributed! (and remember, if you get a job or hire someone as a result of a lead from this blog…please let me know — as I want to pass along the good news.)

*For someone who has the flexibility and interest in moving to New York (and visiting gorgeous Portland, Oregon, quarterly!) this sounds like a good communications opportunity with Mercy Corps. Details follow:

Mercy Corps
United States
Contract Length:
Full-time staff position
Apply by:
29 October 2009
Reference No:


The Communications team is a small but dynamic group of professionals dedicated to getting the word out about Mercy Corps’ outstanding work to help people around the world overcome poverty and oppression. The team strives to raise Mercy Corps’ public profile and support the agency’s fundraising and advocacy efforts. The team primarily engages with US and UK national and regional media, but also works with community groups and influentials in key markets where our donors are concentrated. The Communications team is led by a Director of Communications based in Seattle, WA.
As an integral member of the Mercy Corps Communications team, the Senior Communications Officer (CO) will focus on relations with U.S. national media based on the East Coast and New York City-area media outlets, and provide support and insight for colleagues throughout the US and UK. S/he will conceptualize and implement media strategies, reaching out to the press around newsworthy Mercy Corps initiatives and managing inbound media inquiries. S/he will also work closely with the Global Engagement team and the Action Center to End World Hunger to raise the profile of those initiatives, as well as with New York City-based fundraisers to help market community and donor events. The Action Center is the senior communications officer’s principal internal client, and will account for 25 percent of this person’s time.
Work closely with the Director of Communications to develop a national media strategy and reach out to national media based on the East Coast.
Design, manage and implement media relations strategy for New York-area media, focusing on efforts to raise the profile of Global Engagement initiatives including the Action Center to End World Hunger and the Global Citizens Corps
Seek and build relationships with journalists who could tell Mercy Corps’ stories.
Research and generate story ideas and troubleshoot potentially difficult topics.
Write and edit press releases, fact sheets and other media relations materials.
Serve as on-the-record spokesperson for Mercy Corps programs.
Organize press briefings for Mercy Corps staff and other high-profile spokespeople.
Travel to Mercy Corps’ programs in developing countries to work with media, includes identifying story ideas and working with journalists to facilitate press coverage. Note that locations are sometimes insecure and amenities are basic.
Work with New York-area fundraisers and Global Engagement team to market and raise the profile of events at the Action Center to End World Hunger.
Other duties as assigned.
Organizational Learning
As part of Mercy Corps’ agency-wide Organizational Learning Initiative, all team members are responsible for spending 5% of their work time in formal and/or non-formal professional learning activities.
Accountability to Beneficiaries
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
REPORTS DIRECTLY TO: Communications Director
WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: Communications Team; Managing Director, Marketing and Communications; Vice President of Global Engagement; Executive Director of the Action Center to End World Hunger; NYC-based fundraising team; other departments including Program Operations, Technical Support Unit, etc.
Note that the Action Center is the senior communications officer’s principal internal client and will account for 25 percent of this person’s time.
BA/S or equivalent in journalism, marketing or public relations required; MA/S in related field preferred.
8-10 years’ professional experience in media relations, marketing or journalism required.
Established track record of generating positive media coverage in New York and U.S. national outlets; relationships with media in NYC and national media.
Superior written and verbal communications skills a must; ability to “translate” technical language into compelling stories needed.
Experience in international development or knowledge of development issues preferred.
Experience marketing events and/or a new institution in NYC a big plus.
The successful Senior Communications Officer will be a proactive PR professional with a rolodex of established media contacts in New York City and beyond. S/he will be an excellent storyteller and writer with a nose for news, as well as a self-starter who can work independently or in a team setting. S/he must be willing and able to travel to developing countries places – sometimes with little notice – to identify and tell Mercy Corps’ stories. S/he must have a deep interest in Mercy Corps programs and a commitment to the goals of the organization. She/he must be willing an able to operate in the small, dynamic start-up environment of our NYC office. S/he needs to be able to prioritize, multi-task and organize many urgent tasks. This person will demonstrate creativity and flexibility, as well as a proven ability to learn quickly and be accountable for results. Even temperament and a good sense of humor appreciated.
This position is based in New York City and requires quarterly travel to Portland, OR, as well as occasional travel to Mercy Corps’ programs around the world. Locations are sometimes insecure and amenities are often basic.

Mercy Corps is an AA/EOE.

*The good folks at the POLITICO have let me know that they have current openings for a copy editor and a designer. Go to the Web site for more information or send along your resume to

*FierceMarkets is a fast-growing online B2B media company based in downtown DC  looking for a writer/copyeditor for a news Web site about the biotech and pharmaceuticals industry. You don’t have to know biotech, but you do have to know at least some HTML. New media journalism experience would be a big plus.  Salary $35-40k, plus comprehensive benefits. Send resumes to Arsalan Arif

*Also, I’ve been getting requests from those looking for free-lancers to cover various hearings or events in D.C., especially on the Hill. Please let me know if you’re interested and I’ll connect you with those seeking help.

Until Monday, happy hunting!


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

List serves: Are they worth the time and effort? A journalist’s transition….

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